Thursday, March 31, 2011

Classroom 2.0 Discussion: "Should teachers and students be "friends" on social networking sites?"

The discussion topic, "Should teachers and students be 'friends' on social networking sites," was started back in December of 2008 on the Classroom 2.0 ning site. I subscribe to this discussion via email, and it has been interesting to see how it has 'evolved' over the past couple of years (I'd say it hasn't really 'evolved' much at all...most posts are pretty dogmatic in the assertion that students and teachers should never connect via the social web).

Anyway, below you'll see my latest response to this discussion. Stop over to the discussion at Classroom 2.0 if you'd like to view the discussion history and leave some thoughts of your own. (click here to see my personal facebook friending policy that I wrote back in 2009):

It's amazing how this conversation has moved along over the past few years.

All I can say is that I'm really glad I'm connected to a variety of  students, past and present, using websites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. On one level it has given me TRUE insight (not insight influenced by sensational media reporting) as to what students are doing in these spaces. Contrary to what the media might report, youth are using these spaces for creative and useful purposes like study and collaboration, commenting on the latest news of the day, mobilizing social justice campaigns (remember the 'wear purple day' in support of LGBTQ youth last fall?), socializing in healthy ways with friends, connecting with family members, playing games, sharing photos, etc.

The experience of connecting with students in a variety of ways and spaces allows me to talk intelligently to other adults about what students are doing with these powerful communication and collaboration platforms.