Social networking is very popular and sites about any subject or interest can be found. There have been sites created that incorporate social networking and education. These sites allow teachers to integrate social networking into their teaching and lessons. Something teachers need to consider before using social networking is the nine components of digital citizenship. These components were created to help protect students and create a learning environment for technology education.
After researching social networking I have learned about the variety of social networking sites that are available for teachers and students. Looking into some of these sites, they vary on what is offered. Some sites offer free as well as paid versions that include different features depending on the subscription purchased. Some sites are free for all of the features. Teachers need to consider what they will be using the site for to determine what features they will need.
The sites also vary on how students set up an account. Some sites require a minimum of a name, state, and e-mail to set up an account. This can violate a school’s AUP and can contemplate digital safety. Teachers need to be careful at this step in the process. I have found some sites that only require an e-mail from the teacher while students only need to enter a code. This is safer because no student information is shared with outside sources. Some sites allow teachers to monitor and control their students use. They also allow no one outside of the class to access the information that is being shared. However, some sites do not allow teachers to monitor all student work or block outside users from contacting students. Teachers need to look into these things before signing up a class for use of the site.
I would like to pursue closer research and possible membership to some of the social networks that were posted during our discussions. I do teach young students but I think introducing them to this technology and allowing them to practice using this technology will increase their understanding of how to use these tools. I would like to use sites that are geared towards younger students so they are not too confused while using and students do not get overwhelmed. Modeling how to use these sites will increase understanding for students and make them feel more comfortable accessing them on their own to complete assignments.
I think any issues I share with my colleagues at school would focus on the AUP and maintaining digital citizenship while using social networking. I never hear these topics discussed at school and I am not sure how many of my colleagues are aware they exist! I want to share these things with them so they understand what is acceptable, not acceptable and how to keep our students safe while using technology. To do this, I would ask for PD time where all staff is gathered. Creating a presentation and how to find these resources would be easiest. A handout to give staff members would allow a resource for teachers to refer to outside of the PD. If PD time was not granted, I would ask to send an all school e-mail with the information and I would keep my door open for anyone who has questions.
Social networks are only one piece of technology that is available for teachers to use in the classroom. Many types of networks are available and teachers need to consider what would be best for their students to use.