I've always almost had a negative attitude towards social networking sites, mostly caused by my irrational fear of turning into a pouting princess in a toilet cubicle. "I refuse to be suckered into that Facebook fad, you know, in a year or two everyone will be onto something else just like Myspace so what's the point? If I want to catch up with friends I'd rather call or see them in person." - Bianca Raux, 2007. As friends continued to upload photos from different events post invites and connect with old and new friends, I realised that not joining Facebook (especially for someone of my generation) is ultimately social suicide. You don't sign up - you miss out! Now that I have a smart phone, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I didn't go on Facebook everyday.
I held a similar attitude towards Twitter, I couldn't see the point of it considering I could write a post on Facebook and not be limited by characters. Also, I had no interest in following famous people. Last year, our level coordinator suggested that we join Twitter to create a professional account. I reluctantly joined up and had a little play around. I could see the value in twitter from a professional perspective. With tweets being hash tagged, it was easy to find tweets with great resources, already trialed out and recommended by other teachers. Also, you could pose a question to hundreds of other teachers out there asking for ideas. I'm still coming to terms with using Twitter to its full potential, since I'm not much of a 'tweeter' but I'm getting there. Although I explored LinkedIn as a part of this module, I don't think I'm ready to start using it yet as I'm feeling a little overwhelmed exploring and attempting to use these Web 2.0 tools.
Second life: It is extremely obvious why people would use this tool socially but I can see how this website could provide many educational opportunities for students to immerse themselves within and explore the world - past, present and future.
Facebook: Although, I know this social networking site has been used for educational purposes, I still would only use Facebook for personal purposes only. I like being able to keep my Facebook separate from my professional life as I like to use it purely for social purposes. I think it is important to draw a line somewhere between one's personal and professional life.
Twitter: This site could be used both personally and professionally but I tend to use it purely for professional reasons.
LinkedIn: From reading the information provided in this module and visiting the web site, it seems that this site would be more appropriate for professional purposes.
Second life: This would really engage the 5/6's in their learning particularly if we used this tool in History Inquiry lessons. I imagine though there would be much planning to do prior to using this with the students i.e. safety concerns etc. but I think it would be worth it to have a go.
Facebook: Working in a primary school, the students are not legally old enough to have a Facebook account and considering that we have a school blog and just recently student Google accounts, I don't really see a need for Facebook as a learning tool at our school.
Twitter: Again, working in a primary school doesn't allow us to use this tool with the students but I don't really feel a need to use it in this way with our students. Despite this, it is particularly useful to inspire and support teachers as well as collaborate with other educators.
LinkedIn: If I were to sign up with LinkedIn, I imagine that I would use it in a similar way to Twitter to connect with other educators to gain inspiration and ideas and develop network connections with educators who have a significant influence in the educational world.
Due to the 1:1 laptop program being introduced, we have had many discussions about our 'Digital Footprint'. Once you place something on the internet it can never be truly erased. It is crucial that all teachers and students are aware of this, therefore, one must think before they act (a good motto to live by both off and online) by not putting anything online that you wouldn't want a current/prospective employer, family or certain others to see. It is also important to emphasise the importance of thinking about how certain actions can affect other people online. The students have had a good opportunity to explore these issues while obtaining their Laptop Learners' Licence. The Webonauts Internet Academy web quest was an excellent activity within the Laptop Learners' Licence course to raise students' awareness of their digital footprint and how it could impact themselves and others.
If you are already have a Twitter account or are interested in creating a professional account for educational purposes please follow me @BiancaRaux so I can follow you too to continue sharing some great ideas and resources.
Happy Networking Y'all!
Picture source: http://blog.ubertor.com/2013/03/01/5-things-you-should-be-doing-with-your-ubertor-website/social-networking-logos-2/