Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Not for education then?

Ellen Stewart gave us a 10-minute presentation on her experience of Facebook and she pretty much summed up what I thought. It's for friends to keep up with each other, wherever they are. I have nieces/nephew of similar age to Ellen and they talk about the same kind of things. Finding out what other people are up to. Sharing daft jokes. Linking to funnies on YouTube. And like my rellies, Ellen is aware of how to try to protect her identity and not share too much with too many potential 'friends'. I thought her presentation was good and I enjoyed listening to the discussion aftewards too, although it just confirmed that we can't see too much 'educational' potential. Especially when young people themselves hate the idea of school getting anywhere near their fun - on Bebo, Facebook, MySpace et al.

I had wondered if these sites could be used for communication (as Sue pointed out she socialises with her students through Facebook). I was thinking about reminders or tips/hints about homework or projects. A teacher's 'wall' could be updated to include all the relevant stuff. But, having heard what Ellen had to say I just don't think this would be welcome by young learners. She also dashed my view that students might discuss their homework projects! Perhaps, adult learners would be different. But this type of communication can be done through a LMS or email or even text messaging.

Maybe we just let them have their facebook fun! Or we look at something like
Ecto (discussed in the email group) which is meant to have an educational focus. The benefit of introducing social networking learners to something like Ecto could be that they know how the technology works and they can make the distinction between 'home' and 'school'. However, most schools choose an institution-wide system that creates some consistency between subject areas and a product like Moodle is starting to offer up some of the social software features as well as the LMS features.


Sarah Stewart said...

Ellen thanks you for your kind comments. I tend to agree with you about the use of Facebook but maybe something a little more serious/educational would be better. I was challenged by what Sue Waters said but I still ask myself whether I want students in impinge on my fun!?!

Garry Patterson said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head there Yvonne, my daughters use Bebo as their means of keeping in touch with friends all round the country and detest the idea that anyone would dare to try to ruin it by including anything relating to school work! Yuck! There are plenty of other tools available for teaching, let the kids have their own avenues for communication that are mostly exclusive to them and their friends.
Thanks for your comments on my blog - strange indeed yet still educational. Funny eh..