The Use of Social Networking in Education – A Critique Throughout history, when new technologies emerged- be it the typewriter, the

television or the computer- educators were pushed to find ways to incorporate these new technologies into the classroom environment and the learning process. Social networking systems are no different. The emergence of social networking has helped shape new ways in which people are communicating and collaborating. As a result, social networking systems have received much attention in education as an increasing number of younger people have made use of public systems such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Such systems help individuals and groups to readily create or find and then share knowledge. Significantly, the capability of these systems to enable forms of communication controlled by the user makes them very different to the learning environments of the past. In social networking systems, the individual user can decide what they wish to discuss and who they wish to work with. This means that social networking systems truly have the capability to deliver a platform for learning where the student is potentially at the centre of activities. Social networks connect students with other students, indirectly creating a learning communitya vital component of student education (Baker, 1999). It provides lecturers opportunities and structures by which students can help and support each other by utilizing a community already established by the students themselves. Hamann and Wilson (2002) found that students who participated in a web-enhanced class outperformed those students in a traditional lecture format. This suggests that Internet-based learning modules actively engage students in a manner uniquely different from the traditional lecture.

and student based cyber-bullying (Barnard. upcoming events. there has been an emergence of subsets of traditional social networking sites. Presently. Today’s educators are often strongly discouraged from using commercial social networking sites including Facebook and MySpace because they are seen as inappropriate and incompatible with student learning. fears of online sexual predators. Students on the other hand can use Facebook to contact classmates about questions regarding class assignments. such as ‘Ning In Education’ which have been developed in hopes that educators will expose their . With this in mind. many educators are ignoring the educational and technological benefits with using social networking sites with students who will be operating in a technologically rich and globalised workplace of the 21st century. for instance.2008). can help teachers connect with their students about assignments.Social networking systems also increase teacher-student interaction in the form of web-based communications. In their rush to protect students. all group members are unable to meet at the same time to discuss assignments leaving most of the discussions to take place either via the telephone or email. the educational community has been noticeably slow to adopt social networking technologies into the classroom curriculum due to privacy and safety concern for students. Facebook. examinations as well as pool resources on assignments and group projects without leaving the comfort of their homes. students struggle with hectic work and school schedules. A review of current research reveals that the three most commonly cited reasons for not allowing students to use social networking sites in educational environments include preconceptions associated with exposing students to inappropriate online content. useful links etc. Quite often. Thus far. Social networking offers a solution to this problem.

social networking sites have demonstrated the ability to function as an effective educational tool.students to the educational and technological benefits associated with social networking sites. . From supporting communication and collaboration to enhancing the discussion of thoughts and ideas. As they are deemed safer. These new non-commercial sites provide an exciting and innovative alternative for educators by providing a platform for teaching and greatly reducing concerns for students’ privacy and safety. e-safe social networking sites in an educational setting. there can be benefits from using emerging non-commercial. The current debate on whether to use social networking in education is being viewed too narrowly.

533-553. ( 2008.REFERENCES Baker.A.MySpace agrees to lead fight to stop sexual predators. P. Barnard. K. 31. Thousand Oaks: CA Pine Forge Press. Beyond search engines: Enhancing active learning using the internet. (2002).M. Politics and Policy. January 15th ). and Wilson. The Social Works of Higher Education. B. . The New York Times Hamman.(1999).

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