Using Social Networking to Enhance Students’ Learning Experiences

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Social networking sites are being used regularly by millions of people; and they keep people connected through a fast, free, simple, and an accessible way.  Social network applications and services have great potential in education because of their open nature, ease of use, and support for effective collaboration and communication.  Today, social networking is very popular and digital natives already found social networking tools integral to daily life.  Social networks could be used in education to enhance students’ learning experiences.

I delivered a presentation “Using Social Networking to Enhance Students’ Learning Experiences” at the 2010 MECA conference in Jackson, Mississippi this morning and thought the session went well.  As promised, I post my presentation here.  Please feel free to provide comments and suggestions.  Thanks.

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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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3 Responses to Using Social Networking to Enhance Students’ Learning Experiences

  1. Using social network a team can be made which is a great way for studying, social participation and all.

  2. Madelon Gruich says:

    Thanks, Dr. Yuen, for another blog about Social Networks. I am researching this topic in another class and am interested in finding all the information available regarding current statistics related to the inclusion of Social Networks in education. My interest lies in determining how instructors utilize Social Networks in their classrooms, if the trend is increasing, and if students’ responses to this concept are positive or negative. Statistics regarding use of Social Networking sites are staggering. Facebook is the most widely used, but others including Ning, MySpace, and Friendster are also the choice of many. Students feel connected globally because of these sites. They develop a concern for humanity because of being able to interact with anyone in the world. An article in this month’s NBEA Journal entitled, “The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur” by Joanne Lozar Glenn addresses the fact that many college students are devoted to “solving social problems regardless of profit.”

    The IT780 Seminar in Instructional Technology Ning site has been easy to access and use. Although members may create their own page and start new groups, the overall appearance and organization is controlled by the person who initially created the site. The closed architecture of Ning appeals to educators, allowing them to control who has access to the materials and the site in general. A variety of activities is available, including discussion boards, sharing videos, pictures, and presentations, blogging, and synchronous chat which ensures that students learning at a distance may still enjoy interaction with classmates. Technology has allowed many of us who live away from university campuses to work on degrees, utilizing face-to-face and distance learning opportunities. Educators who encourage the use of technology in classrooms are opening avenues for their students to experience different tools which will benefit them in the future.

  3. Christine Mark says:

    Having attended this presentation at the MECA conference, all I can say is ‘wow’!! Never before have I seen someone pack so much information into a 50-minute presentation, and you had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I am truly amazed at the sheer amount of Web 2.0 tool knowledge you have.

    I think it is very important for teachers at all levels to be aware of both the large variety of tools available for their use in their classroom, as well as the knowledge that the number of free software applications is staggering. Considering that in the not too distant past most applications were only provided for a fee, the fact that programmers and authors now provide free Web 2.0 tools—often rivaling their paid counterparts in quality and features—illustrates a shift in the landscape of educational resources. I found myself constantly jotting down the names of applications as you whizzed through the slides.

    As Madelon indicated, the Ning social networking application is a great tool for use in the classroom and I have created one for a new class I am teaching the second half of this semester, “Introduction to Business”. While I have used wikis in the past, the social networking aspect of Ning lured me to try it. I believe that Ning will provide a broader spectrum of activities and features lacking in other social applications and I am eager to see how it turns out.

    Too often I have heard colleagues and teachers at conferences make negative comments about having to use technology in their classes, citing reasons such as high cost (Camtasia and Adobe) to licensing issues, to the difficulty in learner complicated software, yet your presentation illustrated that using technology can be free and fun, as well as easy to master. I had a lot of fun in your presentation, and would certainly catch it again if able.

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