education, technology, and everything else

Social networking and school

Posted by Miranda on January 17, 2008

Notice the title is social networking and school not social networking in school. I’ve been thinking about some of the reading that’s come my way about leveraging social networking for education, and while I think it could be useful what I do not think is useful is trying to leverage existing social networks for education.

What brought this bubbling to the surface this morning was a post on Will Richardson’s blog: Social Networks (No) vs. Social Tools (Yes) in Schools. The post will lead to a lot more reading for me because I was completely unaware until this morning of the debate he mentions:
“Social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom” and now of course I’ll have to go and read that.

But what I’m talking about is educators using existing social networks, specifically Facebook, for school related activity. I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the teachers on our Internet Committee uses Facebook to communicate with the students in her art classes. While the objection I voiced was mainly around how inefficient that method was in a bandwidth context I also have another objection to it and that is that social is social and school is school. For goodness sake leave these kids a place they can call their own!

During my junior high and high school years, in Newton, Massachusetts, we had a place to hang out: the park. Down the street from my house was a small park where we would gather and hang, sometimes until late at night. I don’t remember that we actually got into anything illegal or harmful but the point is that we were completely unsupervised.

Where, in this day and age, are the places where kids can hang out and be unsupervised? Practically nowhere if you ask me.

Now I am not saying for one minute that parents should not keep some sort of eye on what their kids are doing online, I believe they should educate themselves on what their children are up to and with whom. I sure do with my kid.

But for heaven’s sake, let teachers stay out of the play space.

Pass the tin hat, please…..

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