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  • INTRODUCTIONMany public schools in Australia have banned access to Social Network Sites(SNSs) for students when these sites were ‘accused of supporting a broad host of threats to young people’. The potential for students to access ‘unsavory and possibly unsafe materials…has made support of intellectual freedom extremely challenging’ for schools and parents alike (Maurushat & Watt 2009). (Notley 2008, p. 1). HOWEVER, what everyone must recognise is most of our students are already a part of the digital society, and many aspects of their lives are conducted through the mobile technology available to them.We need to realise we cannot protect students from the media culture which surrounds them…we must develop an approach which allows them to ‘benefit from the opportunities and to maneuver around the risks’ and this should become one of the ‘educational priorities of our time’ (O’Neill & Hagen 2009 p.13). Bird on sign:Attribution - Image: 'Danger: Raven'
  • SOCIAL NETWORK SITES (SNSs): WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY ARE THEY USED?A Social Network Site is a web-based service which allows members to:Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded systemArticulate a list of other users with whom they share a connectionView and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system(Boyd and Ellison 2008, p.211)SNSs provide users with 5 main categories of online opportunities:Education & Learning: users can experience collaborative learning and diversification of cultural expression, whilst developing skills valued in the modern workplace (Notley 2008).Participation and civic engagement in the form of more empowered conception of citizenship, for example the GAID Global Youth forum,whichrecognising today’s youth as agents of change (GAID Committee of eLeaders for Youth and ICT 2009).Creativity & Design: SNSs offer student the opportunities to collaboratively ‘remix content and create something new, not predefined’ (O’Neill & Hagen 2009, p.6)Social Connectivity: ‘Geographically remote or socially marginalized’ students can connect with peers (Henderson, de Zwart, Lindsay & Phillips 2010, p.3). SNSs also provide support systems such as Vibewire ( and Reachout (, recruitment and industry knowledge: according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (March 2008), U.S. employers will use Web2.0 technologies and social media to vet profiles of potential hires with more than 50% using sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to prospect for talent, promote their accomplishments and recruit top candidates (Greenhow 2010, p.25)
  • CONCERNS REGARDING THE USE OF SNSs BY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTSMany parents see the computer as ‘socially isolating’ (UNESCO 2009) and their concerns over the use of SNSs are often fuelled by a lack of understanding, coupled with the negative press and horror stories that they are regularly exposed to via the media (Hauser 2009, p.24).There are many issues associated with the ‘ill-considered use’ of SNSs (Henderson et al. 2010, p.3).These are often unforeseen and can be far-reaching for students, teachers and parents alike. Even with students who know basic procedures and wish to protect their privacy, a disconnect often exists between this desire and their actual online behaviors (Acquisti & Gross in Boyd & Ellison 2008).Some current concerns regarding SNS use:Privacy and disclosure issue of personal information (perpetrated by the students themselves), or posting personal information about others. Resulting consequences of this can range from ‘stalking, identity theft, harassment, blackmail’, along with possible ‘discovery of information by…university officials or future employers’ which could prove detrimental to the individuals prospects for acceptance and employment (Henderson et al. 2010, p.4)Intellectual property and copyright issue: a large proportion of student users currently break copyright laws ‘on a regular basis (Henderson et al. 2010, p.4)Grooming and soliciting risks: SNSs can unwittingly provide opportunities for ‘grooming and soliciting youth for sexual encounters’ (Maedaris and Girouard 2002 in Dombrowski et al. 2007, p. 155) Attribution:Image: 'Laptop Compubody Sock'
  • HOW CAN SCHOOLS HELP TO ADDRESS THESE CONCERNS?We MUST educate our students!SNSs are ‘inherently neither good nor bad – it’s only their use that makes them so’ (Ribble & Bailey 2007, p.20).Many risks and concerns over SNSs arise out of ignorance and misconceptions on behalf of students, parents and teachers (Mutch 2008, p.12).Schools often feel that investing in new forms of filters and blockers will be enough to safeguard students and relieve them of the responsibility regarding educating students about pitfalls of SNSs. These technologies are not infallible, and can often be bypassed ‘by determined individuals on both sides’ from students to sexual predators (McKracken 2005 in Dombrowski et al. 2007, p.16), leaving educating our students as the most viable, practical option to helping ensure their safety on the internet.Attribution:Image: 'The Truth'
