EduSpaceLounge’s Weblog

Week 9 – Thing 9 Get Social

Posted on: 12, November 2008

This week we have to explore MySpace and Facebook and their relevance to education.

I have used MySpace in the past – mostly looking at my daughter’s MySpace – but I wasn’t really a great fan of it. I always assumed that it was more a technology that younger people used.

I use Facebook regularly though. My sister-in-law “invited” me to use it, so I signed up and then discovered that I knew a lot of people who were also using it. I now have quite a lot of “friends” – the majority of them being people I know from when I worked overseas. Taking into consideration the people I communicate with via Facebook and the people my friends communicate with, it seems that the majority of us are using Facebook to communicate with people that live a long distance away (frequently in another country).  The advantage of using Facebook is that we can stay in contact wth people but we don’t have to be writing long emails or calling each other. You can be involved without being too involved. Maybe it is also indicative of the times – people living more insular lives.

Completing this Thing has made me think about what use My Space and Facebook could be in an educational context. I couldn’t think of any good reason for me to use Facebook with my students, until I came across a site called Science Daily. Apparently there have been a few research studies regarding Facebook –

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512094426.htm

and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081014111056.htm.

The articles have got me thinking about the benefits that could be provided by using them. Maybe it is a good way to tap into what the students are into – maybe it could be a way to help them feel “connected”. I am still thinking about it.

There are some issues to consider re using Facebook. In The Age newspaper today there was an article about scams being inflicted on people via Facebook – http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/security/alert-over-bid-to-con-facebook-users/2008/11/10/1226165454265.html.

A few moths ago, one of my ex students posted this message on my “wall” – hey Deb, she’s ma new friend add her up and give her a lil time as she is new here 😉. I immediately knew that it wasn’t from my student as there is no way she would call me Deb – I taught her in Indonesia and the custom there is to call teachers (gurus) Ms xxx or Mr xxx. Plus, I knew the message was not from her because she doesn’t speak/write like that.

Someone also fooled around with another friend’s Facebook page. A few of his friends (including me) received emails from our friend telling us that he was selling computer equipment and were we interested in buying some from him. Immediately we knew it wasn’t from him as he is one of the least likely people to take up a career selling computer equipment.

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