Social Networking in the Classroom

            This week in class we have been discussing the inclusion of social networking technologies into the learning environment to provide students the opportunity for greater connection between one another and those outside the classroom. In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, many types of technology were discussed, ranging from Google Docs and Microsoft Publisher to Sid Meyer’s Civilization series of PC games and WebQuest design. Technologies such as these can have a profound effect on students. The 21st century student, at least in my school community, is incredibly tech savvy. Whenever I incorporate technology into a lesson, whether a PowerPoint presentation with video and audio or the development of a classroom wiki page about Shakespeare, student engagement is dramatically increased along with group cooperation.  Since my students are so technologically sophisticated, the incorporation of technologies that they are generally familiar with, but used academically, can greatly increase their cooperative learning and overall understanding of the subject being discussed.

            I have always strived to create a classroom that is student-centered and engaging to each individual. The tools described in the reading allow me to not only engage my students with technology but provide an avenue for them to learn cooperatively and socially. Since the primary foundation of social learning theory is that students and people create knowledge through the exposure of multiple cultures and various environments, by placing technological tools into the hands of students that can connect them to diverse ideas and peoples, my students will have a greater opportunity to develop and retain knowledge. Similar to the experience my students will have when they graduate high school and move on to college (a new environment populated by diverse peoples with unique life experiences learning together collaboratively) the inclusion of technologies that give my students that opportunity in middle school and throughout their high school careers will better prepare them for the further advanced education and help them to better retain the knowledge gained during their time with me.

            Overall, I personally find social networking technologies to be the wave of the future for education and every other fact of our lives. As I grew up in the formative years of the social networking world (instant messaging, facebook, MySpace, etc) I have seen first hand how they can assist in an individual’s education. I know that my students will benefit greatly from these technological tools presented and that I will become a better educator as I strive to develop lessons that use these tools as a way to help my students achieve success.

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4 Responses to “Social Networking in the Classroom”

  1. rebeccagreen Says:

    I appreciate the way you acknowledge the importance of social learning in addition to academic learning. Students in their middle school and high school years are still developing their social skills. As you noted, this ability, if properly accrued, will be extremely helpful in their further studies and interactions later in life. Students need to be taught how to learn properly in a group as well as correct social interactions for many different situations. Providing the students with many opportunities for collaborative learning will help them to develop these skills under the guidance of their teachers. Students need to understand that there is etiquette to group communications and e-mails just as there are to eating a dinner and welcoming guests into your home. If teachers are not willing to take the time involved in teaching these skills, our students will be at a loss for the appropriate workplace interactions.

  2. juliejm Says:

    I agree that social networking technologies are the wave of the future. Look at the classes we are taking- we are using a type of social networking technology right now! I find it fascinating to be participating in a class with people who are all over the world, don’t you? Since I am learning so much from people from around the country and the world, I believe that I am seeing first hand how students (especially my middle school students) will learn from social networking technologies. I believe, as you do, that this experience is making me a better educator as I am seeing first hand what I need to do to help my students achieve success!

  3. You mentioned Sid meyers Civlization, great game BTW. I actually have my studenst play age of empires against one another for a few days. They learn how they need to set up a civilization, hwo they evolve and what it takes to be successful. They students can also discuss with one another, become allies, etc. They are able to discuss with eahc otehr strategy to become even more of a power. The studenst love it, even though they are playing a game they are learning. Is that what we all want, stduents to have fun while learning???

  4. Shannon Jones Says:

    Social networking is the wave of the future. Technology has nade such an advancement in the last few years that I can only imagine what the next few years will be like. I think allowing students to use technology and networking is only to their benefit. Technology is used in so many jobs and will only keep advancing as these children get older. The school that I work at is a Title I school so are fortunate of the extra fundings and being able to use them on technology and other resources that would not normally be available to the students in the school.

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