  • WHY SHOULD THE RESPONSIBILITY TO EDUCATE STUDENTS REGARDING SNSs BE TAKEN ON BY SCHOOLS?SCHOOLS: are better positioned with ICT resources and knowledge than the majority of parents, making them ‘the most efficient and effective way of advising children on internet use’ (DeHaan & Livingstone 2009). Through the use of closed sites (such as Ning) as opposed to Facebook or MySpace, the teacher can ‘control the setting and the participants’ (Veltsos & Veltsos 2010, p. 464) have the staff & experience to teach ‘digital and critical literacy skills required to maximise opportunities and minimise risks’ (De Haan & Livingstone 2009, p.13) can reach all students regardless of their ‘socioeconomic status (De Haan & Livingstone 2009) can provide opportunities to reinforce and model ethical behaviors can run professional development courses (for staff) and parent information nights to educate on safe and ethical technology use can provide appropriate advisory services and peer to peer mentoring opportunities to deal with the concerns and experiences of students using SNSs on and off campus (Huber & Whelan 1999 in Burnett 2009, p. 80) can create environments that help students avoid temptation (setting up classroom computers to be easily monitored, applying appropriate access times/privacy settings)BUT ULTIMATELY, LEGALLY, the schools will have no choice regarding EDUCATING STUDENTS about the use of SNSs and other Web2.0 tools, because ‘liability kicks in’ if there is an issue on the internet involving students (and/or) staff, and the school knew (or ought to have known) about the risk, and it was considered reasonable for them to do something about the risk (Pelletier 2009, p.14).
  • OUR DUTY AS EDUCATORS: PROVIDING THE EDUCATIONAL SCAFFOLDING TO HELP STUDENTS SAFELY REACH THEIR DESTINATIONSAs educators, we need to ensure that we equip our students with the essential ‘ICT capabilities, networks, and tools to help advance their economic, social, educational and cultural goals and activities’ (Schauder, Johanson & Taylor 2006)Today’s teachers must develop their own networks in order to understand SNSs and appreciate their power (Lindsay & Davis 2010). Through incorporation of SNS into high school education, we can help ‘students build a positive, impressive digital footprint(s) while still protecting their privacy (Lindsay & Davis 2010, p.15).Schools can become the portal for preparing students to use technology and SNSs to their advantage, enabling student ‘to have equal access to information and ideas, along with the ability to communicate effectively’ (Rubin 2004, p.189).Following the Framework for 21st Century Learning (Partnership for 21st Century Skills 2009), educators must equip students with the 4 C’s for life-long learning and innovation:Critical thinkingCommunicationCollaboration Creativity…SNSs offer the perfect springboard on which to combine these 4 highly relevant skills for today's’ (and future) learners.Education must encourage ‘fearless and safe use of computing tools and innovative technologies’ in order to satisfy the demands and needs of our learners (Robinson, Brown & Green 2007, p. 23).Hand reaching:Attribution:Image: 'untitled'
  • WHAT IMPACT DO SNSs HAVE ON EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES (1)?There are enormous shifts occurring as technology and connectivity become more affordable, thus enabling self-directed, networked learning (moving from physical spaces towards a digital environment). There is a new pedagogical breed of students (and hopefully teachers!) who are ‘digital natives’ using global digital networks which provide learning platforms connecting billions of learners (Vander Ark 2010). Educators cannot afford to ignore this!Attribution:Empty Classroom pictureImage: 'p-71-t-034'
  • WHAT IMPACT DO SNSs HAVE ON EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES (2)?High School teachers must look carefully at the way students will be best served by our educational practices (New Media Consortium & Consortium for School Networking 2010). We can then begin to diversify and adapt learning to ensure its relevance to our students.The use of SNSs in schools will support a system ‘that conforms to the learner, rather than the learner to the system’ (Green et al. in Notley 2008, p. 8).We must move beyond a focus on competency in core subjects, topromoting understanding of academic content through: global awareness financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy civic literacy(Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2009)SNSsfacillitate ‘braided learning…where multiple resources are repurposed and remixed’ (Preston 2007 in Ryberg and Christiansen 2008, p. 208). Using SNSs in education is not surprising or revolutionary, but should be considered an ‘evolution of teaching methods’ as education moves GLOBAL, and we need to focus on engaging our ‘digital native’ students (Henderson et al. 2010).
