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Social networking environments gain their strength through the semantic power of connections amongst groups of people. If I am a member of a certain group, I can gain access to their knowledge and their preferences. Group membership derives from either direct linking or joining (e.g., Facebook or Flickr streams) or from semantic filtering (e.g., when I am steered toward certain information or spaces that a certain group of others is also steered toward). Social networks are a rapidly emerging area of software and online community application.

Social networking sites contain a significant amount of personal information and many people leave them open for the world to view. People inadvertently may be providing bits and pieces of personal information such as dates of birth, addresses, employer's name that criminals can use to create new identities. These sites are also sources of information for law enforcement and private investigators as well as participants' employers looking to vet employees for promotions or pre-employment screening. This can be a more serious risk for younger users such as high school students who may become targets for predators. Education about the risks of using any technology should be mandatory.

Pedagogical Goals and Approaches


Knowledge Media within this theme

Edmodo is an effective communication took for students and teachers.  It is a website similar to Facebook, but for an educational setting.  It includes added protection for the privacy of it's participants.  On Edmodo, a teacher can create surveys and polls for their students.  Teachers can post assignments and calendars.  The site also allows teachers to award badges for achievement.

Teachers can have a central website and link it to created web pages for different subjects or assignments.  Third-party programs such as TurnItIn or Google Docs can be integrated into the page.  

Skype can be used for webinars, or video lectures; Webinars can be an excellent forum for creating an online community.  A professor and various participants (students) can all go online at an agreed-upon time, and communicate about a given educational topic, and have their class online rather than in person.

  • Swurl
    • This one offers great utilities, among others you can bring together all the SN you already use.
  • Twitter
  • WooMe
    • Speed dating site where you spend a minute meeting potential mates via Webcam. Real-time social networking. Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom is a backer.
  • Yahoo Mash
  • Ning
  • Sina Weibo (Stian)
    • Build your own social network

Social Networking Environments Tools

Design Ideas


* Fall 2008

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