Social software is one of the main components to web 2.0 technologies.Â These technologies give users the ability to share, provide feedback and produce new learning together on an anytime anywhere basis (Alexander, 2006).Â Using these web 2.0 tools will lead students to using 21st century skills that Alberta Education (2010) identifies as being necessary in order for learners to be successful. Â Â The main question is how can we as educators take advantage of the studentsâ€™ engagement with these technologies in order to help improve student learning?Â As an administrator and teacher I can see the benefits of using these social technologies for engaging students.Â At the same time the administrator in me is worried about the consequences that could be associated with web 2.0 tools.Â Not only is much of the content blocked, but we also need to be aware of what is and is not acceptable according to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.Â We also have a responsibility to engage students, but protect them at the same time.Â As a teacher I know that students are already using these social tools to share, learn and communicate with one another (Tay, Lim, Lye, Ng, & Lim, 2011).Â It would benefit educators to tap into this already utilized learning tool in order to present information and create new learning experiences for students.Â Â Â Â Â
One of the responsibilities that go along with utilizing these technologies it to make sure that students are using them responsibly.Â Teachers need to look at what digital citizenship is and make students aware of their rights and responsibilities while online.Â I have noticed that students seem to have a misguided belief that they are not responsible for what they do online.Â It is as if there is a belief that no one will know that they did it.Â Students need to realize that when using social networking sites there information is held in the cloud and available to others.Â Locking it down does not always mean that it cannot be accessed by others.Â Just look at the recent issues with Facebook and messages sent privately being accessible to others for whom they were not intended (Rourke, 2012).Â Trying to get students to see the importance of safety, security and responsibility could prove to be a difficult task, but one that is necessary in order to utilize these technologies effectively.
Â Other Links: Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship
Alberta Education. (2010). Inspiring action on education.Â Retrieved from http://ideas.education.alberta.ca/media/2905/inspiringaction%20eng.pdf
Â Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause, 41(2), 32-44.
Rourke, M. (2012, 12 24). Facebook denies leak of usersâ€™ private messages. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/09/24/facebook-private-messages-public.html
Tay, L.Y., Lim, C.P., Lye, S.Y., Ng, K.J., & Lim, S.K. (2011). Open-source learning management system and Web 2.0 online social software applications as learning platforms for an elementary school in Singapore. Learning, Media and Technology, 36(4), 349-365.