Social Networks, Web 2.0 and Schools

Schoolboards: net dangers over-rated; bring social networks to school By David Cassel

The internet isn’t as dangerous as people think, and teachers should let students use social networks at school.

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This article was posted on an education mailing list that I’m part of. I think it brings up many issues.

I can see the issue from two perspectives: I am, relatively, young and am part of the social networking generation and I am embarking on a career as a teacher, so feel I can see parts of these issues from both perspectives.

First off, this is based on a new study funded by Microsoft, News Corporation, and Verizon; all corporations who have a vested interest in promoting social networking.

Internet access in schools has always been an issue, I was in high school during the 90s when schools first got internet access, it was, and still is, protected by filtering software. This filtering software is never perfect, for example students were unable to access asx.com.au, the site of the Australian Stock Exchange, for the schools network. Teachers have a duty of care over their students, so I fully understand why schools and the authorities that run them have been so reluctant and cautious about internet access within schools. Within the physical bounds of the school, the kids are students who have to obey the school rules and the teachers have legal responsibility over them, I would include the schools network as part of the school. The school is accountable for what is in the school. Social network sites like myspace and facebook are obviously not part of the school’s network so the school have no jurisdiction over how students communicate.

I am personally a big fan of this whole web 2.0 thing. I check facebook (many times) every day. Do I think schools should be giving students access to likes myspace and facebook during school time? … may be not. Within a year in many, but not all, school students will be access these kinds of sites via mobile phone any way. I do think that web technologies need to play a part in schools. The most valuable web technology, I can see are wikis, I can see wikis being used as very effective collaborative tools and making students aware of these web tools. The use of wikis, blogs etc, within or outside, schools by young people will make them more web savvy, and I think that is what we want for people for whom the web is playing large part in their lives, so that they will act sensibly online as well as offline and it seems that most young people are.

Since I started this blog post, over a week ago, I have found two other related posts

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