Social Networks in the Classroom
Social Networking Sites (SNSs) such as Facebook are one of the latest examples of communications technologies that have been widely-adopted by students and, consequently, have the potential to become a valuable resource to support their educational communications and collaborations with faculty (Roblyer, McDaniel, Webb, Herman, Witty 2010). The widespread use of SNS makes everyday living a lot easier. I think about the difference between life as I knew it 10 years ago, and at times I wonder how I made it without these sites.
I believe that Facebook could be a very integral part of enhancing adult education because of the various uses it offers. Not only are we able to connect with each other through the site, but we can create private groups that only classmates can access for interaction. It can also be a tool for those students who may be in different countries and are unable to call their classmates due to fees and charges; using Facebook to interact will eliminate that issue. However, this could also create a problem. A friend of mine teaches in China, and she told me that Facebook is banned in certain parts of China, as well as other countries. This is where other SNS may need to come in. A comparison of faculty and student responses indicate that students are much more likely than faculty to use Facebook and are significantly more open to the possibility of using Facebook and similar technologies to support classroom work. Faculty members are more likely to use more “traditional” technologies such as email (Roblyer, et al., 2010).
What is Ning
I don’t want my students limited to only one site to interact with one another. Ning is another good site for students to utilize. In fact, a lot of teachers and administrators are already pretty far down the road to making Ning a valued part of their practice, including not just students and teachers but parents and community members as well (Richardson, 2010). One of the things that Ning brings to the table are the ability to have virtual classrooms, develop your own mobile apps, customize your own HTML pages, as well as the ability to add multiple blogs. The list goes on and on. However one of the down falls is that it will cost a fee. Some student’s may shy away from that. As an educator I think this can be a good thing because people tend to appreciate the things they have to pay for. Which means, you will have a greater chance of students behaving appropriate on the site, and using it for its intended purpose. One of the main reasons why I would want to use Ning in the classroom is because teachers who create Ning sties have total administrative control over who can gain access to the site and, to some degree, the extent of their participation there (Richardson, 2010).