Social Media in the Classrooms and Beyond
On April 28 the entire public school system of Oregon adopted Google Apps. Students, teachers, and administrators have access to common e-mail and chat systems, cloud-based collaboration tools and multimedia streaming service. This will save the schools money, boost academic performance and motivation, and prepare students for digital communication in the real world.
Twitter, Facebook and Nintendo DS are required curricula in some schools. Harvard was the first university to embrace Foursquare to create a campus-based game that rewards students with badges and points for exploring the school and surrounding places of interest.
There are 30,000 video conferencing systems in US schools, service centers, district offices and departments of education. Video conferencing has been connecting students across the US and the world to bring religion, geography, history and service learning to vibrant life.
In 2009, a third grade teacher introduced Boxcar Children to her class and setup a twitter feed for the book and embedded them into a media center wiki for them to follow. They learned the roles of an editor and came up with questions for an interview using EtherPad and Skyped with the editor of Boxcar Children to do the interview.
Skype is being used by Marquette University in the virtual language exchange. The students keep in touch with their digital pen-pals from South America through Facebook. Leicester University in the UK turned to Twitter when the students were not check the email systems or message boards. Students were provided with an iPod touch, given instructional materials, and told they had to make a few academic-related tweets each day. Soon, a thriving community grew, complete with @replies and hashtags flying back-and-forth between participants, tutors, and even members outside of the program. Additionally, the study has become an unexpected marketing boon for the university. 
Twitter is the world’s real-time conversation and news. During the Haiti earthquake and the Iceland volcano eruption, vital information was relayed that call centers and websites could not do. I found that following Twitter feeds and seeing clips on YouTube was more informative then our broadcast news was. I do not even look at a paper anymore. Could this be where news broadcasting is heading? And for international students from a disaster area, this is the best way of communication between them and families.
If you’ve ever wanted to have more real-time interaction for you and your friends, then Clobby is for you. This just launched application will let you conduct massive multiplayer chats right from your Facebook page. It’s an interesting idea for engaging people around a topic, an event or a piece of content, such as a news article or video. Users can host virtual parties and integrate Clobby for real-time interaction with their fans and friends. This app adds a “Chat” tab to the upper part of your Facebook page. 
I personally run a program that brings all my social media apps along with my emails into one interface. I can chat, do updates to all sites and see if anything is pending on any site with one glance. My 75 year mother uses it and loves it. She can see when I am online so she can chat with me.
Because of the growing use of Facebook and Twitter, there is now a way to cite the updates. The web pages explaining it can be found at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/03/how-to-cite-facebook-fan-pages-group-pages-and-profile-information.html and http://www.google.com/reader/view/?hl=en&tab=wy#search/citations/6
–JoLynn O’hearn for RIS.
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