When kids feel connected and have a strong sense of belonging to the school community, they do better in school... They persist in school at higher rates and achieve at higher rates. ... It’s pretty promising that engaging in social networking sites could help them to develop and deepen their bonds over time. (Buzzetto-More, 2012, p. 66)
I have seen the use of technology growing in my own studies. During my undergraduate education, social networking was not used in the classroom. Most things were taught without the use of technology. Papers were turned in in paper form, books were actual books, and people worked on group projects face to face. I did not use Facebook or other social media for classes, but I did use it as a resource out of the classroom to build closer relationships and stay connected with classmates. During my graduate studies I have seen a considerable jump in the use of technology. My classes are heavily focused on technology since it is an online degree, and I am learning many of the things younger generations use on a daily basis such as podcasts, blogs, and online classrooms such as Moodle. I have found the use of technology to be extremely helpful in my classes and have incorporated more of these technologies in my workplace as well.
I have also noticed that current undergraduates and even younger students use Facebook for a variety of uses. Many of the athletic teams that I work with use Facebook to relay important information to team members in order to ensure everyone sees the information in a timely matter instead of relying on email. They message each other on what uniforms to wear, when and where the team is meeting to warm up, schedule changes, etc. Because they know that their fellow team members check Facebook more regularly than their email.
I personally like to keep my Facebook page separate from my professional life. I agree that the increase use of social networking is “blurring lines between professional, personal, and academic lives” (Buzzetto-More, 2012, p. 63). I am very careful to make sure that I do not let these lines blur and I feel that more students should be taught about this as well. The nice thing is that one can easily stay connected and be professional. One way to do this is have separate personal and professional Facebook pages, using Facebook Fan pages instead of personal accounts, or adjusting privacy settings as needed.
I feel social networks can be a great way to foster learning and get students engaged as long as certain precautions are put in place to try to minimize the negative effects that this interaction can cause. It makes connecting with people and students very easy because many of the students are already using these sites. It also allows students to learn in ways that they are comfortable with and express their ideas in their own way.
Buzzetto-More, N. A. (2012). Social Networking in Undergraduate Education. Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management, 7. Retrieved January 8, 2013, from (http://www.ijikm.org/Volume7/IJIKMv7p063-090Buzzetto611.pdf)