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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Social Networking Trials

I have a MySpace account. I don't use it. Oddly, my reason is because the pages take forever to load, and I'm impatient.

I have a Facebook account. I don't use it. Mainly because my age would make it too creepy for teens and 20-somethings to include me in their network.

I have tried Twitter. I don't really want people knowing what I am doing all the time. Twitter's feature of mapping where you are is also disconcerting to me. Do I really want people to know I'm not home so they can break in undetected? Do I want them to know where I am? I'm more private than that.

I have thought about Second Life, but just because there is a 3-D, avatar component does not make it much different than other venues as far as I can tell. I am going to create an identity and play around. Perhaps during some summer days I'll get an opportunity to wander. My name is Chevyer Forder in SL.

I heard about Ning through one of the feeds I read daily. My initial thought was could I create a ning account for our students, and monitor it as a Media Center promotion? Could we discuss books, homework, and make it safe? I think it can be done. Will it be allowed? I think it should be. Here's why.

I have joined the Library 2.0 and Classroom 2.0 groups in Ning. The Library one has some things that have been good. The Classroom group is great. The goal is to discuss ways to use web 2.0 tools in the classroom. How do we overcome fear, time, and other obstacles? You can make "membership" open or by permission. Once in, you can request other members to become your friend. I haven't figured out any advantages to "collecting friends" because all the features I have with my friends I also have with any other member. I am enjoying my time in Classroom 2.0. I have joined in on a few conversations. Not to make it sound as a "misery loves company" saga, but it is nice to know that many of the struggles we face are also faced by others from around the world.

However, I must remind myself that just because many face the same difficulties of filters, bad policy, fear, and other educational technology issues does not make the current practices the right practices for our students. If everyone is doing the wrong thing, this does not justify our following suit. It's time to play the trump card, and take control of the hand we have been dealt. What is the trump card?

I think the trump card could be to get the kids so interested in Learning 2.0, and in what could be, that their parents "revolt" if their kids are denied service. It has worked many times before, but not often in academic issues. It is usually a sports-related issue.

If we use a tool that kids relate to, then we might be able to teach them the things they otherwise might not learn. It is a way for adults to "earn the right" to be heard by the students.

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