Saturday, October 4, 2008

Social Network Ruminations (part 2)

Despite what I have seen and my personal opinions I still think a social network could be used effectively as an educational tool if you had the right dynamic and attitude between the learners and instructors. Perhaps a few uses could be:
  1. Online classroom: Applications could help enhance the classroom experience
  2. Educators network: A social network for educators could help them collaborate and stay connected
  3. Continue learning outside of the classroom: Parents could also get involved and be on or see the network and stay linked into what their kids are learning and see how they can help them, support them, etc.
  4. Research: I think studying, analyzing and experimenting on and with social networks can teach us a lot about people, technology, and learning
  5. Resource for students and the professor: Imagine a professor who uses a social network rather than blackboard or other online educational collaboration tools. If that is a popular social network that students use to connect with their friends that increases the exposure of the student to the content, links, assignments, and other class related items. It does make things more convenient for the student but I don’t know if it would increase learning outcomes.
  6. International connections: A social network could help you have a field trip more often. Or for language learning you could have a more immersion setting despite the language by linking in students that speak those countries.

Personally it is day 4 of having a Facebook account. I must be honest right now it seems less suited to be a formal educational tool than a blog or a wiki. Using it as a resource for certain assignments or discussions might be the most feasibly. I have a hard time thinking that K-12 children would use it for anything more than what we call it…a social network. As I looked at some of the social networks I didn’t since a whole lot of “education” going on. It was more like disjointed conversations or things about people’s personal lives (; Though one I found has some useful information ( but even in that case the things that would be most helpful are dead ends; I guess there are not enough people plugged in to make it worthwhile. I would love to see some research, experiments and tests to see what it takes to successfully use a social network in education.


opencontent said...

"I must be honest right now [Facebook] seems less suited to be a formal educational tool than a blog or a wiki."

That's fine! The important thing is that you understand how and why each tool might be used to support learning, and know when to invoke or assign each one!

Shawn said...

Sounds good!

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