Social Networking for Education


Today’s college students are known as “digital natives” and are also known as members of the Millennial Generation. The digital natives are highly connected, increasing mobile, and technological savvy; and they see technology as an essential part of their lives. Results of a 2007 national study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project show that 55 percent all online American youths between the ages of 12 and 17 use social networking sites for communication. A recent study, Creating and Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social- and Educational-Networking conducted by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Grunwald Associate, indicates that American kids are spending almost as much time using social networking services and Web sites as they spend watching television. The report is based on online surveys of about 1,300 American kids from 9 to 17 years and over 1,000 parents, and telephone interviews with more than 250 school district officials. The findings of the study indicate that 96 percent of students with internet access engage in social networking. Almost sixty percent of students say they use the social networking tools to discuss classes, learning outside school, and planning for college. Students also report using chatting, text messaging, blogging, and online communities such as Facebook and MySpace for educational activities, including collaboration on school projects.

Based on these studies as well as many similar research studies, the opportunity for instant and global publication of information, thoughts, opinions, and ideas is something our “digital native” students take for granted as normal and commonplace. The “digital native” students have already found social networking tools integral to daily life. As Marc Prensky pointed out from his article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” I think we should consider moving teaching and learning away from conventional methods by which students are told what to learn, when, where, and how. Instead, knowledge should be actively constructed and students should be made responsible for their own learning. We should also consider some of the social networking tools and integrate these tools in teaching and learning.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
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5 Responses to Social Networking for Education

  1. yrlin says:

    這是很好的觀念, 現今的學校該用什麼去教導那些數位的下一世代, 還是用傳統的方式嗎? 如何教出有競爭力的下一代呢? 這是身為教育工作者要去思考的, 重要的是具備什麼樣的一種能力呢? 這篇文章值得我們深思, 我們面對未來, 該用什麼方式去教導, 是當老師扮演的重要角色。

  2. yrlin says:

    這是很好的觀念, 現今的學校該用什麼去教導那些數位的下一世代, 還是用傳統的方式嗎? 如何教出有競爭力的下一代呢? 這是身為教育工作者要去思考的, 重要的是具備什麼樣的一種能力呢? 這篇文章值得我們深思, 我們面對未來, 該用什麼方式去教導, 是當老師扮演的重要角色。

  3. Lou Ellen says:

    The digital natives might start with today’s college students, but I believe the real test will come in the near future. At this point in time, we still have enough non-digital natives in college to not have to think of moving in this direction totally. However, soon the education system will have to revise itself to fit with the students of this future technologically advanced digital native society. Kids today are spending as much time, if not more, on social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook. They use these sites for communication with friends near and far, for interactive games, notice of important events, blogging, entertainment, and even school or work purposes. Facebook was unique when it began because you had to be associated with a university or school to be able to join. And, only those in that same network could view your page and information. Now, with its popularity growing, it is now a worldwide networking site with applications galore. You can be associated with your university, high school, and place of employment, geographic location, or nothing at all. I have found it to be a useful tool in promoting campus events for student awareness. These types of networking sites have been very useful for me in being able to keep in contact with previous employers or friends from a distance. However, this can also be detrimental to job prospects. An employer can look up your page, and determine things about you from the page. Not that the page will be reflective of your work abilities, but it could play a part in determining your position within certain companies.

  4. Sung-shan Chang(Charles)張松山 says:

    科技的進步,已經使現代人如果沒有科技就沒辦法工作、求學、做研究及生活,有如脫節一般,尤其現代的年輕人已經將科技視為他們生活的一部份,不可分離。根據2007年一份國家研究報告指出12至17歲的上線美國年輕人中有55%使用社交網站(social networkings)來相互通訊及交換資訊。所以可見其受喜愛及流行的程度。
    經由老師的教學,我學得Ning這個Social Networks的工具,瞭解到她的功能及優點,再經由自己親自製做一個酷博網(屬於工教系博士班97級同學訊息公告、分享學習、教學及研究經驗的網站)更發覺真的不錯,以後還可以運用在職場上及教學研究領域上。

    Social Networks應用於教學非常有效果,我透過溜覽網路上的資訊及觀摩其他同學的作品能夠激發新的創作靈感,而與其他同學的討論也能增進彼此的團結與感情,更能拉近學生與老師的距離。給學生當做學習科目的過程記錄,是個不錯的方式,這樣的互動方式,可以讓師生彼此反省,同儕之間可以相互觀摩,教師透過學生的學習心得注意學生的學習過程,有哪些教學技巧,可以改進,針對個別學生的問題,也可以有依據之補救之道,達到教學相長,所以無論是同學及教師都可以妥善來運用。

  5. Sung-shan Chang(Charles)張松山 says:

    科技的進步,已經使現代人如果沒有科技就沒辦法工作、求學、做研究及生活,有如脫節一般,尤其現代的年輕人已經將科技視為他們生活的一部份,不可分離。根據2007年一份國家研究報告指出12至17歲的上線美國年輕人中有55%使用社交網站(social networkings)來相互通訊及交換資訊。所以可見其受喜愛及流行的程度。
    經由老師的教學,我學得Ning這個Social Networks的工具,瞭解到她的功能及優點,再經由自己親自製做一個酷博網(屬於工教系博士班97級同學訊息公告、分享學習、教學及研究經驗的網站)更發覺真的不錯,以後還可以運用在職場上及教學研究領域上。

    Social Networks應用於教學非常有效果,我透過溜覽網路上的資訊及觀摩其他同學的作品能夠激發新的創作靈感,而與其他同學的討論也能增進彼此的團結與感情,更能拉近學生與老師的距離。給學生當做學習科目的過程記錄,是個不錯的方式,這樣的互動方式,可以讓師生彼此反省,同儕之間可以相互觀摩,教師透過學生的學習心得注意學生的學習過程,有哪些教學技巧,可以改進,針對個別學生的問題,也可以有依據之補救之道,達到教學相長,所以無論是同學及教師都可以妥善來運用。

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