The Pros and Cons of Social Networking in Education

As a follow-up to the lesson I described in my last post, Mr. Magadance and I facilitated a student debate about the pros and cons of social networking in education.

In “The Machine is Us/ing Us,” Michael Wesch demonstrates how digital/hypertext/the web is no longer just linking information; web 2.0 is linking people . . . people sharing, trading, and collaborating . . . and “We are the web.”

Wesch concludes with the suggestions that, “We’ll need to rethink a few things: copyright, authorship, identity, ethics, aesthetics, rhetorics, governance, privacy, commerce, love, family, ourselves.” I would add to “education” to that list.

Using the debate at as a primary resource, we considered both sides of the question about whether or not “social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom.”

I was interested to note that although most students agreed with the proposition in favor of social networking, closer analysis of both sides of the argument resulted in stronger convictions both for and against the proposition.

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