The rise of social media has allowed people to connect with like-minded individuals, stay in contact, and discover things that are distant. Developing connections can be useful, more important for some and irrelevant for others, different strokes, and has begun to infiltrate different areas such as work places and educational institutions. There has been much controversy on the topic with valid points coming from both arguing sides.
However, the boundries set in a professional environments have structure, formality, and, more importantly, respect that are (or atleast supposed to be) adhered to on a regular basis. For some people these boundries can deteriorate once online interation on socaial networks (e.g. Twitter, MySpace, Facebook) are established. Weighing the risks and the benefits indicated here the dabate on whether the implication and wide spread use of social networks in school is being debated.
What's your take on the issue? Do you currently use social networks? Let us know.
As a professional educator I am convinced that "boundries" are absolutely essential. I would NEVER "friend" a student on Facebook but, after discovering this service (NING), I might consider running a "class" in reality & on-line at the same time. I beleive in manners and respect (an old-school belief), to my children I am "dad," my friends may use my first name, I prefer my students and people I don't know to call me Mr. Madsen. Familiarity breeds contempt.
I use social networking and I am expanding how I use it, my experience so far:
* Facebook - friends & relatives, people who are (or were) in my social circles during my life; won't "friend" anyone I don't know directly (won't add friend-of-friend unless referal comes too)
* Linked-In - professional network, former colleagues I've had direct experience working with and whom I respect in their professional behavior / career path; occassional (but rare) overlap with Facebook friends; have used for job searching
* Ning - new to this service; private network option is wonderful! Member of my Corporate Library Group (nationwide spread so this is ideal for us) happy to apply "limits" to who joins & when
I can't see expanding my social networking too extensively because I am not a fan of multiple-multitasking and, frankly, I like to "unplug" and enjoy reality without an electronic tether... For all the "immediacy" of current business practice, unless the field is medicine, most stuff is simply "not that important"
I totally agree with everything in the article; it's very good advice for all teachers. I personally recommend that teachers create their own network, sort of like we do here at Ning, specifically for their classroom with a clear set of guidelines and objectives. As far as Facebook or MySpace is concerned, I feel that teachers, or any professional for that matter, should consider what they share on these sites as public domain, because essentially it is.
I agree that teachers should have certain boundaries when it comes to social networking with their students. NING is a great place to keep that balance without getting too personal whereas websites like Facebook can provide too much information about yourself and your students that you may not want to share with each other. However, NING also has it downsides with sometimes inappropriate advertising (NING Unsuitable for Education). Have you or your students ever come across anything like that?
While I do not allow any students who are under 18 and ungraduated to friend me on facebook or myspace, nor do I allow them to follow me on Twitter, I do have an account through www.quizlet.com where I put up practice sets for Latin vocabulary for my students. They also have accounts and I am able to monitor their diologue with each other with me and each other. They must also send me a message to join my groups in order to see the practice pages, so students are the only ones allowed on the site. This creates a safe environment that still has a social part to it, as there is a message board on the website as well. If a student misbehaves on the website or uses foul language, they are immediately barred from the site and not allowed back on without a note from their parents that they will be watched from home when using the site. I love being able to talk to students from the previous schools I have worked in through this site and they still use it to create their own problem sets, so they are able to continue studying and I am able to keep up with them as well!