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How districts support social networking in schools


Despite restricted network access and concerns about student safety, more and more schools are using social networking in classrooms in an effort to give students a more robust digital learning experience.

According to a new Edudemic infographic, overall, some of the most popular social networking tools in school include Skype, Facebook, and YouTube.

Ninety-six percent of students with internet access said they use social networking technologies, including chatting, texting, blogging, and online communities. Thirty percent of students have their own blogs, and more than 1 in 6 said they update those blogs at least once a week. Fifty-nine percent of students who use social networking said they talk about education-related topics online, and more than 50 percent talk specifically about school assignments.

(Next page: How many districts support various social networking efforts)

When it comes to encouraging social networking in classrooms, school districts:

  • Have student website programs (69 percent)
  • Have students participate in online pen pal or other international programs (46 percent)
  • Have students and/or instructor-run blogs (35 percent)
  • Are involved in creating or maintaining wikis (22 percent)
  • Have a teacher/principal online community (27 percent)
  • Say at least half of their staff members participate in social networking for educational purposes (59 percent)

In a National School Boards Association survey, 49 percent of members said their schools participate in online collaborative projects with other schools.

A May survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed that 24 percent of teens use Twitter now, up from 16 percent in 2011.

And as social networking use increases in classrooms, acceptable use policies (AUPs) are changing to incorporate new digital learning tools.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) refreshed its AUP guide in an effort to help technology leaders craft policies that reflect the emergence and permanence of digital technologies in students’ hands, in classrooms, and in teachers’ toolboxes.

“The widespread use of social media and other Web 2.0 applications and the increasing prevalence of mobile devices by school age youth are key factors in causing many districts to review their AUP,” according to the new guide.

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Laura Ascione

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