Social Networking Sites and Teaching

November 11, 2008

In his October 4, 2008 blog entitled Facebook – an educational resource? , Doug Johnson writes “Schools DO need to teach safety and privacy with all social networking tools. If we don’t, who will?” If I was still a grade 3-8 classroom teacher I think I would set up a Ning. What a great way to teach safe and appropriate use of social networking for grades 3-8 in a safe, moderated and meaningful setting (students aren’t supposed to be on Facebook until they’re 14 anyway!) Classroom projects and assignments, resources, questions, discussions and reflections could be collected into one advertisement-free Ning.

For younger students I’d start with using the activities and resources from Kids in the Know to teach safe and appropriate internet use for younger students. This is a program supported by The Winnipeg School Division. I’d set up a classroom Twitter community for grade 1 or 2 students. When I was a grade 1 and 2 classroom teacher I would spend countless hours preparing nifty little paper booklets in a variety of motivating styles and shapes to keep the students interest in writing. It would take a lot less time and be even more motivating to students to set up a monitored Twitter network for classroom collections of writings and reflections on the occasional classroom topic or theme using school division e-mail addresses and passwords that the teacher will also know. It would be easy for a teacher to pre-teach expectations, monitor and intervene if inappropriate comments appear. Teachers could also monitor outside activity and teach students about online safety should outsiders choose to follow.

For senior high and adult students – I say let’s get all the social networking sites unblocked and allow students to use them in authentic ways for learning. So what if their private and personal lives intersect with their academic learning now and then? It’s still an engaging way to enhance literacy skills and it’s helped me lighten up and enjoy my journey into Web 2.0 a little more than I would have otherwise.

When I just reviewed my I realized it’s partly a journal of my journey into Web 2.0 over the past several weeks. I then realized that Twitter would be a fabulous tool for students to use as a starter for a journal or reflection journal when they’re working through an inquiry project.

Educational administrators and educators need to embrace social networking tools and capitalize on their popularity and potential for education – not ban them!

Listen to this blog courtesy of


All a’twitter for Twitter

November 11, 2008

I’ll admit it – I’m all a’twitter for Twitter. Check out my journey with Twitter at .

I’m following these famous Web 2.0 people on Twitter: Helene Blowers, David Warlick, Joyce Valenza, Terry Freedman, Vicki Davis, Kathy Schrock, Darren Kuropatwa, Donna DesRoches, Lee LeFever (creator of the common craft videos), Doug Johnson, Jack Layton and the perhaps the most prolific Twitterer in my Twitter network on the evening of the US election – Will Richardson. Some of them are even following me! I even received a personal response from Terry Freedman once on Twitter.

In Buffy Hamilton’s Blog about Twitter: she comments that through Twitter can you feel you are “rubbing shoulders with the stars at a Hollywood party.”

I’m also following Youtube, Diigo, Wikispaces, Manitoba Museum and K-12online updates on Twitter.

In my previous post I described my community of communities and how they are related. I started following Donna DesRoches on Twitter after she wrote
at 3:23pm on February 16th, 2008 in our Facebook Groups: Librarians and Web 2.0:

Twitter please! If you are not already part of the twitter network please think of joining. I am very connected to an educational technology community but would love to be in more immediate and direct communication with teacher-librarians. My twitter name is donnadesroches.

I got a comment from bookwyrmish, a teacher in Pennsylvania on my blog a couple of weeks ago, probably because she Googled herself and found that I had referenced her in my blog about Delicious. She must have found my link to Twitter on my blog and now we’re following each other.

Twitter has helped me keep up-to-date on other Web 2.0 applications. When I was having technical difficulties with recording sound on my laptop at work on Voicethreads, I recalled Joyce Valenza’s tweet on Twitter “Has anyone had problems with VoiceThread not recording sound? I can no longer record with new desktops. We tested everything.” 3:55 PM Oct 14th from web. This didn’t lead me to the solution to my problem, but made me realize that if someone else was having difficulties I shouldn’t feel bad and decided to simply use the workstations that were working with recording sound in VoiceThread instead of spending time on advanced troubleshooting.

