• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.


Social Networking and PLN's: Helping you meet digital students' needs

Page history last edited by Roxann Nys 9 years, 6 months ago Saved with comment

Cartoon used with permission of Snaggy and GeekCulture.com


Yes, there can be serious consequences when social networking sites/tools aren't used thoughtfully. When I posted a FaceBook query about what to tell you about social networking, here are a few of the good tips my FB friends shared:

Kurt: stay away from the applications on the social networks as they almost all change your privacy agreement and gather information about you. Pay attention.

Nancy: Don't forget current employers reading things about you that could cause you to lose your job.

Ryan: In seven days I went from hating the idea of social networking and swearing I'd never get involved to being addicted. (You may want to put yourself on a social networking diet!)


Just what is social networking? Social networking focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.


Watch this short but informative video from CommonCraft to get a basic introduction:


Fliqz has shut down their service. To access this video, email support with this video id: b83ebcb20508435dbf79e958a04ab42e



Why are we so drawn to social networking? In his book, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long, David Rock says:

"If you were a wolf, large parts of your brain would be devoted to getting resources directly from the wild. You would have complex maps for interacting with the physical landscape, like maps for sniffing out a distant meal and others for finding your way home in the dark. As a human, especially when young, you get your resources not from the wild, but from other people. Because of this, large amounts of your brain "real estate" is devoted to the social world. If you work in an office, you could probably close your eyes and describe ten people around you, how important they are in relation to each other and to you, how they feel today, whether they can be trusted, and how many favors any of them might owe you. Your memories of your social interconnections are vast.

This vast social network, the one in our heads,  is activated when we go to a social media site and we [feel rewarded]." This may help explain the huge popularity and explosion of social networking sites.


Millions of users (and yes, educators!) are finally beginning to see how they can enhance their own (and their students') learning. I continue to add bookmarks to various sites/tools that I've discovered to my Delicious account, so check it out from time to time to see what's out there.


Is social media just a passing fad?

Scott McLeod doesn't think so. H presented to NEA at their national conference about the changing information landscape.  Technology is changing what it means to be social. We all have a voice, we are all hyper-connected. In our schools we need to understand that we are not immune from what is impacting the rest of the world.


Erik Qualman also doesn't think so. Erik is the Global Vice President of Online Marketing for EF Education, headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland. With more than 26,000 employees in 53 countries, EF Education is the world's largest private educator.


His book "Socialnomics: How Social Media has changed the way we live and do business" was released from Wiley Publishing in August 2009. Qualman is a frequently requested speaker within the Internet and marketing community and also maintains a social media blog at www.socialnomics.net.

Here's a video he created explaining why social networking and social media are here to stay:


Original source of the video

A list of the statistics listed in the video.


Another interesting video, posted on the Educator's PLN by Tom Whitby, shares some recent data on students' use of social networking and challenges us to consider how we might use social networking tools in the classroom:



This representation of social networking and Web2.0 Tools lists many of the most popular sites and what they are primarily used for. It is available as a poster from ConversationPrism.com for $20 (includes S&H.) View it larger or order it online at the company's website.





Why do we need to bother teaching ourselves to use social networking tools? Is it just because it's "what kids are doing?" Consider the following video produced by students at Stillwater High School in Minnesota:


Fliqz has shut down their service. To access this video, email support with this video id: 6b6d3f1d93b8449eb280fd0a1d409d83

FaceBook and Twitter are quickly becoming powerful marketing tools for businesses and employers are wanting (and expecting) to be able to hire tech saavy people. What are we doing in our schools to help our students get hired?


Resources and Research 

(many thanks to Dena Brudecki, Plymouth Schools)


How to Use Social Networks for Education


Some GREAT advice to give to students (and some many adults can use as well):

10 Things Your Grandmother Can Teach You About Social Media


Just a few ideas from teachers and library media specialists

  • set up a site on MySpace or Facebook for their classroom or school library media center for students and parents to access resources and information
  • see what topics students are discussing
  • keep students focused on work
  • share information about school library media services
  • share information and ideas with other professionals
  • request help and/or learn from professional colleagues
  • share what they are reading with colleagues, parents and students
  • host videos, photos and discussions with colleagues, teachers, and/or students
  • learn about social networking
  • keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues in other schools and districts
  • work on professional association committees
  • teach students about social networks
  • teach students about Internet safety
  • teach parents about social networking and safety issues
  • teach teachers about social networking and how they can use them
  • provide a collaborative workspace for students' multimedia projects
  • provide a collaborative workspace for teacher/lms work
  • communicate with students (in a professional manner!)
  • provide a virtual meeting and sharing place for clubs
  • find new things for students to read based on what they like to read
  • find new things for professional reading and personal reading
  • collaborate with colleagues who have similar interests worldwide
  • store related things together: videos, photos, articles, RSS feeds, etc. by curriculum area, teacher, or research topic 


"Educational Networking" 

Steve Hargadon's wiki, where he and other educators share ideas for the use of social networking technologies for educational purposes. Because the phrase "social networking" can carry some negative connotations for educators, the phrase "educational networking" may be a way of more objectively discussing the pedagogical value of these tools. The original URL for this site (http://socialnetworksined.wikispaces.com) still works, but http://www.EducationalNetworking.com is now the main URL.


Here is part of a presentation by Steven Anderson during SimpleK-12's EdTech UNconference where he explains how his PLN made a difference to him and his students.

Sneak Peek: Personal Learning Networks from SimpleK12 on Vimeo.


Many college campuses are using Facebook to connect with students and to connect students to students. Read about "5 Friendly Ways to Use Facebook in Your Teaching"




Some Great Social Networking Applications for Education


Internet Safety Resources


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