Do Bebo and Facebook have educational potential?

In this week’s Multiple choice (in the Guardian Education Supplement), a parent, teacher & student were asked the above question.
Both the teacher

As a teacher, I think this kind of site has got to be part of the future.

and the parent

but I do think it’s possibly more likely you’ll get more from teenagers from Facebook than from having them hand in a conventional essay.

were more positive than the student:

I don’t think we should access MySpace or Facebook during lesson time, but some social networking sites could be involved in learning as long as they were used at break time or after school.

I tend to side more with the student, in that it’s the informal use of Facebook etc., that will be of use. The points that both the parent & teacher make, however, would cover the use of tools used to develop specific learning networks – using the skills students have developed using social networks.

I’d be wary of using the same tool for both; I like to keep personal life & work separate. However, others are less pedantic – roll on true “open Social” I say!

(N.B In the online version, the student & parent views were labelled in the opposite way to the paper based version. I’m assuming the paper is right, as the comments fit better that way)

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