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Social Networks, the Next Educational Tool?

Social Networks, the Next Educational Tool?: “At last year’s Educause conference, in Seattle, educators pondered what to do about students’ technology habits. Should they try to change them? Accept that they’re here to stay? Try to co-opt them?
A lot can change in a year. Many colleges seem to have moved on from the question of whether to follow students’ lead on technologies they prefer, from Web-based e-mail to Facebook to text messaging. Now, the dilemma they face is whether to adapt students’ existing habits — of messaging each other, checking each other’s profiles and browsing upcoming parties — to the educational realm.”
The key concept I’m seeing in the use of technology in the service of education is that of enlargement. New technologies are not necessarily replace existing approaches; instead, they are enlarging the range of options for learners. We’re not doing away with email. Or even learning management systems. We’re adding blogs, wikis, social networking, virtual worlds, and numerous other technologies to current practices. And that’s exactly how it should be. It’s difficult to predict which technologies with survive and which will fade. A spirit of perpetual experimentation is needed. Try many approaches. Stick with the ones that demonstrate some promise.

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