Fran Smith explains social networks as, “software that allows people to come together around an idea or topic of interest. A school could use software to bring together anyone who's writing about politics, computing or Greek literature.”
The world is changing, we use the internet more frequently to gather information and collaborate with peers. Schools need to keep up to date with the ever changing world – including the World Wide Web. Social networks are increasingly popular and students need to be taught effective ways of collaborating responsibly. Social networking can have enormous benefits in the academic world. “Too often, schools use computers as little more than glorified workbooks, and that's criminal,” says Chris Lehmann, principal of Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy in the article, How to Use Social-Networking Technology for Learning. Unfortunately, I see this in my own experience traveling to different schools and classrooms. The readings this week mentioned administrators having to facilitate change with social networks, I completely agree. One teacher can try to do it, but it's difficult to sustain. Administrators have to set the tone for the whole school community, and they have to give teachers time, freedom to learn, experiment, and implement.
Using social networking within the classroom keeps students all connected to each other, giving them easy ways to work with together and share timelines, collaborate on projects, and form study groups. Social networks are and continue to become part everyday life. It is vital for teachers to stay connected to social networks to motivate students to create/participate in activities and projects to build their content skills and computer skills. As with any online tool, teaching student responsibility is key.