How Social Network Sites Can Be Beneficial In The Classroom
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The incorporation of technology in the classroom has greatly changed how the modern classroom operates.  New technologies allow students new experiences that would otherwise be unavailable to them.  Web-based social networking sites are no different. 

Here is a list of sites and benefits different sites offer the modern classroom:

Facebook

  • easy way to share class ideas outside of class (post important ideas in group discussion section)  
  • allows for direct communication with the teacher outside of class  
  • create a class identity even outside of class by promoting interaction between students and teacher outside of class

Twitter

  • guide class discussion by projecting live feed in front of class with questions posted by students in real time and real time discussion 
  • develope in-class community by providing a place for positive, academic class chatter 
  • students or teacher post questions to class inside or outside of class for quick response by either students or the teacher 

Blogspot


  • class blog for each student where they write responses to each class or reading and present their thoughts on the subject in a more free writing location 

Skype

  • allows for guest speakers to present without being present in class

Some educational researches are already citing the possible benefits of these technologies. In a Social Media Workshop this August (2010), Sarah Eaton showed the possible use of Skype as a way to conference and connect with international students as well as for presentations and workshops in foriegn language classrooms. She also said that because of the accesibility of Skype it could work as, "an excellent stepping stone for those who are no entirely 'fluent' with more sophisticated technologies" (Eaton, 1). Kate Messner published a piece in the School Library Journal this past December (2009) showing how Twitter can be effectively used in an English classroom, connecting students with the authors and editors to discuss the process of writing, "And just like that, my classroom has grown. No longer just 15 kids and a teacher. It's all of us, plus a children's author in Virginia, a book editor at her desk in SoHo, and another half dozen children's writers from around the country, all talking about writing and revision" (Messner, 1). While Messner states the difficulties of incorporating new technologies, such as Twitter, because of school bans on social netwroking sites, if used properly by the teacher, they could make the classroom more inviting to students. The link below is a YouTube video interview showing how Facebook can be integrated into class assignments.


[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WPVWDkF7U8

Video for Twitter Use in the Classroom

Facebook in the Classroom

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  1. I really liked this page. I had never heard of using Twitter to allow students to ask questions to their teacher/professor before and thought that it was a very interesting idea. I would be interested to see that used at the University of Iowa and wonder if any teachers here use that idea. I also like the idea of using Blogs for English writing assignments to give students the opportunity to use technology in their classroom experiences.

  2. I have had a guest speaker "come" to our classroom to talk to us from California all the way to Iowa. It wasn't that hard to set up, and we got to talk to a famous physicist. Have you had experiences like this in your classrooms? I'd like to be able to use technology like this for my students, but I'm afraid of privacy when using facebook, etc.

  3. Although I think that using facebook to communicate with students about assignments would be convenient, I would be worried about maintaining professionalism.  Parents might be concerned that teachers talk to their students on facebook.  Also wouldn't you have to friend them on facebook them?  Then your students could see your profile which also might not be a good idea.  Does anyone else have an idea on how to get around these issues?

  4. While you all presented, I couldn't help but see similarities with technologies, such as Skype and Twitter, with technologies used in distance learning. Skype is a great form of communication between teachers and students, or students and students. You listed that it can be used for guest speakers, but a program similar to Skype (or just simple video recording) could allow a teacher to post a video of him or her lecturing for students to watch at home.

  5. I am curious to see how using Facebook and Twitter and other social networking websites in a k-12 school would work.  Many schools and districts have these websites blocked so they would not be useful in the classroom themselves.   Depending where you're teaching and who your students are some of them may not have access to a computer or the internet at home so these would not be very helpful to these students.