Social Networking On Campus…On Purpose!

I have heard a fair share of complaints of children (and teens, well, ages across the board) spending too much time on their phones or on gaming systems and not enough time socializing and engaging in the world around them. Now that we are in this post-modern digital age, it is almost expected that children and teens be connected to their phones, gaming systems, or other digital media. Isn’t that engaging in the world around them as well?

I randomly came across an article encouraging schools to embrace this new age of technology, more specifically through Facebook and Twitter. It seems that we could have the best of both worlds in education…engagement on school campuses through digital social interaction and personal human interaction. The article is on the blog: “Not So Distant Future“, which is focused on libraries, technologies, and schools (this blog has won many awards I might add!) It offers snapshots of studies focusing on using the popular (and FREE!) Facebook and Twitter to engage students in campus events. I agree in this librarian’s take on the fact that educators/administrators worry about the use of social networking will hinder academic progress or social interactions, but should also focus on the opportunity, student reaction, student attendance, and student learning, etc. Junco, one of the researchers, has several articles published on the effects of Twitter and Facebook on many aspects of education.

I think that the studies they reveal could show encouragement and motivation for our school as we have a campus blessed with involved students and many technological opportunities and advocates! Facebook and Twitter are two of the most talked about social networks at school, work, and now on TV it seems…I think we should take a look at the success rate and think about its transition into education. It will happen whether it’s purposely used for school or if a student is updating their Facebook status under the table so the teacher won’t see. Let’s jump on board and see what we can do!

Posted on 13 March 2012, in General Info, Global Awareness, Media Fluency, Social Media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I was talking with another teacher yesterday about Facebook being open again on our school network (BTW, kudos to our tech administrators for bringing back our “open” network!) and he made a great point…

    When our students arrive at the college institution of their choice and are seated with laptop in hand in a lecture hall with 300 other students and a professor that is preaching to any who will listen, they will be faced with a choice. That mobile device sitting on their lap is going to be pulling their attention toward Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…and the ultimate decision between engaging in learning or succumbing to distraction is going to be theirs. Nobody there will care what choice they make; at least, not like we do. And just how will they manage this situation? Without having faced this scenario in high school…probably not very well, for most.

    With an “open” approach to social networking, we give our students an amazing opportunity – the chance to interact with our school community online, learn to manage social and digital distractions, and prepare for access the unfiltered Internet beyond our campus.

  2. Roxanne Warner

    I agree Stephanie, our world is headed in this direction. We’ve got our 1:1 started now, and it’s going great. Just a few years ago we as teachers couldn’t have grasped this concept of what even social networking was, or even thought about social networking could be in the schools. We’re at the cross-roads of allowing it or not. How can we not take part of this “open” approach to social networking in our school community? Everything we do here at Heritage Hall is to “prep” our students for the next level. They can learn how to manage all of the social networking here before they get into that class of 300. Great points you made Steph!

  3. I’m wondering how this could work. Would a teacher create a page for the class similar to pages created for businesses, fan pages, or advocacy pages? A big appeal to me is that students are already skilled on Facebook. They know how to post photos or links.

    I just went to the OKC Thunder page. I see the Thunder items, but on the right I see the same sidebar I would see if I were on my own page (friend suggestions, calendar alerts, invitations) that might be a distraction (it was to me–I had to send a birthday greeting!). Of course, as others have pointed out, students need an opportunity to learn how to manage those distractions.

    Another question: If student A and student B are part of my classroom group page, does that mean that they can automatically access each other’s individual pages? I would think not, but I don’t know.

    I may have to play around with this, but it certainly brings up a lot of questions.

  4. integratedintention

    I didn’t know facebook is unblocked now (I agree, it’s the right decision)! A good friend of mine recently co-founded a facebook app designed to integrate facebook into the classroom. It’s called “ChalkTalk.” They recently started, but they are making a lot of progress. Here is the link:

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