The Power of Social Media and Social Networking in Education

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The Power of Social Media and Social Networking in Education

“What is good learning? That may be a subjective question. But it’s likely that many educators would give answers that fall in the same ballpark …students collaborating and discussing ideas, possible solutions… …project-based learning, designed around real world contexts… …connecting with other students around the world, on topics of study… …immersing students in a learning experience that allows them to grapple with a problem, …gaining higher-order thinking skills from pursuing the solution…

To many educators, these notions are music to their ears. Would it seem terribly strange then to hear that students indeed are doing these things regularly outside of their classrooms? Every day, many students are spending countless hours immersed in popular technologies—such as Facebook or MySpace, World of Warcraft, or Sim City—which at first glance may seem like a waste of time, and brain cells. But these genres of technologies— Social Networking, Digital Gaming, and Simulations—deserve a second, deeper, look at what’s actually going on.”[1]

This recent whitepaper, other notable research, and studies showing students spend more than 10 hours a day using technology[2], have educators and administrators grappling with the positive power of technology versus the negative backlash we see all too often in today’s headlines.

Sexual misconduct in schools is blatantly apparent across the country, and very many cases today involve the inappropriate use of social media. This result is encouraging administrators to “ban” or restrict social media and networking. In doing so, the down side is they minimize the enormous impact technology can have in the classroom. So, the question today should be, how can we engage our students and teachers appropriately in the exciting world of learning through the use of blogs, wikis, podcasts,...
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