Social Networking and Education

This post is actually a comment that I made on the Teach Paperless blog that I follow. That blog has only been live a short time but has inspired many thoughts in my head. The original post was about Facebook and My Space making things easier. Might be a good idea to read the original first. Here's what I replied:

I recently got an email from our district IT people and superintendent. It stated that we should be using school webpages, email and moodle sites instead of trying to use things such as Twitter, Facebook, Wikispaces. I won't even start my tirade on sites that are blocked on the school network.

Here's the problem that I have. The resources they suggested are extremely limited. The ones that aren't limited (Moodle) have a large learning curve (for me, let alone the students).

In addition, the audience is limited. Who wants to write something on a school web page that has an audience of 2, the writer and the reader. (I'm not naive and know that the rest of the class isn't reading each other.)

Using Twitter, students can post learning updates for the world and get feedback. Using a blog, they can have readers from Australia and get feedback from Norway.

That's learning. The teacher is not the end all, be all, final word in what a student learns. I've got my objectives based on state standards but the learning can go so much farther than that and let students see the world around them.
I welcome your thoughts in the comments.