Sunday, August 12, 2007

Reexamining Social Networking in Schools....?

Recently David Warlick pointed to an article in which the National School Board Association is encouraging schools to re-examine their social networking policies and the conversation surrounding this has been interesting around the blog-o-sphere. If you haven't read the NSBA's Creating and Connecting Report, I encourage you to do so...Will Richardson looked at some of the statistics and the fact that many districts have their own structured online professional communities.

As I was thinking about the implications of the NSBA article, I came across an interesting article in CNN Money about a report done by Microsoft, MTV and Nickelodeon and while I can't find the report itself, Microsoft's press release was posted globally from to IndiaInfoline, and the findings as stated in THIS report were intriguing:
  The report found:
-- Technology has enabled young people to have more and closer
friendships thanks to constant connectivity.
-- Friends influence each other as much as marketers do. Friends are as
important as brands.
-- Kids and young people don't love the technology itself -- they just
love how it enables them to communicate all the time, express
themselves and be entertained.
-- Digital communications such as IM, email, social networking sites and
mobile/sms are complementary to, not competitive with, TV. TV is part
of young peoples' digital conversation.
-- Despite the remarkable advances in communication technology, kid and
youth culture looks surprisingly familiar, with almost all young
people using technology to enhance rather than replace face-to-face
-- Globally, the number of friends that young males have more than
doubles between the ages of 13-14 and 14-17 -- it jumps from 24 to 69.
-- The age group and gender that claims the largest number of friends are
not girls aged 14-17, but boys aged 18-21, who have on average 70
The article goes on to examine each of these trends...with a bit of a marketing twist...
I give this as an example "And for IM, the top topics for 14-24s were: gossiping (62%), making arrangements (57%), talking about the opposite sex (57%) and flirting (55%), work or school (54%) and TV and music (52%). "Given the amount of time young people are spending on instant messenger every day presents a very powerful opportunity for brands to connect with the youth audience. When on IM, teenagers are at their most engaged and interactive," said Vogt. [Caroline Vogt, Head of International Research, Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions.]

For as much press as the NSBA article is getting, I was surprised that this is not getting as much "airtime" Hmmm, the advertising industry is saying connect to kids, the NSBA is saying connect to kids, yes...change is tough and scary, but isn't it time we start to examine how we are connecting to kids in schools? Thoughts?


  1. I realize that we are talking about more that facebook and myspace, but these sites are going to hold my attention this year. I have plans to use them to keep interest high, to track projects, give assignments and feedback, etc.

    One thing that I will have examine is how much this will expose me to my students. Already with IM I get nudged all the time, often with questions or even someone just saying hi. How connected am I willing to be?

  2. Interesting point Bill..
    PLUS the more connected I become with my seems like it will become difficult to keep professional and personal lives separate...PLUS a new etiquette will need to be established. How much "just saying hi" in IM can you handle is the question