Tools 2: Social Networking Sites
Social Networking –
  • Dominating applications (ie. Facebook). Facebook, My friend map.
  • Danah Boyd & Nicole Ellison. SNS sites shift from topics of interests to people.
  • Danah Boyd – key researcher on social networking – blog @
  • New forms of socialising, countering the hype (social & educational advantages)
  • PLN’s, PLE’s and e. portfolios underpinned by SNS principles.
  • SNS have had a profound impact on the architecture of the web.
  • Mark Granovetter – Weak Ties (1970’s) wider networks rather than close networks more likely to put you in touch with connections to support your development
  • SNS sites now making these weak ties more manifest, foundations of PLN, PLE’s
  • Educational institutions (uni ofKentucky) encouraging students to check into Facebook (to create weak ties – like an alumni community)
  • Setting students up with learning networks that they can take with them into the future.
Social networking sites in Education
  • National Schools Board Survey (USA) 2007 found 50% of students were using Facebook to talk about their homework.
  • Project Tomorrow (2011) US, 46% leverage social networking sites for school projects.
  • Matt Levinson (2010), Facebook Group set up means you don’t have to friend each other (contact is ceased once you leave the group)
  • Public perceptions (ensure you have another colleague who is on the site) dangers for how teachers who are interacting with students are perceived.
  • “From Fear to Face Book” by Matt Levinson – an account of introduction of technologies into schools.
  • Dan Perkel (2008) language and literacy in composition, selection and manipulation and appropriation of profiles.
  • Guides to using Facebook – The Edublogger (Sue Waters Blog)
Different communication channels on Facebook
  • IM chat, post on the wall, email messages, photos, videos etc as well as content.
  • Discussion board and topic view
  • Set up pages or groups, don’t have to join a page as you do in a group, just join – lots of educational pages on Facebook. Can get RSS feeds from your pages (fully public)
  • UWA example of pages, other students providing answers.

Variations on Social Networking Sites:
  • Ning, was very popular but now is charging (1 year ago) You are administrator of network.
  • Grouply or – from free to premium service. Includes networking and wiki functions.
  • LinkedIN – described as a professional networking service – it is all work related. Asks you not to connect in with people you do not know (connections as part of your profile).
  • Google Plus – ability to separate out your social and professional friends to control points of communication.
Down side of social networks:
  • Scott Mc Nealy (2001) you have no privacy get over it.
  • Search history and interests are tracked, and digital data trails (copies) backed up in multiple locations.
  • ‘Collapsed contexts’ (danah boyd) – in real world we do not talk in the same way, we present ourselves in different ways in different contexts but in SIN’s all of our contexts are collapsed into one.
  • ‘continuous partial attention’ Linda Stone, problem is we are paying full attention to nothing – good person to read for a critique of social networking.
  • Post-multi-tasking behaviour – afraid we might miss something important – motivated by desire to be a live node on the network.
  • At its extreme makes you overwhelmed and exhausted – engaged attention is the opposite of what you are looking for. Ratch ting up our anxiety levels – need to learn how to turn it off and what communication is of value.
  • What are we doing offline how are we bringing focus and meaning into our lives.
Chat and Instant Messaging
  • Two functionalities have collapsed into each other.
  • Mark Prensky (2007) for young people email is an outmoded way of communicating.
Chat windows, rooms for education.
  • Chat rooms not good for coherent discussion.
  • Better used as a background channel, not a main channel
  • For instance when discussing a document.
  • Built a chat window into every wiki page for quick questions about what they were teaching or for students to talk each other.
Examples of chat windows you can build in:
  • Today’s meet – a temporary chat room, set up chat rooms for time limits.
Groupboard – a white board where anyone can interact on the whiteboard; – free version with Google docs – with a text based document that everyone can work with – also can be done in google docs.
The more channels of communication you are opening up the more you are splitting their attention.

  • Most famous of these is Twitter.
  • Why is it interesting (5th anniversary of Twitter)
  • Twitter feed topic feed thread diagram.
  • As a base for a personal learning network.
  • Search function on twitter
  • Being promoted as a backroom channel.
  • Wiffiti – another tweeting software
  • Can embed twitter very easily in blogs/facebook etc.
Educational use
  • 2009 Horizon Report – to continue conversation after class (one point about discussions) or update students on course logistics.
  • Twiter in the Primary classroom, summarising something about the learning of the day in a Tweet, being able to summarise your day – being succinct with language.
  • Bliptv – joe dale, importance as base of PLN
  • – provides a daily digest in newspaper layout, flipboard does this for the ipad.

Negative Aspects:
Fragmentation of expression & understanding
  • Polling
    • A personal clicker – personal polling – answer a question, give a table.
    • Web based polling systems:
      • Micropoll – to answer questions about your content – present as a bar graph.
      • Kwik Surveys – also allows people to put in texts – 1 words or expression they would use in their own language.
      • Pollyeverywhere – one that works with your phone… answers will come in in real time – around picking up a proprietary system.
      • E.clicker – an app for an IPAD, IPOD or laptop.
      • Negative aspect
        • Costly technologies – can applications students are using themselves have a impact.

    Edmondo – learning management system on the cloud
    Classroom collaborator.