Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

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I conducted a hands-on workshop yesterday on the integration of social networking in online teaching and learning at the 2010 Creating Futures Through Technology Pre-Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Below is the first part of my presentation. Please feel free to provide comments and suggestions here.  Thanks.

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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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While social networking shows great potentials for e-learning in general, little is yet known about how to integrate social networking focusing on building a sense of community, particularly in e-learning courses.  With this in mind, Dr. Harrision Yang and I conducted a case study almost two years ago to design, develop, and integrate social networking into two graduate courses for the purpose of building a sense of community, improving communications and interactions, and promoting student-centered collaboration.

The results of the study were written for a book chapter in our recent book, Collective Intelligence and E-learning 2.0:  Implications of Web-Based Communities and Networking, published by IGI Global. Also, the study was presented at the 2009 AECT/SICET International Conference this week in Louisville, Kentucky.  To learn more about this study, please view the presentation shown below.  We welcome your comments and suggestions.

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Social networking sites are on the rise globally and allow users to communicate and share information.  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.

Interesting information from Marketingcharts.com in August 2009 shows that Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the US with 39.53% of market share of visit, followed by MySpace (23.65%), and YouTube (13.16%) at the third place.

According to a study released by comScore in July 2009 on UK social networking site usage by age of visitor, they found that 29.4 million people accessed at least one social networking site in the UK during the month of May in 2009. The average time spent per visitor was 4.6 hours, trailing only instant messaging at 8.6 hours.  Also, Facebook.com ranked as the most popular social networking site with 23.9 million visitors in May 2009, followed by Bebo.com (8.5 million visitors), Windows Live Profile (6.9 million visitors) and MySpace Sites (6.5 million visitors).  Facebook grew 57% over the previous twelve months.  However, the big winner in the social networking site has been Twitter which grew more than 3,000% in 12 months to about 2.7 million visitors in May 2009.

About 80% of the total UK online population visited a site in the category in May 2009. Penetration was highest amongst 25-34 year old users, with 89 percent visiting a site in the category during the month, followed by 86 percent of 15-24 year olds. Category penetration was somewhat lower among the older age groups, but remained relatively high, reaching two thirds of the total online population age 55 and older.  Furthermore, younger users were also more engaged than their older users, with 15-24 and 25-34 year olds averaging 5.4 hours per user per month compared with 3.7 hours per month among users age 55 and older.

According to the Nielsen report, Facebook is now the most visited social networking site in the world, visiting monthly by 3 in every 10 people online across the nine markets in which Nielsen tracks social networking use.  The popularity of Facebook also helps move up its ranking of worldwide unique visitors.  According to comScore in June 2009, Facebook is now the fourth largest site in the world, trailing only Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo sites.  The ranking of worldwide unique visitors as of June 2009 is as follow:

  1. Google Sites: 844 million
  2. Microsoft Sites: 691 million
  3. Yahoo! Sites: 581 million
  4. Facebook: 340 million
  5. Wikimedia Foundation sites: 303 million
  6. AOL: 280 million
  7. eBay: 233 million
  8. CBS Interactive: 186 million
  9. Amazon: 183 million
  10. Ask Network: 174 million

It is interesting that Facebook itself only officially acknowledges 300 million active registered users.  Perhaps, the difference is due to the fact that users do not have to be a registered user to visit some Facebook pages.  Furthermore, there are some interesting statistics provided by Facebook:

  • More than 300 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older
  • Average user has 130 friends on the site
  • More than 6 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
  • More than 40 million status updates each day
  • More than 2 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 14 million videos uploaded each month
  • More than 70 translations available on the site
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
  • Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications
  • More than 350,000 active applications currently on Facebook Platform
  • There are more than 65 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.

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I recently came across the Young People and Social Networking Services report published earlier this year by the Childnet International.  The report was written from a UK schools and Further Education perspective, although much of the information will be useful to people working outside of these two contexts. The report is informative and provides useful information concerning social networking services with young people.  The report contains the following main sections:

1.  What are social networking services? This section examines the definitions of social networking services.  Also, it provides a comprehensive review of six main categories of current social networking services:  Profile-based services (e.g., Bebo, Facebook, MySpace), Content-focused services (e.g., Flickr, YouTube), White-label networks (e.g., FPeopleAggregator, Ning), Multi-User Virtual Environments (e.g., Second Life, World of Warcraft), Mobile services  (e.g., Twitter), and Microblogging/Presence update services (e.g., Jaiku, Twitter).

2.  Evaluating Social Networking Services. This section describes how to use a social networking evaluation chart and covers many significant relevant issues including profile privacy, moderation, customization, security and access issues, data management tools, and interoperability.

3. Benefits & Opportunities.  This section evaluates the potential positives for young people and organizations of using social networking services.

4.  Barriers & Risks. This section examines issues preventing educators from exploring social networking services as well as some of the e-safety issues involved.

5. Ideas and Examples.  The section showcases innovative practice, and provides examples where social networking services have been successfully used in education.

The complete report is available to download and redistribute under a Creative Commons license from Childnet’s digital literacy and citizenship site, Digizen, at http://www.digizen.org/downloads/fullReport.pdf.

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