Posted by: Jill Spencer | May 17, 2013

Social Networking–It Does Not Stand Still!

“Hmmm,” I thought, “I wonder what’s new in social networking?”  I’m preparing for an adult ed class on this topic next week and decided I better do a little research on the latest sites.  Oh my goodness, there is a lot going on! First I just searched “new social networking sites” and found these two articles:

I recognized several of the sites listed (Instagram & Pinterest), but the others were all new to me.  It is abundantly clear we need to be actively working with students to help them learn to manage their digital lives.  They have so many options or some say distractions to choose from that can potentially suck up their time that might be spent on school work or community projects or pursuing an interest beyond the internet. As I reviewed all of these new choices my mind went back to what several high school students have said about using digital devices in a 1:1 school.  They admitted to exploring social networking while they were supposed to be studying, but remarked that they moved beyond that habit as they realized its impact on their learning.  They each said they were glad they learned to deal with the “temptation” before they went to college. Returning college students have said the same thing — “My classmates, having access to laptops during class for the first time, don’t pay attention to the professor because they are too busy on Facebook.  I’m glad I’m past that!”  I thought that was really an important observation the kids were making; educators and parents ought to pay attention to these comments.

But back to my adult ed class on social networking.  I continued to look for more information. I follow ISTE on Facebook where I found an interesting blog post by Dean Groom entitled “Twitter and Facebook are not where kids are heading. Meet Kik and Oink.”  It’s worth a read because he summarizes the capabilities of a couple of new social networking sites including some cautions for parents and educators. “Yes. Kik is one of a number of tools like this, all of which give kids the friend-networks they crave – and lock you out of. Talking about using Twitter to the Kik-Gen will make you appear a dinosaur. Kik has no educational or pedagogical value whatsoever.” 

He is stating an opinion so it is always worth digging deeper.  I went to Common Sense Media, my go-to site for useful information on digital citizenship and social networking for kids and searched Kik.  Their recommendation is that it is age appropriate for 16 year olds and above and has little educational value.  Of course that means that every 12 year old on the planet will want to join.

So…I have some homework to do before I teach that class on social networking, and I think all of us need to be very aware that although we have mastered Facebook and Twitter that our students are out in hyper-cyberspace somewhere far ahead of us!  Being a life-long learner is no longer a nice platitude, but a sharp reality if we are going to be working with 21st century students. Great fun!

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  1. […] Some new social networking sites for parents and teachers to know about…Social Networking–It Does Not Stand Still!. […]


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