As the semester draws to a close, one looks back at the main focus of the class which was to look at education, technology and culture.  As I stated in a previous post, education is the key that unlocks the door, technology is the door and culture is actually what is behind the door.  So in our culture, what is actually behind our door?  This question is complex in that many opportunities exist behind the door of our culture and technology plays an integral part.

According to Danah Boyd (http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html) social networking sites are an important part of our culture because since the start of Facebook, MySpace and others, millions of individuals have made this type of technology part of their everyday lives.  Technology is supposed to make our lives much easier and well organized but why are people in today’s society having trouble taking time out of their “busy” schedules to stop by and chat with an “old” friend.  The answer could be that people don’t have to “stop by” to know what is going on in someone’s life.  It is very easy to catch up with old friends or meet new friends without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Due to the creation of social networking sites, individuals can be in better control of the individuals they meet and the people they allow into their lives.  It creates an open environment where people can accept and reject individuals without the guilt.  This type of social setting allows individuals to be paired up based on interest and it protects you from being aggregated by those that you don’t want in your life (we all have some of those).  It allows one to be social when and where they choose to be social!

I actually joined several social networking sites while I was preparing to write this ethnography.  Some of those sites included Twitter, Dogster.com, MySpace, Classroom 2.0 and I am pretty sure I joined a few others that I can’t think of right now.  And the main concept that was apparent in each of the sites, was the fact that each site is based the interest of the individual. Those who choose to be part of an SNS are looking for the same thing and that is information based on their requirements and interest.  SNS’s are like being at a party; individuals get involved in conversations in which there is common interest.  If you join into a conversation and it doesn’t interest you, basically you excuse yourself and move on to something you are interested in.  Social Networking Sites are the same concept except you are not face to face and you don’t have to excuse yourself; you slip out the cyber door and know one ever knows you’re gone.

Social networking sites are going to become an important part of the educational process but it may take some time to know exactly where they are going to “fit in”.  Some teachers will be better at utilizing they types of sites than others based on their own knowledge base.  As I stated before, I teach computers and have access to a lab full of computer daily.  So for me to incorporate social networking sites into my lesson will not be that complicated.  As previously stated, I am currently working on a unit that will not only include SNS’s but it will also include the use of blogs as an online journal.  Technology is an important part of our educational system and our culture and individuals better be ready to step up to the plate and hit a home run!

Advertisements