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Examining Teachers' Social-Networking Habits

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A new survey conducted by edWeb.net found that 61 percent of educators have joined a social network, and those who have are more likely to participate in other online activities, such as uploading photos, downloading podcasts, and reading blogs. Out of those educators who have joined a social-networking site, 85 percent use Facebook. However, the survey also found that of those who use Facebook, 76 percent report using it "seldom/never."

Another interesting aspect of the survey found that the educators surveyed expressed an explicit desire to keep personal and professional lives separate on social-networking sites. And although many educators recognized a need to integrate technology, such as social-networking sites, into their teaching, most pointed to time as a constraint to reaching that goal.

Survey results were based on 1,284 responses by teachers, principals, and librarians. It looks like my co-blogger Kathleen Kennedy Manzo wrote about this report in September, when the preliminary results were released. Much of the information is the same, but the recently released report is a little more extensive.

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I heard that teachers could lose their credentials for having students and parents of students on their facebook account. This was in southern california. Is it true?

This seems to be an issue that is becoming an ever-increasing problem for teachers; there is a very clear line between one's professional and personal lives. That being said, social networking is the primary language our students speak today; is it possible to participate in the incredibly active and growing online social networking community in a way that does not cross that line?

I have found a possible ways for teachers and students to participate in online social networking while still maintaining the integrity that is crucial to the parent student relationship. One valuable resources that I have used with my students is Ning.com. Ning allows a teacher to design and maintain his or her own scrupulously controlled social network. The networks that I have created have a specific educational purpose as well, such as learning in discussing regions like Asia or the Middle East. My students have been able to blog, participate in discussions, and even communicate with each other. Just to ensure my students online safety and privacy, I have gone the extra mile and involved other members of my staff, administration, and even supportive parents to participate as well. The result has been that my students have been able to learn by using a medium that is relevant to them, and overall it has improved the learning experience of my classroom.

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