Tween Social Networking (NJAET)


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As presented at the NJAET 2007 Conference, Creating eMagic, 09-October-2007

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Tween Social Networking (NJAET)

  1. 1. Tween Social Networking Sites: They're Heeeeeere! NJAET 2007 Fall Conference Kevin Jarrett – Technology Facilitator, K-4 Northfield Community School –
  2. 2. Image credit:
  3. 3. Objectives <ul><li>Demystify Tween Social Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Deconstruct activities </li></ul><ul><li>Consider curricular possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorm the future </li></ul>Image credit:
  4. 4. Agenda <ul><li>Definitions (What) </li></ul><ul><li>Locations (Where) </li></ul><ul><li>Participants (Who) </li></ul><ul><li>Motivations (Why) </li></ul><ul><li>Implications </li></ul><ul><li>Q&A </li></ul>Image credit:
  5. 5. Quoting Gary Stager… “ I had a heated dinner conversation with a school computer teacher this evening. She was arguing for a specific scope and sequence of computer applications intended to prepare students for “the real world” still years away. Besides my objection to what Paolo Friere called, “the banking model - learn this now because you may need it someday,” it seems patently ridiculous to believe that one tool or sequence of skills is essential for later. If this were true then every teacher who did not plan for web-based apps is guilty of negligence. I suggested that 5th/6th grade projects like “researching MP3 players on the web and then comparing the prices in Excel” to be examples of sugar-coated medicine and less authentic than the real mathematics preschoolers are doing naturally in Club Penguin . Once school “math” teaches kids arithmetic tricks the construction of mathematical knowledge and sense of self as capable mathematicians kids experience in real and virtual worlds is nearly over. Club Penguin may be a more productive context for learning than math class . It’s our challenge to make formal classes much more natural and put away our crystal balls.” Source:
  6. 6. Definitions <ul><li>Tween Social Networking IS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inexpensive (often free to start) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2D or 3D </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Safe (when used in a controlled environment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercialized (usually) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tween Social Networking ISN’T: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dangerous (when used in a controlled environment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Just for tweens (younger and older kids participate) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Just for fun” </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Locations
  8. 8. <ul><li>$12.98/pet/year </li></ul><ul><li>Care, feed & dress pets; decorate rooms </li></ul><ul><li>Socialization </li></ul><ul><li>Games (jobs) earn Kinzcash (currency) for food, clothes, toys </li></ul><ul><li>New content often </li></ul><ul><li>Design your space </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Free (limited) accounts can’t decorate or buy clothes </li></ul><ul><li>Paid accounts are $58/yr </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of socialization </li></ul><ul><li>Games pay in “coins” (currency) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Free accounts: up to four pets, full access </li></ul><ul><li>Paid accounts: $70/yr </li></ul><ul><li>Care, feed & dress pets; pets have pets </li></ul><ul><li>Socialization </li></ul><ul><li>Games (gambling?) </li></ul><ul><li>Pioneered “Immersive Advertising” </li></ul>
  11. 11. What are they DOING? <ul><li>Learning about the value of money </li></ul><ul><li>Working ‘jobs’ </li></ul><ul><li>Reading </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecting </li></ul><ul><li>Writing </li></ul><ul><li>Playing </li></ul><ul><li>Dealing with advertisements </li></ul><ul><li>Messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Decorating </li></ul><ul><li>Collecting </li></ul><ul><li>Leading guilds </li></ul><ul><li>Navigating </li></ul>
  12. 12. Participants <ul><li>Tweens (8-12) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some much younger, some even older </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predominantly female </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exponential growth rates </li></ul></ul>Source:
  13. 13. Motivations <ul><li>Kids: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creativity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self Expression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self Reliance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Care/attachment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coolness factor </li></ul></ul>Image credit: Image credit:
  14. 14. Motivations <ul><li>Providers (most): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sites are for-profit businesses exist to make money. Period. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> is a notable exception (no advertising whatsoever, heavy educational focus) </li></ul></ul>… does a profit motive matter ?
  15. 15. Implications <ul><li>29% feel SN could help reading & writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>28% feel SN could help self expression </li></ul><ul><li>36% feel SN could help students learn to work together </li></ul>Source: National School Boards Association study (July 2007) Among District Leaders…
  16. 16. Implications <ul><li>76% feel SN could help reading & writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>75% feel SN could help self expression </li></ul><ul><li>72% feel SN could help students learn to work together </li></ul>Source: National School Boards Association study (July 2007) Among Parents… … who’s right?
  17. 17. Implications <ul><li>Our challenge: “make formal classes much more natural” (Stager, 2007) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Let’s create safe SN environments to: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explore core curriculum content areas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborate globally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Build 21 st century skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make learning more like play </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning affordances of SN environments unlike any other </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Started in ‘99 with goal of increasing interest in science for middle school girls </li></ul><ul><li>Partners: Getty, NASA, the School Nutrition Association, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution </li></ul>Source:
  19. 19. <ul><li>Tween “MySpace” </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on multi-media content & production </li></ul><ul><li>Direct messaging </li></ul><ul><li>True social network </li></ul><ul><li>Substantial parent / teacher involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Somewhat commercial </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Create your own social network </li></ul><ul><li>Totally free (ad supported) </li></ul><ul><li>Can be completely private </li></ul><ul><li>Embraces multi-media content </li></ul><ul><li>Fully customizable </li></ul>
  21. 22. Some Ideas… <ul><li>Collaborative stories based on in-world characters and adventures </li></ul><ul><li>Track, value and manage inventory with a spreadsheet </li></ul><ul><li>Debates with other classes, cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct science experiments using in-world exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Explore, model prosocial skills </li></ul><ul><li>Draw out shy, reticent children </li></ul><ul><li>Cybersafety skills & education </li></ul>
  22. 24. Thank You! Kevin Jarrett Email - Blog -