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Some Great Social Networking Applications for Education

Page history last edited by Roxann Nys 8 years, 11 months ago Saved with comment

If you're going to use social networking apps with students, here's some great advice to start them (and you, too!) off on the right foot: 

10 Things Your Grandmother Can Teach You About Social Media


Social Bookmarking 

Great for tracking your bookmarks when you're on different computers, sharing them with others or just for personal research, social bookmarking tools are amazing tools and are an essential part of my PLN. Here's a brief introduction to my favorite, easy (free) socialbookmarking tool, Delicious.



Another free social bookmarking tool is Diigo. Diigo allows you to bookmark, highlight and add sticky notes to your work. Like Delicious, you can create groups to pool resources, discover quality resources on any subject or get personalized recommendations, and access your findings from any web-enabled device. It also allows you to send your bookmarks and annotations to friends who use diigo and many other interesting features. This short demo video explains them:

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Here's a great video that links what Diigo can do with educational research use.



A wiki is a Web site that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own Web browser. This is made possible by Wiki software that runs on the Web server. Wikis end up being created mainly by a collaborative effort of the site visitors. A great example of a large wiki is the Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia in many languages that anyone can edit. The term "wiki" comes from the Hawaiian phrase, "wiki wiki," which means "super fast." With thousands of users adding content to a web site on a regular basis, the site could grow "super fast." (definition taken from TechTerms.com) 


There are a myriad of uses for wikis including large-scale projects, schools, classrooms, reports, presentations,  and many, many more uses that are limited only by your imagination.


Some simple guidelines and tips for using wikis in the classroom can be found in the article "A Wiki for Classroom Writing" by Brian Morgan and Richard D. Smith.


This is a good basic tutorial on YouTube for creating your first wiki using pbwiki (now pbworks.)


Two other great tools for creating wikis include WetPaint Wikis and WikiSpaces. Although there are many others available, these are some of the most popular. I've used pbworks for this wiki.


Wikipedia has a list of notable sites using the wiki format that you may find helpful.




Twitter is an important part of my PLN. I learn so much from people I "follow." Twitter is a microblogging service for you to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent, short (140 characters or less) answers to one simple question: What are you doing?


CESA 7 has its own Twitter account and so do Green Bay Schools, Denmark Schools, Sturgeon Bay Schools and Howard Suamico School District. The organizations are using Twitter as a way to connect to the community and keep them aware of what's happening in the districts.


25 Ways to Teach with Twitter

This informative article by Sonja Cole will help you understand some of the Twitter shorthand. She also shares 25 ways that teachers can use Twitter to ask for help, get lesson plan ideas, book and professional resource recommendations, connect with other professionals, and even host an online book club. 


Twitter Shorthand for Beginners

Part of an online blogging class at LVS. The instructor does a wonderful job of explaining all the # @ RT and D's you will see when you use Twitter.


A good, basic video tutorial on how to get started with Twitter.


 Still struggling trying to understand how tools like Twitter might fit into learning environments? Dr. Monica Rankin, Professor of History at the School of Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas, wanted to reach more students and involve more people in class discussions both in and out of the classroom. She had heard of Twitter... She collaborated with the UT Dallas, Arts and Technology - Emerging Media and Communications (EMAC) faculty to create this experiment. The video is absolutely worth a look! Note the various ways students are tweeting.


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More more info, tutorials and other great links to Twitter information, see the Twitter section of this wiki.



Short for web logs, a blog is a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. As technology advances, what was often just text, blogs are now often enhanced with multi media including audio, photos, video and more. The main difference between a blog and a wiki is that (most often) a blog has one author, where a wiki has multiple authors. 


There are many tools that one can use to create a blog. Some of the most popular are Blogger, (now paired with Google, one of the easiest to use, in my opinion) Edublogger, "a unique combination of blogging and education", and Class Blogmeister. Created by David Warlick specifically for educators, "this free service will get you and your students blogging in no time. An added bonus to this service is that it is rarely blocked by school filters due to it’s specific safety features." Wordpress is another very popular blogging tool that is used by thousands of bloggers.


TeachingTips.com's blog has a good article entitled 50 Useful Blogging Tools for Teachers, which will be very helpful if you want to start using a blog. Another great "techtorial" as they called it is Education World's Blogging Basics.


Even if you don't want to start your own blog, blogs are a great addition to your PLN (Personal Learning Network.) Blogs usually include RSS which is a software application that allows you to subscribe to the blog. You'll get a notification each time the blog is updated. Using an RSS feed aggregator like Google Reader, or one of the other plethora of feedreaders that are available, will make it easy for you to keep tabs on your favorite bloggers. A feedreader will automatically bring all of your subscriptions to your favorite blogs to one place--no need to visit each one individually--a great time saver.


There are millions of bloggers blogging about millions of topics. How to pick your favorites? You might post a Tweet and ask those you follow about their favorites, or just google the topic you're interested in (and likely find more than you'll know what to do with!) Here is one good list of education/technology-related blogs that I found created by OnlineEducationDatabase.org,  and another put together by Kathy Schrock, a leader in ed-tech, but each list is personal, so you'll need to explore a bit to find which blogs will best help keep you in the know.


Some of my favorites? Definitely Kathy Schrock's KaffeeKlatsch, Ian Jukes' CommittedSardine, Karl Fisch's FischBowl, Tony Vincent's LearningInHand, Will Richardson's Weblogg-ed, Kim Cofino's AlwaysLearning, Wes Fryer's MovingAtTheSpeedofCreativity, TheInfiniteThinkingMachine, David Warlick's 2CentsWorth, and Steve Dembo's Teach42. However, my blog reading list changes almost on a daily basis with the suggestions of my Twitter PLN!




