Social Networking and Digital Citizenship

    Social networks are an important part of education, and life, in today’s world.  Everyone has heard of Facebook and Twitter, but many people are not aware of the thousands of other networks out there.  Through this weeks assignments on social networks, I have discovered a number of useful resources for myself and my students.  
    I have furthered my interest in having students create blogs to share their learning and collaborate with one another this upcoming school year.  I have found two blogging sites (EDUblogs and Kidblogs) that are student friendly and plausible to bring into my teaching.  There are secure sites where students can connect with others around the world, chat, and work on projects together.  Students can use social networking to hold book discussions, to research and debate topics, and to learn from one another in and out of school.  I have also found many resources for teachers to post and discuss teaching strategies with one another.  Through these sites, I have expanded my strategies and lessons.  
    An important component of using social networks, and having students use social networks, is digital citizenship.  Students need to be aware of safety, etiquette, and laws when it comes to being part of a social network.  So many students are on Facebook, and they need to be taught how to use this site appropriately.  Cyber bullying and predators are problems for students on social networking sites, and students should be taught about these dangers, and the steps they should take to avoid them.  
    By etiquette, I mean that students need to understand the steps and regulations to being a digital citizen.  Through presenting students with a kid-friendly digital citizenship policy that they can discuss and understand, kids will be able to participate in these networks more safely.  Our digital citizenship policy we created as a class outlines the important components students need to know in order to be optimal digital citizens.  They also need to know the school rules, and the government regulations regarding social media, in order to avoid any conflict or unnecessary hardships.  
    Overall, I have discovered that digital citizenship is a privilege and responsibility that needs to be taken seriously by teachers and students.  There are a lot of advantages, and learning, that can take place through social networking, as long as all parties act responsibly.  This week, I have learned of a number of resources, and evaluated my own role as a digital citizen. 

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Comment by Elizabeth Gentry on August 2, 2012 at 5:19pm

Well said!  I am glad that you have generated a list of possible educational uses for social networking in your own classroom.  I am also going to present a couple of ideas to my colleague next week and see what she thinks.  I am excited to try something new, but will definitely use it in moderation. 

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