“Facebook a valid educational tool”

June 26, 2008

Is your institution using Facebook?

\"Facebook a valid educational tool\"

According to a report, if you’re not then you could be missing out.

The Guardian reports:

Teachers and lecturers are getting the lowdown on how to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo in an educational way.

Most schools and colleges in the UK block access to the websites but they are missing out on their potential for education, a government-funded guide says.

Have a look at the full report.

Those of you who read my blog will know that I am not a great fan of facebook, the more useful and serious sides of the social networking sites seem to be overshadowed by users throwing zombies and playing games. Though it should be noted that a huge number of people are on Facebook and using Facebook. In respect to Bebo, the same picture can be seen though more often it is the younger learner who is using Bebo.

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Microsoft to move into social bookmarking

June 2, 2008

According to Mashable, Microsoft will be moving into social bookmarking.

According to Microsoft Evangalist John Martin, the company is set to release a product called “Social Bookmarks” this week. The product sounds a whole lot like del.icio.us, and will initially be deployed on MSDN and TechNet, so look for it to be mostly hardcore techie bookmarks for now. Features include bookmarking (presumably via a bookmarklet), tagging, and a web-based account where your bookmarks are stored.

Social bookmarking as seen on sites such as Del.icio.us, Digg and Stumbleupon allow users to collect (or bookmark) their favourite sites online and share those bookmarks with their friends and others.Microsoft to move into social bookmarking


Google helps the web to go social

May 18, 2008

BBC reported on how Google is making it even easier for people to interact online.

Google has joined the drive to make the web more social by introducing tools to enable people to interact with their friends.

Of course this means that educational and learning sites can use the same tools making it easier for learners to interact and engage with each other.

This may mean of course that learners from other “places” and “institutions” will interact and engage with each other.

Some institutions will see this collaboration as a “danger” or “cheating” and therefore block the sites. Whilst others will engage with this process and look at how it could impact on learning and enhance it and the changes that may be needed to be made to assessment models.


Fed up with Facebook

May 8, 2008

It would appear that I am not the only one fed up with Facebook applications. I do like the social and interactivity that Facebook provides, however I am fed up with the super pokes, the zombies, the quizzes and so on…

Fed up with Facebook

Mashable undertook a poll of their readers and the resounding response was people were fed up with Facebook.

The results were a fairly resounding “yes.” In our most active poll ever, only 13% of you said that you are “Not At All” fed up with the social network and are still enjoying it just as much as when you signed up.

Does this mean we are seeing the decline of Facebook (as we did with Friendster) and seeing an opening for a new social networking site?

Are you fed up with Facebook?

What is going to be the next “thing” that will replace Facebook?

Can we still use Facebook for learning, or are our learners fed up too?


Children flock to social networks…

April 2, 2008

BBC reports on how more than 25% of children between eight and eleven actively use social networking websites.

More than a quarter of eight to 11-year-olds in the UK have a profile on a social network, research shows.

Most sites, such as Bebo, MySpace and Facebook, set a minimum age of between 13 and 14 to create a profile but none actively enforce the age limit.

Ofcom’s survey of 5,000 adults and 3,000 children found 49% of those aged between eight and 17 have a profile.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this, by the time these children come to College or onto University, they will have been using and immersed into the world of social networking – unlikely I expect that they will be using Facebook or Bebo as who remembers Friendster?

However that they will be use to the concept of communicating socially online. I would also expect that they will also start to use these environments for working together on learning activities as well.

Obviously there are issues with putting personal and embarrassing information online as institutions and employers also have access to these sites and Google, but it would be a shame to focus on the negative aspects of these sites and forget the potential that these places have for learners to interact and engage with each other – in the same way they already do engage collaboratively for learning in the physical social areas within our institutions.

As I write this I am sitting in the cafe area of my college and there are learners here drinking coffee and talking, I know some are talking about non-learning stuff, but there are others who are talking and discussing what they just did or what they need to do.

Children flock to social networks…

We provide physical social environments for our learners to socialise and engage with each other, is it too much to ask to provide access to similar social environments which are online?


Evolution of the social network

March 29, 2008

BBC Click reports on the evolution of social networking.

Recent reports of social networking’s demise may be slightly premature.

Sure, some users are completely fed up with receiving friends invites, being “bitten”, “poked” and indeed having sheep thrown at them.

And there has been a 5% slowdown in new UK users to the larger social networks, Facebook and MySpace, between December 2007 and January this year.

But Alex Burmaster, an analyst at Nielsen Online which compiled the figures showing the decline, says: “The slow down in social networks is being somewhat exaggerated. It’s a natural form of any growth that we see in the online eco-system.

Evolution of the social network


Impact of Facebook on the Law

January 10, 2008

From JISC Legal.

One of the recent news articles looks at the impact social network software Facebook had on legislation this year. The article briefly discusses the impact Facebook has had through its user privacy polices, online marketing strategies and business practices at offices on the use of Facebook at the workplace.

More on this news article which would interest staff using social networking software at institutions in the UK can be accessed here.Impact of Facebook on the Law