Posts tagged ‘blogger’

June 22, 2010

Social Networking in Class

You may not have heard, but social networking is all the rage! All the cool kids are doing it. Now, the “cool” teachers are too! Yes, teachers are using it for the same things that the kids are: staying in touch with friends, keeping up with all the gossip, etc. But these folks are using it in class too! How wacky is that?

Now, I have a rule in the school library: NO FACEBOOK!!!!!!! But I find myself bending that rule more and more often. It used to be that we didn’t allow YouTube either but there is some really good material out there on YouTube. I have YouTube to thank for getting me out of a bind last summer when I had to learn an obscure Bolivian conga drum pattern in short order.

Facebook is still a harder sell for me. Outside of the occasional teacher who will post team practice schedules or homework assignments on Facebook, I don’t see a lot of curricular use for Facebook. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love to hear about someone putting Facebook to good use in the classroom. Really, I would.

Now, having said that, there are a number of other platforms out there that take the social networking model and put it to very good educational use. I have used Ning sites to get my jazz ensembles listening to jazz and talking about what they are hearing. Incidently, the most popular use for it is to embed YouTube videos of jazz performances. I’ve also had my ensembles all sign up for accounts on Last.fm with mixed results. Some have found it an amazingly useful tool for exploring new music, others, not so much.

I’m currently taking an online course in PBWorks and have found the collaborative aspect of the Wikis and discussion groups quite promising. Even when teachers simply use it as a way of broadcasting course information, PBWorks can be quite effective. I also have¬†limited¬†experience with Wikispaces and am using Google apps more.

Blogging also has a place in the classroom of the 21st century. I’m familiar with Blogger, MacOSX Server’s blog and wiki component and am writing this blog in WordPress.

I would be very interested in hearing from teachers who are using any of these tools. What are your preferences? Do you have any particularly unique uses for any of these tools? Any good stories about have they have worked (or not) for you?

My favourite feature of blogging is that it is a two-way discussion. Chime in with anything at all (within reason).

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