I watched the Election 2008 Twitters roll in on the eve of the US election – there was a special twitter set up stating “We’re filtering hundreds of Twitter updates per minute to create a new source for gathering public opinion about the election and a new way for you to share your thoughts.” I copied and pasted the following approx. 10 seconds of the scrolling list, all of which I found very illuminating:

ebarrera Avionetazo en Periferico y Reforma? Gobierno de SLP? Pensé que habia sido el de McCain… less than 5 seconds ago

ZakNormandin Like it or not, looks like Obama is going to be the next President. less than a minute ago

Yanwoo So far, so good. Still a long way to go, but quietly confident America will make the right choice and choose Obama less than a minute ago

davidmturner has failed to keep up then. Obama 3 – McCain 8? That’s old news! less than a minute ago

JxnFreePress Exit polls: 17% white vote for Obama in MIssissippi. less than a minute ago

MicheleMT MSNBC says 75% of whites in NC said race was not a factor…24% said it was, 30% of them still voted Obama. less than a minute ago

Mario_AM Obama por delante en Texas less than a minute ago

Sedana Me: 77 to 34? Obama is so going to lose. ;D My sister: …his glasses! My sister: when he’s old! I’m ashamed of my heritage. less than a minute ago

vivaciousv1114 It’s all looking very promising for Obama so far. 😀 less than a minute ago

thecitydesk ALERT- JOE BIDEN HAS KEPT HIS DELAWARE SENATE SEAT. It is his safety school. less than a minute ago

cooldeadsex Mccain said the mac is back lmao less than a minute ago

Charles_ah_um just got a #robocall reminding me to vote for McCain. “Don’t let the democrats steal this election.” 1-866-558-2875. Shall we call? less than a minute ago

circulating Unofficial Election Results McCracken County (home) with 53 of 54 precincts counted McCain & Palin R lead Obama & Biden D by only 130 votes less than a minute ago

ashdanz I voted. Go Obama! less than a minute ago

stephanieho 51% obama 48% mccain IN TEXAS!!! MY VOTE DID SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! less than a minute ago

mistersnappy OK, I’m off to bed. Happy Obama Day everyone! less than a minute ago

BryanKuhn bodega is throwing an obama party, complete with projection tv for results. less than a minute ago

gomi321 watching the election results. crossing my fingers for an obama win less than a minute ago

instruisto @claytonmorris That was the only big state McCain was expected to win. If Obama takes Texas McCain can go ahead and concede. less than a minute ago

emelex I swear if mccain wins va i’m going to kill some of my friends less than a minute ago

There was a similar Twitter with just as interesting scrolling comments the night of the Canadian election.

Here is a list of twitter-related links posted by the highly reknowned and recently retired Marg Stimson of our Manitoba School Library listserv:

After adding my name to the Library Media Specialist list on the Twitter for Teachers Wiki listed directly above, my Twitter network more than doubled.

I see myself keeping up with the “Who’s who?” and “What’s new?” in Web 2.0 with the help of Twitter for a long and happy time.

Listen to this post courtesy of

Social Networking: A Community of Communities

November 11, 2008

I took the title of this post from Bud Hunt and his K-12online08 podcast “The Lie of Community: The True Nature of the Network” of October 31, 2008. Bud pointed out that there is not one online community, but a community of communities. You start following people with similar interests, then follow their followers until you’re all following the same people.

This phenomenon led Dennis Richard to aptly describe it as “the echo chamber that is Web 2.0”. (“There’s Something Going on Here You Need to Know About… “ by Dennis Richards and Charlene Chausis, K-12 Online08 Audio Channel, October 31, 2008)

This is me in my current online social networking community of communities: bubblus_social_networking

I used the free online tool to create the above graphic. I probably should have added more arrows to demonstrate how interconnected the above networking sites are, so please imagine a shifting, 3 dimensional web of connections between all of the above.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter where we meet, chances are we’ll meet again so please join me in Facebook by following the link below – or click on my Twitter feed on the left sidebar and join me there. (More about my true feelings about Twitter in my next blog!)

facebook-imageFacebook me!

( CNET news reported November 3rd that Facebook membership surged to over 120 Million Users!120 million people can’t be all wrong!)

Listen to this Post Courtesy of