Yes, the one you've heard so much about, is now in use by districts, schools, teachers, groups, clubs,  as well as by business and industry and other organizations. Tip for schools: you might want to consider creating a "Fan" page instead of a "Friend" page. There are some differences:  Fan pages are indexed by Google, so they can be a good marketing tool. You don't have to have a profile on FB to see Fan Pages (where with Friend page...people have to be a friend to get your updates) so you can include your Fan page address on your marketing materials and drive more visitors there.  Also, there is no fan limit on Fan Pages (5000 limit on Friend page).

Some FaceBook Resources for you:


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"


  A private social platform for teachers and students to share ideas, files, events and assignments. Initially founded in September of 2008 by Jeff O’Hara and Nic Borg, makes an impact internationally by helping teachers and students communicate and collaborate with one another using a next generation social learning platform. Members are able to share ideas, files, events and assignments in a virtual setting. Since publicly launching in September 2009 more than 200,000 students and teachers have signed up for Edmodo and user registrations are rapidly increasing each month.


Here 's a short video about how teachers in Chicago are using Edmodo to motivate and engage students--even when they are not in school! (Sorry, there's a commercial first!)




"Over 40 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities

  • Stay informed about your contacts and industry

  • Find the people & knowledge you need to achieve your goals

  • Control your professional identity online"


Ning in Education (or Ning for all kinds of social networks or to start your own.)

another tool where you can start your own social network. I am a member of Classroom2.0 the social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education.



Write a collaborative book (novel, scifi, mystery, etc.) at glypho.com  How Glypho works:




is a secure K-12 network for teachers and students to collaborate and share ideas with classrooms anywhere in the world. Pricing is flexible. A single account for educators is free! For just $10 a month (or $60 a year) you can use VoiceThread with up to 100 student accounts. Here's how it works:

With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. All with no software to install. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too. Users can doodle while commenting, use multiple identities, and pick which comments are shown through moderation. VoiceThreads can even be embedded to show and receive comments on other websites and and exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as archival movies. 


Susie Goneau, a second grade teacher at Random Lake Schools in WI, uses VoiceThread on her classroom wiki to share what her students are learning in her classroom.  Here's another great example of how VoiceThread can be used for collaborative book talks. (from Pamela Sengos, Oregon School District in WI) 



The Internet's largest global community of connected classrooms! Wisconsin Connects is our state's portal to this exciting project. Safely connect, collaborate and learn using our leading protected email and blog solutions for schools and districts.


(International Education and Resource Network) is the world's largest non-profit global network that enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world. 

An example of one project: One Day

 What are you doing on November 10th? On Tuesday November 10th, students from around the world will document a day in their life with cameras, writing, and other media, as part of the ongoing iEARN project One Day in the Life. Learn more. 

Another project: Friends Book. A global project inviting students to draw images of themselves, their homes and their dreams, and then to exchange and discuss them with new project friends. By drawing themselves, we believe both young people with disabilities and without them from all over the world will make a step towards each other and help each other to overcome various barriers appearing in their lives and communities. Learn more.



A great way to connect to experts and collaborate with classrooms around the globe. On our CESA 7 website about videoconferencing you will find a basic introduction, step by step planner and links to lots of great videoconferencing resources, including my favorite, The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration


Skype is another computer based option for videoconferencing. All you need is a computer, a good Internet connection, a webcam and microphone and the Skype software (for Windows, Mac or Linux) that you can download for free. Skype is also now available for many mobile devices, including Windows Mobile


Nokia N800/N810, Skype Lite, iPhone, and Skype on PSP The video quality is not as good as using a portable Polycom (or similar) unit, but for the price, it's worth checking out. Computer to computer Skype calls are always free, but for a low fee you can also make computer to land-line phone calls with Skype and save money, especially on overseas calls.



EtherPad is the only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time. When multiple people edit the same document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on everyone's screen. The result is a new and productive way to collaborate on text documents, useful for meeting notes, drafting sessions, education, team programming, and more. Update: Google has acquired AppJet Inc. and its EtherPad collaboration product and technology. The link above will now take you to more info about this acquisition and Google's plans for it as well as to links to other Etherpad-like services. 


Ediscio- Create collaborative flashcards

On ediscio.com you can share flashcards and learn online collaboratively! * Unlimited creativity in creating flashcards: Use LaTeX-formulas, pictures, videos, text formatting, ... * Learning statistics which show you exactly what you should concentrate on * Automatic learning schedule according to the Leitner System * Version history and discussion board for any flashcard * Import and export of flashcards (CSV, XLS, Html) * Download your flashcards for offline learning (printing function) * Personal Newsfeed about all events in your learning groups and cardboxes and about what your friends do * Free and for everyone!


Be aware that there are some not so great social networking applications out there 

that you'd never want to use for education but that can be very enlightening when it comes to trying to understand how social media is being used by some. One of the most recent trends in extreme social networking that you should be aware of (especially if you have kids yourself) is "ChatRoulette." Essentially, it takes the whole "talk to strangers" to a new level. A  CBS report about it called a great deal of attention to the phenomenon and explains it well. Although obscenity seems to abound on the site and it's not one that I would feel comfortable using, you need to be aware of it. The CBS story also gives great tips for parents. A thoughtful commentary by Danah Boyd, a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society is worth reading. She questions how well we are preparing youth to deal with this wide, weird world we live in. I did check out ChatRoulette (with my webcam off) and was pretty disgusted overall...But, I had to experience it for myself so I understood what it was and how it works...


Get involved in using social networking/social media tools! Perhaps you've had some of the same thoughts at the beginning of this video?


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