Social Networking Sites

Social Networking Sites offer classroom teachers the opportunity to connect with experts and scholars and to bring depth and perspective to their teaching. Teachers can use these sites to tap into a wealth of ideas and to share theirs with other educators.

GREAT SITES FOR TEACHERS:
Google Tools (Docs, Reader)
Diigo Social Bookmarking
Twitter: Here's a "Quick Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Professional Development."
Skype for Education
Classroom 2.0
Lesson Planet
BSN (Blended Schools Network)
Keystone Commons

STUDENTS CAN USE THEM, TOO
Social networking also offers students the opportunity to work together, to create personal learning networks, and to tap into a wealth of resources as well as to involve experts and scholars in their learning. The environment is authentic; there is a real audience for their work. Students begin to realize there are resources to support their inquiry beyond teachers, books, and websites. They learn to frame questions, work collaboratively, and develop solutions based on a global approach.

A WORD OF CAUTION: There will be a day very soon when use of these tools becomes very commonplace. However, since the use of such tools involves allowing students to post their ideas and thoughts, and to connect online with others, they must be taught how to use them correctly. Examples of good use vs. inappropriate use must be given. Consequences for inappropriate use must be communicated and enforced. TEACHER INVOLVEMENT IN THE SITE AND CAREFUL SUPERVISION OF ALL STUDENT ACTIVITY IS ESSENTIAL. Student account creation must be managed in a way that protects the student's identity. Finally, parents should be informed of your project, and it is advisable that they be invited to participate online so they can help monitor their child's activity. Be prepared with an alternative for students whose parent does not want him/her to participate in the online activity. If you'd like help in setting up your project to avoid potential issues, contact Kathy Fiedler. *GENERAL RULE OF THUMB: IF THE DISTRICT IS PROVIDING YOU WITH A TOOL THAT SERVES THE SAME PURPOSE, USE IT, RATHER THAN A SOCIAL MEDIA SITE. (Example: Use district email, teacher website, or the Parent Portal to communicate with parents, rather than facebook, etc.)

Some tools have been designed specifically for educational use, and allow teachers to set privacy settings and to monitor all student activity. These sites are most preferable for the obvious reason that there is less of a likelihood of student misuse or involvement by individuals not authorized by the teacher. It is still important to provide appropriate supervision of students' online activity.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES DEVELOPED SPECIFICALLY FOR EDUCATION:
Keystone Commons
Edmodo
ePals
Google Apps for Education

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES STUDENTS CAN USE (WITH TEACHER SUPERVISION AND SETUP)
Wikispaces
Twitter
Diigo Social Bookmarking
Shelfari
Wikipedia
Study Blue
and others!

!00 INSPIRING WAYS TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN EDUCATION**
http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/05/100-inspiring-ways-to-use-social-media-in-the-classroom/