This is an excellent article for educators thinking about using social networking in their schools for academic purposes. It talks about data and trends as well as providing possible resources available on the internet.
Taken from: T.H.E. Journal
ViewpointBy Patricia Deubel
In July 2007, the National School Board Association published results of three surveys regarding social networking, which included 9- to 17-year-olds, parents, and school district leaders in charge of Internet policy. While it came as no surprise that 52 percent of all districts interviewed prohibited any use of social networking sites in school, an interesting result with implications for schools was that "almost 60 percent of students who use social networking talk about education topics online and, surprisingly, more than 50 percent talk specifically about schoolwork" (NSBA, 2007, p. 1). The NSBA also found that schools and especially parents have strong expectations about the positive roles that social networking could play in students' lives, and both are interested in social networking as a tool.
With this in mind, one has to wonder why social networking has not been leveraged more in schools to enhance the education of youth. A quick answer would have to do with ensuring their online safety, which has posed a challenge to schools, as well as the typical issues surrounding introduction of any innovation. Such issues include factors that teachers can not easily influence or alter: research and policy factors and factors inherent to technology itself, and those factors that they can influence: district/school factors such as culture, factors associated with teachers' and students' beliefs, attitudes, experience, technology skills, and so on, and the technology-enhanced project itself (Groff & Mouza, 2008, cited in Klopfer, Osterweil, Groff, & Haas, 2009, p. 16).
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