Social networking tools in education

11:43 PM / Posted by Lenva /

I have been reading Marc Prensky's blog and his post on the NSBA Study On Online Behaviors caught my eye. This study discusses how teenagers use such sites as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook and if these sites have any place in education.

In this study, Anne Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association (USA) states,
“There is no doubt that these online teen hangouts are having a huge influence on how kids today are creatively thinking and behaving. The challenge for school boards and educators is that they have to keep pace with how students are using these tools in positive ways and consider how they might incorporate this technology into the school setting.”

In the study Peter Grunwald of Grunwald Associates says that
"In the future, schools that incorporate social networking tools in education can help engage kids and move them toward the center of the learning process.”

The study points out that much of the social networking is centred around school, schoolwork or assignments.
So it is okay for kids to network to complete and discuss assignment out of school hours, but not in school hours???? It doesn't gel with me.

I find this very interesting as I was speaking to a New Zealand educator only yesterday who stated that there is a concern that our kids want it all and want it now, and we should resist this. Why? Surely here is an opportunity for us to model excellence in learning which includes excitement, engagement and relevance.

I agree with Marc when he states that many of our educators are
"deathly afraid of ...“The Emerging Online Life of the Digital Native” because it is something they don’t understand. Rather than asking the kids about it (say in regular meetings) their typical attitude it to disrespect it and the kids."

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Comment by itanewf on May 29, 2009 at 8:57 AM

With all the talk about social networking and other 2.0 type tools. Why are so many online classes not using the technology. In my research I find that students believe that they learn best form dialogue and conversation, yet online faculty are perceived to be "missing for the conversation". Students also say that Blogs, Twitter, SMS, and other communication methods would help.
Have any others observed this student perception?

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