Topics covered in this chapter include
  • What is a social network?
  • Social networking basics
  • Group-based social networks in education
  • Setting up a social network
  • Educational benefits of social networking
  • Pedagogy
  • Connecting outside the classroom
  • Familiarity
  • Special considerations for social networks
  • Privacy
  • Cyberbullying
  • Data collection
  • Age of sign up
  • Uploading contacts or address books
  • Should I use Facebook with students?
  • Choosing a social networking service
  • Using your network for online role plays

For more detail, read Chapter 11 of Using Social Media in the Classroom. A best practice guide.
  • Social networking can be group-based (e.g., Ning, or individual-based (e.g., Facebook, MySpace). This page deals only with group-based social networks.
  • Create groups, forums, events, notes, announcements
  • Great as a class development and communication tool
  • Share files, podcasts, videos, photos and more

Social networks are suitable for
  • Brainstorming
  • Collaboration
  • Communication and knowledge sharing
  • Feedback
  • Networking
  • Object sharing
  • Opinion building and sharing
  • Presentation and dissemination of information

Special considerations
  • See Using Social Media in the Classroom for special considerations regarding student use of social networks, including issues relating to privacy, cyberbullying, data collection, age of sign up, uploading contacts or address books, and Facebook.


Ideas for use with your class
  • Ask students to form groups around class topics. Get them to post videos, audios, photos etc. and to comment on why they have posted them.
  • Get students to form sub-groups within the class network. They can then set up forums for their group and discuss privately upcoming group assessment items.
  • Use social networks to manage an off-campus group for placement or fieldwork students.
  • Set up a reading group using the discussion forums on a social network.
  • Give group feedback on assignments using an announcements tool.
  • Manage your class using a social networking site: post latest assignment information, announcements, topics for discussion, useful links and media, etc.
  • There are more ideas for use with your class in Chapter 11 of Using Social Media in the Classroom.

Sites, applications, and tool
Social network evaluation list

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Further reading

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