Unit 4: Creating your learning space

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Social networking header.jpg

Unit 4 Activities

Here's the fun part. If you haven't done so already, please go to one or more of the online social networks that interest you and sign up for a profile. If you are not sure how to do this yet, don't worry because we will go over it here. Hopefully, you are feeling comfortable with your knowledge about these sites, their use by educators and students alike, and their potential for enhancing education in a variety of ways. In this unit, you'll watch some tutorials about effectively building a space within three of the online social networking sites we've looked at, and you will have the opportunity to start experimenting with your new space.

Learning Objective

  • You will demonstrate efficient use of a social networking site by generating a new page or learning space for your class and be able to navigate to help areas if additional assistance is necessary.


  • Watch Gina Bianchini, founder and CEO of Ning, describe how to set up and use a Ning social networking space [[1]].

  • Watch Melissa Schenk, Executive Director of MS2 Productions, as she guides you through the ins and outs of FaceBook. This video [[2]] is focused on getting started in Facebook. It is the first of a series of video tutorials on using this social networking site. I also recommend that you watch the FaceBook site tour video [[3]]. If there are specific areas that you would like help with in FaceBook, see the entire series of tutorials for effectively using this social networking space and choose what you would like to learn more about [[4]].

  • Watch this video [[5]] on creating a MySpace profile for the first time. This is also the first of a series of tutorial videos on using this social networking site. If you wish, you can look at the series here [[6]] and see if there is a specific topic you are interested in or would like help with.

  • Interested in learning how Second Life can work for you? This platform is quite different from the others we have looked at because of the 3D virtual environment it exists within. Depending on how you are thinking about using this site, it may also require a financial, as well as, significant time commitment. See how others in education are using this platform and learn about the possibilities [[7]]. It's free to sign up for an avatar and walk around the Second Life world though. If you are interested in doing this, please go to their "10 Steps to Getting Started" page [[8]].

Exploration & Discussion

  • Can you locate where to go for help in the social network you've chosen? Be sure that you can locate this resource early!
  • Talk with your students and/or colleagues about your new foray into the world of online social networks. Do they have any tips or important things to remember to share with you?
  • What features do you enjoy most or are you most interested in learning more about in your social networking site?

Reflection & Closing

The possibilites for social networking sites are vast and varied and this technology is evolving daily. As students continue to expand their use of these sites and the time they spend on them, it seems to makes sense to bring educational opportunities to them here. While this course is only an introduction to these sites, I hope it has inspired you to investigate further and not be intimidated by a technology coveted by young people. As the field of education and opportunities for technological growth expand, I hope you'll consider incorporating more Web 2.0 tools, including the use of social networking sites, into your courses and interactions with students.

Now that you've been introduced to the world of online social networking sites and have had the opportunity to create your own profile page (and maybe more), think about what you've learned in this course and how you plan to use the information.

  • Was this a valuable learning experience for you?
  • Was the course properly sequenced and appropriately paced for you?
  • What do you wish you learned that you didn't?
  • What was your final decision about using a social networking site with your learners?

I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions about An Introduction to Using Social Networking Sites in Education. Please feel free to contact me at Caelynn Prylo.

Along similar lines, another course created in this class that may be of interest to you is Fostering 21st Century Skills


Thanks to vodpod.com and expertvillage.com for providing these video tutorials

Header image taken from cover of report by: National School Boards Association. (2007) Creating and Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking. Alexandria, VA: Vockley & Lang


Back to course main page: An Introduction to Using Social Networking Sites in Education

Feel free to view the workspace for this course on Caelynn's Portfolio Page