I was reading a couple of articles in SLJ today about using social networking on the web for educational purposes. In the first article a librarian noted that she has had little success with Facebook as an "outreach" tool. It seems students are not interested in using Facebook for educational purposes. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6484350.html
This reminded me of an experience I had with a group of students who are avid graphic novel and manga readers. I showed them samples of graphic novels I had been sent by Scholastic and some publishing companies. Famous events in history had been retold in the graphic or comic book format. The kids were immediately scornful. They didn't want a medium that they know and like to be used to sugar coat school content. They criticized the poor artwork and felt the poor quality writing and art was an insult to good quality graphic novels.
The other article http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6493459.html
reported the results of a survey that said 60% of polled students reported using social networking sites for educational purposes. I would like to see a definition of or examples of "educational purposes". The same study said that 52% of school districts block social networking sites.
What educational defensible uses can be made of social networking sites in a school setting? Do school districts need to rethinking their blocking software?