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The Need for Social Networking in the Classroom

The Need for Social Networking in the Classroom

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Published by: roeslerbarb on Dec 04, 2009
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05/11/2014

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Social Networking 1Running head: Social NetworkingThe Need for Social Networking for the ClassroomBarbara Roesler Fall 2009Bemidji State University FasTrack 
 
Social Networking 2The Need for Social Networking in the ClassroomStudents in America have never before had so much technology at their fingertips.Social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook have skyrocketed to pop cultureimportance, not only excelling in popularity, but also in the frivolity of their contents. Onemight wonder if social networking might actually work as a learning tool for secondary students.Taking into consideration the benefits of computer proficiency, student familiarity with the platform, opportunity for teachable situations it provides, and the wide range of communicationtypes it encompasses, social networking could be useful and effective.Social networking in education can be good for the future of our society and for our students. Using computers and the Internet has been shown to correlate strongly with quality of life (US Department of Education, 2006). People who engage this type of technology experiencehave been shown to achieve higher education and greater workforce potential (US Department of Education, 2006). Also, students who use computers gain technology skills, which employerstoday find appealing in potential employees (US Department of Education, 2006). Computer and Internet use, such as what could be achieved through a social networking site may help prepare students to become productive adults in our society.But how realistic is it to require all students in your classroom to often use a computer with internet access? Science Daily reported that according to a University of Minnesota(2008)study of urban, Midwestern students ages 16 to 18, “94 percent (of students) used the Internet, 82 percent go online at home and 77 percent had a profile on a social networking site.”(p.1). Thosestrong numbers suggest that many students are using computers in their homes and schoolsalready. Students are in the habit of using computers to play games, to do school assignments,
 
Social Networking 3and to be online (US Department of Education, 2008). The fact is that students enjoy usingcomputers and are accustomed to it.Educators are always on the looking for new ways to stimulate students to perform better.Social networking may be what they are seeking. A recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2006) report suggests that pupils who are technology literate as aresult of frequent computer use have higher assessments in some content areas. Not only willstudents be learning more, but they’ll be more interested too. The US Department of Education(2006) reported that students who use often use computers find the experience sparks interest anddesire to learn the intended content. Teachers could be harnessing this enthusiasm for education.A social networking website offers many options to the user including blogs, forums,chat, an event calendar, and the ability to link out to the internet. In general, this platform allowsthe user to be steered in a direction (i.e. Review this article on clear cutting the rain forest…),then allows the user the ability to react through discussion (i.e...then write a reflection in theforum on the implications this will have for our air quality). Many possibilities exist for how asocial network can be used in a biology class, for example. Students can: help collaborate onhomework, post lab reports and review another student’s work, use practice quizzes to study,react to a webpage or graphic posted on the social network.Today’s technology-bombarded student is a different animal than the student of the past.Using a social networking website to supplement the classroom may help to adapt teaching to thelearning of today’s student, and may help better prepare them for the future.

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