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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We Network Our Pets but not our Students

So many Web 2.0 sites are proliferating, but Social Networking for Pets?  The only social networking I've ever noticed with my cute little doggie engaging in is the sharing of her backside with the neighbor's Chihuahua!

ZooToo allows pet lovers to network, answer questions, and help their pets... well, network.

I find it ironic that pet networking would probably have a higher success rate than educational networking, and yet, Classroom 2.0 has almost 11,000 members, and I actually meet people on there. 

I find it shameful to hear so many teachers talk of the obstacles for instituting educational networks between our students and wish our textbook companies would take more of a leadership role in this.  I think the worst enemy is that so many educators insist on calling it "social" networking.

I'm sorry, I don't run a social network! I run educational networks and they are to be used for that purpose.  Do they talk about their personal lives and hobbies? Yes, sometimes.  Do they socialize? Is it where they want to head after school -- I don't think so.

They love our networks but they have a purpose.  It is an extension of my class and I treat it as such. 

So, when you roll out a Ning or other network to your students, don't call it a social network or you're heading for trouble.  Do you want the responsibility of monitoring a SOCIAL network?  I don't. 

It is educational network, I am an educator.  I have a classroom with online and offline spaces. 

So, let's network but let's also understand what we are doing and be careful of language that will misrepresent what we're trying to do.

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