Friending Social Networks


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  • Social networking websites have gotten a bad reputation and most schools block access to these websites , but by shunning these tools, schools are missing out on a way to connect with their students, communities, and each other. 
  • So many of our students are already online and participating in virtual communities online.  By utilizing some of these tools, schools can hopefully break down some of the barriers between students and their administrations by giving a voice to the students as well as help teach students about appropriate online behavior without them even realizing it.  Which classroom would you rather be in?
  • Social networking sites can do a lot for a school if the administration and staff are willing to participate.  These sites offer an easy way to share information with students, parents, and the larger school community. By posting information about upcoming games, events, and other school news, you will be able to reach people almost instantly. You are also likely to reach a larger audience because anyone can follow your school now.
  • Facebook is currently the most popular social networking site.  Here users post information they want to share with their "friends," including photos and videos.  They can also create and manage events and connect with others that share their interests.  There are a number of professional organizations with Facebook pages like ISTE that are geared toward promoting discussion and collaboration on a variety of topics.
  • Ning is very popular among educators allowing you to create your own social network.  It has a separate platform just for use by educators and Ning Minis will remain a free and ad-free service for middle and high school teachers to use with their classes. You can add video, fundraising, and various other apps to your Ning network.
  • Aside from the regular networking sites, there are also social bookmarking sites.  Instead of adding a link to your favorites, you can add it to your delicious account, tag it (assign it some keywords), describe it, and share it (or keep it private).  Delicious and StumbleUpon are probably the two most popular, but Diigo is a good choice for educators.  It allows you to add an entire class and has strict privacy guidelines in place.  Plus it has a virtual sticky note feature - perfect for online research.
  • There are hundreds of social networking sites, each just a little different from the last.  Taking a look at several different sites will help you figure out what is best for your school.  Some sites are free and some are subscription based so you have have to weigh your options and see what functions you really need.
  • Every school system has their own Acceptable Use Policy, most of which prohibit the use of social networking sites in an attempt to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act. The safety of our students is obviously a priority, but by choosing programs specifically designed for education most issues can be avoided. 
  • Schools can use social networking sites as a tool to connect with the school community by advertising events and school news and as yet another way to share important information with parents.  Even the morning announcements can be uploaded and streamed. 
  • A Facebook page or Twitter account would work best for this kind of use. Facebook has a separate sign up for organizations and your community can become “fans.”  Ning would also be a good alternative if you are willing to pay for their service.  The free version for educators only covers 150 followers. 
  • Wikis, Google Docs, TitanPad and other similar collaboration tools would be a great way to incorporate technology into staff development.  Collaboration among teachers is very important, but particularly at the high school level it can be difficult to get teachers of the same subject together because of their different planning periods.  These tools would allow staff members to collaborate across time and space... even with teachers from other schools across the country.
  • In the classroom, social networking sites could be used to post assignments for absent (or forgetful) students and provide links to different resources on the web to extend the content covered in class, but it could also be an alternative method of submitting work and give students the opportunity to collaborate or help each other out.
  • Google Docs would allow students to share and submit work together.  Ning and Wikis provide a forum for students to post questions and share information.  Blogs could be used to supplement student publications. Students can post images of their artwork or samples of their writings giving others the chance to comment on them.
  • The Library Media Center is probably the best place to start using social networking.  Most media specialists are already using a lot of these tools and training others to do so.  There are actually dozens of library related networking sites out there.  The school librarian can host online book clubs or advertise recent additions to the through Shelfari or share specific parts of the collection through LibraryThing.  Both of which allow comments from students so there is the opportunity for additional feedback and interaction.
  • Pageflakes, wikis, and would be great tools for sharing resources with students and staff members giving them access to pathfinders at home.  
  • By integrating social networking into the school, we are providing our students with a way to learn safe strategies for online behavior, share their work, and collaborate together. It creates a sense of community, allowing all shareholders to participate at some level in the school. As more schools pick up this option, developers will continue to create products to meet our specific needs in education. Connect with your students, use social networking.
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  • Friending Social Networks

    1. 1. “ Friending” Social Networks Outline of Presentation by J. McBroom
    2. 2. Why should we be "friends"? 73% of teens use social networking sites Connect with our students Teach internet safety
    3. 3. Why should we be "friends"? Easy to create and manage Expand your community Access from anywhere
    4. 4. Where all the cool kids hangout... (online) facebook Share news, photos, videos Create/manage events Join groups with similar interests Become a “FAN” to follow news, blogs, professional organizations, and other interests Establish networks Instant Message Play games 6 th most visited site in the U.S.
    5. 5. Where all the cool kids hangout... (online) Ning “ Classroom 2.0” Ning for educators Share thoughts through blogs and forums Upload photos and videos Ad free education space Create your own social network TeacherLibrarian Ning for media specialists Put your classroom online
    6. 6. Where all the cool kids hangout... (online) Social Bookmarking Sites Group websites by keywords Share your favorite websites with others Access your bookmarks from any computer
    7. 7. Where all the cool kids hangout... (online) Others
    8. 8. Can we be friends? Cyberbullying Online Predators Privacy Identity Theft Child pornography
    9. 9. Social networking for the school Advertise School Events Promote School Publications Share Sports Scores, Concert Videos,… Quickly Inform Parents About Cancellations or Delays Recruit Volunteers for Fundraisers
    10. 10. Social networking for the school Blank sample organization page on Facebook. Twitter feed embedded on a school’s homepage
    11. 11. Social networking for the school Collaborate from any computer, anytime Share/revise lesson and unit plans Work with teachers in other buildings
    12. 12. Social networking for the classroom Post assignments or enrichment activities Online group work Reminders and help for long-term projects Students can submit work anytime Student-directed learning Review Wiki for AP tests
    13. 13. Social networking for the classroom GoogleDocs has teachers on staff to help students (and teachers) Ning network for your classes
    14. 14. Social Networking for the Media Center Online Book Clubs Student Book Reviews and Recommendations Advertise New Books
    15. 15. Social Networking for the Media Center Link to OPAC and pathfinders through a wiki Use pageflakes to highlight online resources for home use
    16. 16. Get your school connected
    17. 17. Resources Baumbach, D. & Lee, J. (n.d.). Web Tools 4 U 2 Use . Retrieved from   Deubal, P. (2009,16 September). Social Networking in Schools: Incentives for participation. THE Journal .  Retrieved from Incentives-for-Participation.aspx?Page=4   Haigh, P. (2010). Social Network Websites, Their Benefits and Risks: A guide for school leaders . Available from Mason, R. & Rennie, F. (2008). E-Learning and Social Networking Handbook: Resources for higher education . Available from Nielsen, L. (n.d.). The Innovative Educator . Retrieved from
    18. 18. Resources Strickland, J. (n.d.). Facebook Profiles . Retrieved from: networking/networks/facebook1.htm   YALSA. (n.d.). Teens & Social Networking in Schools & Public Libraries: A toolkit for Librarians & Library Workers . Retrieved from Sldeshow outline
    19. 19. Websites <ul><ul><li>20 Social Networking sites for teachers - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Innovative Educator on using social networking to engage students - </li></ul></ul>
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