  • HOW CAN WE INCORPORATE SNSs INTO HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION?In order to incorporate supported usage of SNSs, schools communities must firstly be aware that there is a need for it. ‘State and Federal legislation have made digital literacy a priority’ (Farmer 2010, p.20) and Teacher Librarians are perfectly positioned to introduce the possibilities of including SNSs in curriculum, policies and professional development.HOWEVER, once awareness has been raised, teamwork on behalf of Principals, Heads of Department, and the ICT department will ensure our students have ‘equitable access to learning and career opportunities as education and professional networking moves online’ (Greenhow 2010, p.25).Attribution:Image: 'Superman is dead'
  • THE NOT-SO-DISTANT FUTUREIt is predicted that by the year 2020, the workforce will be truly global’ (Abram 2009, p. 224). It will be comprised of a greater diversity of people, multilingual, and by its very nature, intensely collaborative. It will a be no longer about the individual, but about the NETWORK!We will no longer be limited by the physicality of where we live when considering employment opportunities, educational opportunities, social contact or civic interaction.SNSs will have moved into virtual worlds ‘as we become our own avatars and enter into environments like Linden’s Second Life to attend school, consult with our physicians, even take vacations’ (Endicott-Popovsky 2009).SNSs will be used as platforms for teams to work together ‘to address issues too far-reaching or complex for a single worker to resolve alone’ (New Media Consortium & Consortium for School Networking 2010, p.3).Knowledge of competent, ethical use of SNSs is our democratic right ‘vital for our lives and for society’ (Buckingham 2007 & Commission of the European Communities 2007b in O'Neill & Hagen 2009, p. 4)Cloud PictureAttribution:Image: 'Good Morning'
  • CONCLUSIONThe reality is that ‘students are already using these technologies’…It is now up to ‘school leaders and teachers to provide them with educational programs, tiered curriculum introduction, sound policy and ethical guidelines for using them productively.Wild horses:Attribution:Image: 'Runing Wild 5'
  • REFERENCESAbram, S. (2009).The emerging Gen M ecology: What will their world look like? Chapter 12 in Teaching Generation M: A Handbook for librarians and educators.London: Neal-Schuman Publishers.  Boyd, D. M. & Ellison, N. B. (2008), Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13 (p.210–230) doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x Burnett, C. (2009). "That's More like How They Know Me as a Person": One Primary Pre-Service Teacher's Stories of Her Personal and "Professional" Digital Practices. Literacy, 43(2), 75-82. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. De Haan, J., & Livingstone, S. (2009). EU Kids Online: Policy and research recommendations. European Research on Cultural, Contextual and Risk Issues in Children’s Safe Use of the Internet and New Media (2006-2009). Available from Dombrowski, S.C., Gischlar, K.I. & Durst, T. (2007). Safeguarding young people from cyber pornography and cyber sexual predation: a major dilemma of the internet, Child Abuse Review 16(3). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Retrieved from Wiley InterScience database Endicott-Popovsky, B. (2009). Seeking a Balance: Online Safety for Our Children. Teacher Librarian, 37(2), 29-34. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Farmer, L. (2010). 21st CENTURY STANDARDS for information literacy. Leadership, 39(4), 20. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  GAID Committee of eLeaders for Youth and ICT (2009). A Digital Shift: Youth and ICT Development, Best Practices. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York. Greenhow, C. (2010). New Concept of Citizenship for the Digital Age. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 24-25. Henderson, M., de Zwart, M., Lindsay, D. and Phillips, M. (2010). Legal risks for students using social networking sites. Australian Educational Computing 25(1) Retrieved from:;dn=184304;res=AEIPT Hauser, J. (2009). Be the Web "Go-To" Person for Parents!. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 25(6), 24-26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the Digital Rapids. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 12-15. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  Maurushat, A., & Watt, R. (2009). Clean feed: Australia’s internet filtering proposal. University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series, 7 (March). Retrieved from  Mutch, A. (2008). Chapter 1: Being information literate in the knowledge economy. Managing information and knowledge in organizations: A literacy approach (pp. 11-25). New York, N.Y.: Routledge. [ebook] New Media Consortium., & Consortium for School Networking (2010). Horizon report 2010 K-12 edition. Austin, TX: New Media Consortium. Notley, T. M. (2008). Online network use in schools: Social and educational opportunities. Youth Studies Australia, 27(3), 20-29. Retrieved from  O’Connell, J. & Groom, D. Connect, communicate, collaborate, Learning in a changing world. ACER Press, Victoria, Australia. O'Neill, B. and I. Hagen (2009) Media literacy. Kids online: Opportunities and risks for children. Sonia Livingstone and L. Haddon (eds.). Bristol, Policy Press: 229-239. Retrieved from: Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved from: Pelletier, R. (2009). Cyberbullying: A real and present danger. Teacher: The National Education Magazine, (August), 12-15. Retrieved from;dn=177698;res=AEIPT Ribble, M. & Bailey, G. (2007). Digital Citizenship in schools. ISTE Publications. Robinson, L. K., Brown, A., Green, T., & International Society for Technology in Education, E. R. (2007). The Threat of Security: Hindering Technology Integration in the Classroom. Learning & Leading with Technology, 35(2), 18-23. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Rubin, R. E. (2004). Chapter 5. Information policy as library policy: Intellectual freedom. Foundations of library and information science (2nd ed., pp. 179-215). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. [CSU Reserve] Ryberg, T., & Christiansen, E. (2008). Community and Social Network Sites as Technology Enhanced Learning Environments. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 17(3), 207-219. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  Schauder, D., Johanson, G., & Taylor, W. (2006). Libraries, ICT policy, and Australian civil society: Issues and prospects from national consultations. Paper presented at the VALA 2006: Connecting with users. 13th biennial conference and exhibition 8-10 February 2006 Crown Towers, Melbourne, Australia. Conference proceedings. Retrieved from United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2009). Information society policies. Annual world report 2009. Available from Veltsos, J. R., & Veltsos, C. (2010). Teaching Responsibly with Technology-Mediated Communication. Business Communication Quarterly, 73(4), 463-467. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  
  • Transcript

    • 1. SNSs & HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION…By Sally Tilley
      Is this really working?
      Danger: Raven'
      3,463,753,955 HEADS ARE BETTER THAN 1!
      (users of registered SNS worldwide in APRIL 2011 excluding dating sites)
    • 3. What seems to be the problem?…concerns regarding the use of SNSs at school.
      Laptop Compubody Sock
      Every Tweet posted on Twitter since March 2006 is now archived with the Library of Congress
      (Raymond 2010 in Veltsos & Veltsos 2010 p. 465)
    • 4. The reasons
      we give to
      the use of
      SNSs in schools
      thereasonswe should
      the use of
      SNSs in schools!
      'The Truth'
    • 5. Teaching & Using SNSs in High School
    • 6. Give them the scaffolding to safely reach their destination
      Our new role as educators is to ‘create engaged learners, not simply knowers…’ (O’Connell & Groom 2010, p. 49)
    • 7. What IMPACT do SNSs have on Educational Practices?
      “Unless education itself moves then the young people we teach will begin to think education is an irrelevance in their lives…” Lord Puttnam (IIEA1, 2010)
    • 8. What IMPACT do SNSs have on Educational Practices?
    • 9. This is not something that can be achieved alone…
      ‘superman is dead'
    • 10. The
      so distant future….
      ‘Good Morning'
    • 11. There’s no point in shutting the gate…
      ‘Running Wild 5'
    • 12. Some further considerations…
    • 13. De Haan, J., & Livingstone, S. (2009). EU Kids Online: Policy and research recommendations. European Research on Cultural, Contextual and Risk Issues in Children’s Safe Use of the Internet and New Media (2006-2009). Available from
      Ryberg, T., & Christiansen, E. (2008). Community and Social Network Sites as Technology Enhanced Learning Environments. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 17(3), 207-219. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
      O'Neill, B. and I. Hagen (2009) Media literacy. Kids online: Opportunities and risks for children. Sonia Livingstone and L. Haddon (eds.). Bristol, Policy Press: 229-239. Retrieved from:
      Further reading on the issue…