A couple of useful (potentially) Facebook links

A couple of Facebook articles that might come in handy for English 516 or maybe even 444:

  • “Why Facebook is for Old Fogies” from Time magazine. This is one of those little blurb articles that is not exactly “news” but it’s still kind of funny and also kind of true. Which makes me wonder: if Facebook has become something that “grown-ups” do, what are “the kids” doing nowadays?
  • Will Richardson’s take on an article from Ed.magazine, “Thanks for the Add. Now Help Me with My Homework.” Here’s my favorite passage for me because it rings very true in my experiences:

    In a recent survey of one of his graduate classes, Blatt found that 100 percent of these future educators were enrolled on Facebook — and 30 percent of them even checked their profile more than once a day. Just becoming familiar with social networking sites, however, doesn’t mean that teachers will be able to directly use them as a tool for formal class discussion or collaboration. In one of Wiske’s classes, in fact, students experimented with doing just that, using Facebook as a forum to “coconstruct” meanings of readings. “It didn’t feel like the place to have that conversation,” says Wiske. “The structure of the tools wasn’t as conducive to that discussion, and the pictures and other stuff on the screen were kind of distractions from that work.”

    On the other hand, there are other social networking tools that may be more directly appropriate for use in class. Some teachers are already using wikis, technology that allows students to take turns editing group projects to facilitate the often-difficult task of working together as a group, as well as to provide a trail of who does what on a project. Another new social networking site called Ning.com allows organizations to create their own closed networking sites that can be adapted for a school or even a course.

    A more likely use of SNSs within the educational context, however, is to use them as supplements to the formal in-class learning, building upon the spontaneous sharing that students are already doing. “I can imagine teachers saying, ‘I know a lot of you are on Facebook; I’d love to encourage you to share your draft work with friends, do whatever revisions are warranted, and then post your first draft on the class website,'” says Wiske. “That would be a design that took advantage of some affordances and patterns of behavior Christine is noticing without trying to commandeer these social networks as a location for structured class work.”

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