Tuesday, September 04, 2007

NSBA survey touts social networking for students. The National School Board Association and Grunwald Associates have released a report Connecting and Creating: Research andGuidelines on Online Social - and Educational - Networking.

The study was comprised of three surveys: an online survey of1,277 nine- to 17-year-old students, an online survey of 1,039 parents and telephone interviews with 250 school district leaders who make decisions on Internet policy."

The report recommends that school districts may want to 'explore ways in which they could use social networking for educational purposes' — and reconsider some of their fears. "Many schools initially banned or restricted Internet use, only to ease up when the educational value of the Internet became clear. The same is likely to be the case with social networking."

Social networking technologies have significant educational potential. However social/commercial social networking sites - eg. Friendster, MySpace should not be the focus. It is the functionalities of these sites that are important, not the commercialization - and other non-commercial tools are available - see elgg for example.

Young people must safely gain the ability to use these social networking technologies just as they must learn how to effectiveley "network" in real life - getting together with friends, physical activities and athletics, arts and music, social service.

Educators and educational insitututions must learn to do their own honest risk assessments - and refrain from demonizing all social internet activities and trying to block students from social networking technology. If we model and teach the safe, effective use of these technologies, we wouldn't resort to knee jerk censorship.
NoSo - No social.
Tired of networking? Don’t want to be linked to possible friends? Don’t want to share and contact? Want to disconnect, in silence? Now, there is a void for you on the web and off line. Artists Christina Ray and Kurt Bigenho, and web developer Gilbert Guerrero, have created NoSo (short for No Social Networking)

No So is an anti-flash mob - a non-experience. A network that is there but also is not there at the same time… “a real-world platform for temporary disengagement from your social networking environment. The NoSo experience allows you to create No connections, by scheduling No events, with No friends. When you're not podcasting, you're Skyping, texting, IM-ing, dating, trading, sharing, subscribing, downloading, updating, linking, approving, adding, checking, sending... Sometimes, you need a break. Sometimes, you need NoSo.”

When you attend a NoSo event, you are treated to a group of people sharing a cone of silence. Much like standing in an elevator with strangers - yet people have chosen to come to the NoSo event to sit together, in silence, in respect of each others desire not to socialize.

Next will be NoSho – the anti-social networking phenomenon for those who don’t want to gather together.