The Web 2.0 nowadays has increasingly brought into stage the interaction between the visitor and the site itself. These sites provide applications, in which those users can interact, modify and adapt them to certain requirements they consider necessary. These web locations belong to a wide range of sites available today which are named “social networks sites” (SNS) and are:
“…web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.” (Boyd, 2008 p.211).
Social network sites (SNSs) as MySpace or Facebook have now millions of users who have integrated those sites into their daily routines. We have in the web hundreds of SNSs, with different technological applications which vary from site to site, but the two aspects that distinguishes these ones from other forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC), is that they emphasizes relationship initiation and continuing social connection between strangers or known persons. Additionally, “they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks. This can result in connections between individuals that would not otherwise be made” (Boyd, 2008).
“Some sites cater to diverse audiences, while others attract people based on common language or shared racial, sexual, religious, or nationality-based identities. Sites also vary in the extent to which they incorporate new information and communication tools, such as mobile connectivity, blogging, and photo/video-sharing” (Boyd, 2008 p.210).
Facebook for instance, is a social networking website intended to connect friends, family, and business associates. It was founded around 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook users create a profile page that shows their friends and networks information about them. The profile typically includes the following: Information, Status, Friends, Friends in Other Networks, Photos, Notes, Groups, and The Wall. Those users are able also to search for friends and acquaintances by e-mail address, school, university, or just by typing in a name or location for search. One popular feature on Facebook is the ability to share photographs uploaded from any device and to allow only friends to see their pictures or anyone if it is wanted. People can play also with applications such as “Hugs”, “Farmville” among many others (www.wisegeek.com).
One of the applications Facebook has is the group creation link. We can get into this page and create our own group (public and available to everyone or private or restricted to only those invited) by including anything from grade school connections to hobbies and interests and according to our feelings and view about life, professional performance, food, etc. Other feature Facebook has is group formation which can be created by users similarly; the Events feature allows friends to organize parties, concerts, and other get together in the real world. Users can also become fans of everything such as people, organizations, television shows, movies, and musicians (www.wisegeek.com).
This post is due to explain how social networks as Facebook can be used to adapt our perspective of the teaching of English filed to gather people on the same field and with the same view on this topic. We were asked to create a group based on the teaching of English field and make our classmates participate in this group. They had to join this group (previous invitations) and comment about the purpose and goals for the group. Mine was “Changing Paradigms on the English Teaching in Los Valles del Tuy”. With this group I made an attempt to join every person, English teacher I know to make him or her participates and makes his or her own participation, give feedback to what has been done by other teachers and provide group participants with worth information than could help to improve actual performance.
The goal of this group is indeed try to change what has been done in the field of teaching English in the area. Unfortunately, and despite of the lots of resources available nowadays, we still are living two centuries behind in terms of methodology. The English classes are concentrated mostly on grammar, forgetting or placing aside communication and its important role in the field. If we are going forward in terms of methodology in the Caracas area, still in los Valles del Tuy are suffering the disadvantages of not seeing making English communication among other aspects.
In regards to English Teaching, Facebook provides huge advantages since we can use the site applications to make learning more efficient and meaningful at the same time. We can for instance, upload pictures and make the students talk about them (see “Describing People” or “What were you doing when…” at my personal account). We can also create groups and make invitations to participate in this group (look for “Changing Paradigms on the English Teachingin Los Valles del Tuy” in my personal account) among other things that the site can provide to the teaching of English area.
· Boyd, D. (2008) Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. [On line journal] Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, School of Information, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media Michigan State University. Available: http://wiki.nus.edu.sg/download/attachments/57742900/Social+Network+Sites+JCMC+Boyd.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1263641502920. [source consulted 2011, July 15]
· WISEGEEK. What is Facebook? [Web site]. Available: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-facebook.htm. [Source consulted 2011, July 15]