Resources and Reflections

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Social Networks or Social Outlets?


Two dominating conversations pervade: Why not MySpace (or a SN) in school? And… ‘It’s the world they live in’? That’s how they communicate. It’s their main way of communicating. (Wouldn’t it be more obiligatory then for educators to teach enriching face-to-face discourse in school?) Really…. I thought it was via cell phones! So….should this type of communication be allowed in schools? On the academic level, I would say ‘Yes’, but on the pure social level, I would say ‘No’. Face it, ‘my world’ is fly fishing, but my job (or any job) has done little to let me do that while I work. It is a fact that students are social animals therefore schools should be conscious of social outlet provisions. Providing online class and school forums, private blog discussions, and school email are necessary. At our school, I have noticed students sharing and passing notebook filled (I suppose) with social rantings - to quell their social needs (should we ban that practice). Thus, schools should be conscious of providing (and allotting time for) many types of social discourse.

School is for learning and a honing ground for appropriate socialization and (vocal) discourse. Schools should be directing students to do the same online.

What I trust least about SN’s in schools is that they have a greater potential to distract from academic discourse just like flyfishing in the workplace may distract from workplace performance. However, i would prefer to develop a SN with a focus on Online Communities and New Web Collaboration.

Social Outlets galore.....
For the 2008/09 year I intend to meet the social needs by providing students with these outlets: school email (Gaggle), school forums (Moodle), private blogs (Blogger), contribute to forums in a educational SN's (Ning), and contribute to online community information sharing service (Sharepoint), Mulit-User Gaming and paricipate in global discourse about world issues. Although the intended nature of these is for academic discourse, students may create communication that is similar to ‘the world they communicate in’. Student may also be allowed to be expressive and creative using MS Photostory and Voice thread , to name but a few. (I will try to get students to create a SN in Ning?)
A must read link: http://www.teachinghacks.com/?p=345


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