My last post discussed the questions that a freelance journalist asked my about the use of networking sites in my classroom. The following are my responses to her questions. How do my answers compare to yours. Please add a comment about the comparison or reaction to my responses.

Social Networking in the Classroom

1. I use classblogmeister and wikispaces in my classroom.
2. I use classblogmeister because as the teacher I’m able to moderate blog posts, comments and all content posted on the site. I use wikispaces and as creator of the wiki I am able to control content. Both sites are easy to use and navigate for teachers and students.
3. We use classblogmeister to publish writing, contact other classrooms, share thoughts and ideas with our blog partners. Wikispaces has been used for global collaborative projects, collaborative story writing, curriculum content, weekly math problems and literature circles.
4. Any type of collaborative activity works well using blogs or wikis.
5. Our technology integration support teacher and technology consultant support and encourage the use of online applications for the classroom.
6. By using classblogmeister and wikispaces the content is controlled thus inappropriate postings are eliminated.
7. The benefits include an authentic audience for student writing and work that will provide feedback. Use of wikispaces for collaboration allow for students to work together with others around the globe. Students develop a pride in their work when they know that their work will be viewed by others.
8. I use Twitter frequently to stay in touch with other teachers in my network who integrate technology in their teaching. I use weblogs as a host for my professional blog and use bloglines to subscribe to blogs about the use of technology in the classroom.
9. Wikispaces, YouTube, Facebook, and Yahoo Groups. I find wikispaces easy to use and navigate. Wikispaces are easy for students to use and learn. I use YouTube and TeacherTube for video content that’s relevant to teaching topics.
10. I use pseudonyms for my students on both classblogmeister and wikispaces. I teach my students about digital citizenship and their digital footprint on the net. Most web based applications have teacher subscriptions that don’t have advertising or pop-ups. I’m teaching my students about Creative Commons materials and how to use them in their on-line/off-line assignments.

I hope this helps out,

Kimberly Brown

I recently received an email from a writer asking for my input for an article she is writing. She found me through my class wiki for the Iditarod project.

My name is Carmen Berg and I am a freelance writer doing an article about social networking sites and their use in the classroom.

I agreed to receive and answer the questions in the following questionnaire:

Social Networking in the Classroom questionnaire

Which social networking sites do you use or have you used in your classroom?

What factors influenced your selection of the social networking site you utilized?

How do you (did you) use social networking sites in your classroom?

In your opinion/experience, what type of projects or assignments were appropriate/successful using these tools?

Given that most school boards/districts have strict internet user policies (firewalls), how have you been able/were you able to use these tools in your classroom? Did you get special permission, application made, principal approved/supported?

Critics suggest that the content of student postings can be inappropriate (offensive, cruel, incorrect) making them disruptive to the learning environment and that they divulge too much personal, identifiable information. How do you respond to these criticisms?

What, in your opinion or experience, are the benefits for using these tools?

Have you used social networking sites for professional development? If so, which ones and why?

Do you use or have you used any of Ning, Friendster, Tribe, Everyonesconnected, SeemeTV, wikispaces, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo groups? Do you have a preference and if so, why?

How do/did you deal with:
Privacy concerns (FOIP/COPPA);
Safety/Security issues;
Advertising side bars and/or pop ups;
Copyright issues?

Please add information that you think would benefit teachers that I didn’t cover or you feel is imperative to include.

Please provide your name and contact information for fact checking purposes.

Thanks in advance.


Carmen Berg

Well, what do you think? What would have your answers been? Send me a comment with some of your thoughts.

Last week Dean Shareski spoke to our EC&I 831 class about his journey to connected learning. He said he’s lucky that he’s been able to work with other teachers and administrators who “get it.” You all know what I mean. The colleagues who value new ideas and start imagining how they can make use of these ideas in their teaching. It’s great when you connect with someone who shares your vision for integrating technology into teaching and is willing to work with you. My journey to connected learning is now progressing and I feel fortunate to have connected with so many educators who share the same vision.

Dean also shared his “Five Big Ideas” for enjoying the journey to connected learning and teaching.

1. Get Personal & Selfish: Decide that you want to learn new technologies for you.

2. Develop a Professional Learning Community on Steroids: Have a networked PLC, Use an RSS reader to keep connected to relevant blogs, Compile a Delicious network, join Twitter and blog.

3. Consider Your Comm-post Rating: Find a balance between commenting and posting, comment more than you post. This blog from Intrepid Classroom has some good commenting guidelines.

4. Have Fun!

5. Share Everything!