- attract students to academic programs
- connect students to campus organizations and activities
- engage students with course material in a dynamic, collaborative environment
This was my favorite part of the class so far. I am absolutely convinced that social networking is one fascinating and important tool for our academic life (therefore I am interested to write about this in our wetpaint course wiki). While, for example, I considered facebook.com, myspace.com, and twitter as a more or less “vain” websites (“these are my friends, look, how pretty and popular I am” :O)) and simply quick exchange possibilities for students, I hesitated so far to sign up. The Educause articles on Facebook I and Facebook II as well as out discussions last week in class however, helped me to see these social networks in a more academic way. It is fascinating to see other groups from a similar background and exchange, e.g. on conferences and the job market. Even if I am just “twitting” during a conference about good or bad panels…
I liked the idea of a social network for “study abroad”, as presented by Eliane DalMolin (Summer in France) on Barbara’s Facebook website in particular. In my opinion this could be a wonderful tool for students as well as a language department. In this context I am also thinking about Ed Shaw’s dissertation topic, analyzing technical tools for modern language classroom. As he suggested, it might be a wonderful idea to develop virtual networks for returning students and the exchange of experiences, pictures, comments, and so on. This might be interesting for new students as well. Thus, universities and high schools could prepare their student’s better for an exchange program and the experience of a global world. Returning students as well as new student’s could in this way benefit from these exchange experiences. Also, these presentations could help to “draw” possible future student’s into these programs. Therefore these presentations could and should be linked to social networks as myspace or facebook as well as a university’s website.
Last but not least as I read in the Educause article, it might be that future employers might check your profile there. … :O) One commenter on NPR’s “All things considered” also mentioned that she, as a high school teacher, learned a lot about her own class while visiting her student’s websites…
As I read Lefever’s descriptions concerning the differences between social networking and traditional online communities, I began to think how this instrument could be used in our field. Some very basic questions popped into my mind: if we were to create a social networking page for one of our classes, can we LEGALLY oblige our students to take part or are there matters of privacy that could prevent this (given the interconnectivity of the displayed member profile)? If SN entails “explicit links to those members who have chosen to join the group” – the keyword clearly being chosen – one student’s refusal to join for any reason whatsoever would unravel the whole bundle. Also, I would imagine that the creation of new pages for new classes should not be a problem; however would it be possible to create an archive of previous class pages and, again, would it be necessary to have the students sign off on such an archive (assuring its existence even after their graduation)? Furthermore, it seems to me that in order for it to be an effective didactic tool, and avoid the “lurking” that Lefever mentions, we would have to require an active participation in discussions of all class students – pending a passing grade – thereby resulting in “an identity.” Yet, doesn’t the sentence “social networking enables the creation of identity in the community without participation in discussion” nullify SN as a tool for teaching, by removing the requirement for participation? The interconnectivity Lefever posits – from rock climbing to kayaking – is fascinating from a personal point of view but I fail to see how this specific aspect of SN could be beneficial to us as language teachers, unless the string of connections were to lead to a language or cultural forum or website (granted, we could create these connections ourselves beforehand).
Renato on Facebook.
I read the article 7 Things You Should Know About Facebook and I was appalled by its superficiality and, yes, let me say, stupidity. Two, in particular, the ideas that struck me in a very wrong way. The first: ” Facebook has the potential to teach students about appropriate citizenship on the online world.” Well, thank you Facebook for teaching our students how to post picture of parties and being drunk. About the Netiquette there are better ways to learn it, starting with email etiquette. How many students starts their email to professors with “Hey.” If there is one thing that FB teaches our students is how to be approximative, superficial and how to create fake images of themselves. The case of Angela studying in Budapest seems so fantastic and unreal that I really believe it is invented. But, as we know, that’s the general problem with the net where we are never sure we are chatting or emailing to a 23 years students, or someone who is wasting our time.
Second quote, and this is even worse: FB is “drawing them [the students] in to an online world where they spend countless hours browsing profiles, meeting new people, and exploring relationshipp” (italic and bold are mine). I think the editor of the article spent countless hours on the Internet and he/she got few surviving neurons to rely upon. Apart that the “countless hours” are spent uselessly doing just nothing (instead of reading or studying or researching), but what kind meeting he/she is talking about? He/she even contradicts the him/herself because just before he/she said that we are never sure about the identities. So we meet new people, meaning we don’t know who they really are and so they are new?
But the last line… “exploring relationship”… ok I will stop here!