Social networking should be used in schools safely. Social networking and blogging is a way that children can get feedback on their work quickly. This can help with a drafting process on their work and can improve their confidence. It can also be done safely with the use of wikis. Wikis will allow admin (wheather it is the teacher or headteacher) to control who accesses the wiki page and is allowed to comment. This can include other teachers, classes, parents and can go to other schools aswell.
Schools can also have a ‘Facebook’ system in schools which is heavily controlled by staff, but this isnt necessarily what the children want, so they may not use it. Children want the freedom that Facebook gives them and want to use what all of their friends are using to ‘fit in to the crowd’. A way to combat this maybe to teach the children about e-saftey and the effects that it has if done porely.
Web 2.0 would be very useful to use in schools because Web 2.0 is the ‘social web’, so the children need to use it for that purpose, as well as for finding out the information they need for class projects (although, reliability will have to be taught). This aswell will be getting them ready for the future of the internet and web, which maybe the invention of a Web 3.0 or ‘semantic web’ which will be for socialising and finding out information.
If you know that your class is already on Facebook or Bebo or similar, even though they may not admit it because of the age restriction, then why not incorporate it into the lessons? Obviously this will require some level of parental consent and risk assessment.
There is also an argument that teachers could use handheld devices such as iphones, ipads and tablets etc for these purposes especially when carrying out investigations in science. It will share experiences between the children and children from other classes and could be used to record and share findings and record an ongoing investigation. It also makes the cross-curricular link between subjects like Science and ICT. Although the focus of ICT is shifting in Primary Schools to a more of a look into ‘Digital Literacy’.
It would also be a good idea that parents are informed about the risks of social networking and blogging because often parents dont know what their children are doing online and dont know the dangers. This could be explained by Prensky’s theory of ‘Digital Natives and Digital Immegrants’ or by the development of this theory by Prensky who suggests a ‘Digital Wisdom’. Other theories that could be applied to this contexct is David White’s theory.