Social Networking in Education is beginning to Boom?

So is Social Networking finally catching on within secondary schools as a valid means of communication and collaboration between students? Probably not, but there is definitely many more projects that seems to be underway even if most of the writing and research is about what might happen rather than actual what is practically happening.

EdublogThe Edublog Awards has now began to include a section related to the Best Educational Use of A Social Networking Service, although of the five nominees none are actually using as a learning tool with students. I do not mean that remark to denigrate the work and the innovation of using the NING social networking tool as a way to bring teachers together to share resources but it almost seems like yet more missed opportunities.

However it is interesting to see that the Kingswear Primary School is trying to bring both teachers, students and parents together along with the fact that obviously NING is the application tool of choice due to its flexibility and ease of setup. It seems that NING has also made the decision to allow any network created within their application that is educationally based to go advert free.

But you ask, what of my recent endeavours to begin the use of social networking as a teaching and learning tool at my recent school. Well after the usual time to convince and get the filters turned off for such a website, I have found that after technical resistance follows teacher resistance. As usual a teachers’ role is often so busy that the idea of using a new fangled social networking tool that might take away from what is happening, a particular subjects coverage, is a shall we say a very adventurous one. Ideas of continuing in using a social network as a L2 support tool, seem to be disappearing although an idea has come up to support the IB Theory of Knowledge element of the course through a social network? Might be an interesting idea as the ToK element of the IB can often leave students cold, and it is all about conversation and being able to critical think their ways around particular issues? An idea anyway, to play around with.

So is social networking beginning to take route and boom within secondary schools well obviously no – and even if as said above there does seem to be significant moves towards beginning to use and discuss their use. While the educational world is still more concerned and probably rightly with the dangers of social networking it will not be able to embrace such a technology.