For an upcoming book I'm writing, I'm looking for teachers who are using MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, or some other social networking forum in their teaching. Obviously, these sites are controversial, and that's why, I think, I'm having difficulty finding teachers who are using them in an educational setting. I have lots of examples of teachers who use blogs and wikis, but I'm not finding many examples of teachers who use social networking sites that are commonly used outside of schools. Any assignment ideas would be welcome and you will be credited in my book!

Tags: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, networking, social

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Sounds great, Tom. I just saw Renee Cherow-O'Leary from Teachers College this past weekend at NCTE. Let's set up a phone interview in the next couple of weeks. Email me at:
Tom, How did you get around the 13 age limit on Nings AUP?
I wish I could use ning but they have an age limit of 13, how did you work around this?
Hi William,

Neat to hear that you are using Ning with 6th graders. How do you moderate comments? Are you able to approve them? What about the add friends feature? Have you had any issues with that? I would love to set up a ning for my 5th graders but worry, as Nancy said, there are too many nooks and crannys for kids to find and make mischief in! Could you expand on how you keep an eye on kids and how you keep them safe?

Sandy, I said this before, maybe in this discussion, but I think there are too many nooks and crannies in ning for any teacher to do a good job of monitoring. With the ability to have discussions (which is a good thing) there are individual pages where students can say or post anything they like included copyrighted material or videos and pictures. The students can also send private messages and invite friends. I would stay away from ning with 13-16 year olds, most middle school teachers have over 100 students to monitor. There is just too many avenues for trouble. I've got a classblog which I monitor daily and have used other tools---webpages, wikis, Moodle etc so it's not like I'm anti-tech, I think there are a lot of tweens and young teens who make stupid decisions. I think sometimes educators just tech for tech sake without a thought of whether there is learning, teaching, thinking, and reflection going on. I tend to be more conservative--I make sure the tool enhances what we are doing. Finished harping!! haha. N

I'm new to this space! I'm a principal of a small elementary school on Kaua'i but also a doctoral candidate in Ed Tech at Pepperdine University. I am thinking of writing my dissertation on teacher perceptions, awareness and use of Web 2.0 tools. I would love to know if you have any ideas, advice, resources that you think might help me as I begin this journey. I have been procrastinating on this project but I think I finally found a topic that I think is exciting. I see that Web 2.0 can provide a natural and engaging way to help teachers transform their classrooms to more active, inquiry based and project based environments. The biggest obstacle I see is teacher's lack of understanding of how to use these tools effectively in classroom settings. What do you think?

Hi I use Myspace with year 9 geography and 10 commerce students as a homework activity as it is blocked at our school - in class time i use ning networks for different projects. you can email if you would like more info or leave a message for me on my classroom 2.0 page. Clare :)
I use Ning, because of the advantages of a walled garden for adolescents and the ability to maintain standards appropriate to a public school. It retains the appeal and power of social networking and most kids take to it readily.
Thanks, Michael. I'd be interested in hearing what subject and level you teach.
Greetings! I found great success last year using Ning with my 8th grade Pre-AP English students. Rather than have them log in to the Ning and create a profile as themselves, they created Middle Earth Heroes (along with our study of the Hero's Journey & while reading The Hobbit). Every aspect of their Ning profile concerned their character rather than their "real identity" - their picture, their "bio" - I even had them select an appropriate "theme song" for their character and added a clip of that music to the mp3 player. It was great fun, and the kids enjoyed interacting with each other's characters as their characters - comments, questionnaires, etc - all were completed as their Middle Earth character. It really gave them an opportunity to explore character development and the hero's journey and enjoy the social networking aspect of Ning! It was really fun!

Heather D. Sanders
Mansfield, TX
What a fun idea, I've seen other nings "created" by historical characters and the students interact as if they were living in those times. Actually it takes much higher level thinking to interact as someone else than as yourself. Can we visit your ning?
Hey William,

I use facebook in my teaching (or I should say, my students use it.) They have created a group for my class and compare their notes and other class info. They also have a live chat going on, using the night before tests, and they ask each other questions and answer them. This is completely independent of my class requirements and I am very proud of them.



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