Posted by: jackjohnston | May 1, 2010

Assignment 6 Social Networking Site

Creating a social networking site using was our 5th assignment in IT 780. Dr. Yuen created a ning site for us to use in IT780, so I was aware of the many benefits of this tool in our particular setting. Creating my own site was another story. However, it turned out to be a wonderful learning experience and I am glad that he made the assignment.
Social networking is an online community who share a common interest and collaborate with each other. A social networking site can be created around particular interests. Social networking is an integral part of the “digital natives” lives. Digital natives are constantly sharing information, thoughts, ideas, and opinions instantly with friends and the world. Educators are becoming aware of this change in students and are harnessing Web 2.0 tools to implement change in teaching and learning to meet the need of today’s learners. In this educational setting, students are responsible for their own learning, as they actively construct knowledge for greater learner success.
One aspect of social networking is that it helps to create a “sense of community” among users. I can speak first hand about this, as a result of use our class social networking site in IT780. There are many other benefits to using a social networking site in the classroom. It is more than an online interactive book, library, resource, and tutor. It is a connection that increases learning that is hard to explain. I think that is is crucial that educators explore social networking as an instructional tool to ready students for tomorrow.
My school, Star Reach Center for Gifted Students, will close the end of May. The teachers will be relocated at different elementary schools throughout the school district.
I decided to construct a social networking site so the teachers would have an online place to share, communicate, collaborate, and inspire from across the county. Several, about 2/3s of the teachers at my school have joined the network. So far, however, there has been little engagement. This could be attributed to apathy, discouragement about the relocation, or lack of technical skills. Regardless, I still think that a social networking site, with the mission of teacher collaboration, can do much to improve the educational quality for our students. Here is the site that I created using the social networking site for my graduate course, IT780, as well as for my school.



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  2. I think you have a great idea with a Ning here for teachers across the county. Too bad Ning is going to charge for its use.

    I think anything, such as Ning, that brings disparate individuals together with a common goal (improving education) can only promote good. I have a sister and a daughter teaching in public schools, and they are always searching for connections that will bring them morale support as well as killer ideas for sparking those young minds they are trying to mold. A Ning would be a perfect place for the teachers to share and perhaps come away with ideas that no one in the district had ever considered, particularly when it comes to finding more funding or other free ways of improving education that teachers could share here. And depending on the security you provide, it could give teachers from the same district a place to vent and share information about district policies and concerns they might not get a chance to learn about from teachers outside their own schools. (I’m not sure this is even making sense. I am tired tonight! But I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say.)

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