Flock is a social networking browser. That means that users of Flock can easily access their Flickr, del.icio.us, blog, and newsfeed accounts from the browser drop-down menus and toolbars. Users don’t have to go to each website, login, navigate to (or through) their account, etc. Instead, with a very quick Flock setup process social networking sites are easily viewed and accessed with only one click in the browser window. For example, once the login for a Flickr account is added to the Flock browser, photos in that account are available at the top of the browser window. The user can upload new photos with the click of one button and can manage the photos that already exist within the account.
Think about the teen who keeps a blog and is surfing the web and her RSS feeds for fun or information. While surfing, the teen finds some great content that she would like to blog about. No need for her to open a new tab or window, go to her blog URL, login, and start typing. She can simply click on the blog link in Flock and open the new blog post window. When she’s done she publishes. It’s a much more seamless approach to writing about web content than most people use.
How is this a positive use of social networking? Well, it takes many of the tools YALSA bloggers have been talking about for the past 30 days and makes them easily accessible in one interface. Teens can setup their Flock browser to directly provide access to the social networking tools they use the most. They will save time when they use the tools and they will be much more organized users of the tools.
In a DOPA world, a browser like Flock would not be available in school and public libraries. That would mean that teens wouldn’t have the opportunity to easily manage their social networking lives. Even in real-life, people want to find opportunitites to manage their social lives effectively. The same is true in online life. Flock is definitely a way to do that.
This week, October 30-November 3 in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina the 3rd Annual League of Worlds conference is taking place at Appalachian State University. The topic is Online Simulations, Role-Playing, and Virtual Worlds.
Follow the wiki for updated information.
The InfoIsland Library project and Eye4You Alliance island will be represented through a presentation. Several YALSA members are involved in the project.
See previous YALSA blog post on the project.
Virtual worlds are a hugely rich environment to offer library services to teens.
Posted by Kelly Czarnecki
During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #27.
Blogs aren’t just for kids anymore. They can be an excellent way to share information with parents. One of my favorite examples of social networking software in action in a school environment is the use of blogging at Mabry Middle School in Marietta, Georgia. Every single teacher at the school has a blog. That includes the principal (who is the school webmaster!), the school nurse, the PTSA, the counselors, the media center, PE and intramurals, as well as all the language arts, math, social studies, music, art, science, and foreign language teachers. Sure, some of the blogs are more extensive than others, but every teacher posts at least once a week and categorizes his or her postings. So a parent can go to a teacher’s blog and either read the latest entries and/or select a category of interest, including topics like homework, announcements, quiz help, All State (Chorus) Info, and “Gettin’ down to earth science.”
Wikis can also be used to keep parents and community informed. When track season rolls around again, I’m betting that Deer Valley High School coaches will go back to updating their track wiki. Here’s what they have to say about why a wiki works for them: “Making our website a wiki makes it easier for us to keep it up-to-date. And a wiki is perfect for a track team since we have so many coaches working in the many track & field events. We can all up date when we feel like it.” The photo spreads are made up of images stored on Flickr.com. All around, a great use of social networking software!
If legislation like DOPA is passed, school staffs will lose a valuable method for keeping parents and other stakeholders informed and involved.
During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #26.
ResultR gives users the chance to create their own personalized search engine. Visitors to the site select which search tools they want to use, save the search engine, and either use it right away, add it to Firefox, or get the code for a search box to add to a web page. It was developed by two teens as a way to complete a homework assignment.
This mashup of search tools demonstrates many of the things discussed as a part of the positive uses of social networking blogs over the past 26 days. ResultR demonstrates how teens are using social networking technologies in order to learn, innovate, and complete school homework. It shows teens using social networking technologies as a way to develope ideas and to find people who can work on projects together. It shows teens using social networking technologies as a form of entrepreneurship.
ResultR is just one example of teenagers using social networking as a start in the business world. For example, at 15, Mariana Butler of the EmoGirl podcast was the first teenager to receive commercial sponsorship for a podcast. Other teens have developed competitors for sites like Flickr and YouTube.
Social networking doesn’t just connect teens to others, it also gives teens the chance to become a part of the real-world through business opportunities and ventures. What would happen if DOPA were passed and teens didn’t have these entrepreneurial possibilities?
During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #25.
Social networking technologies often allow for people to express their own opinions. A teen can set up their own blog in less than five minutes, post a comment on a forums board, or share what materials they are reading through LibraryThing. Check out SLJs recent article and podcast on LibraryThing here.
People who read and contribute to blogs, forums boards, wikis, etc. are being given the choice to be exposed to information that they might not otherwise come across as readily. Is it not slightly ironic, that DOPA targets school and public libraries, which are places that historically protect the freedom to access information?
It is my opinion that there are many parallels between Banned Books and freedom in the digital world. Making connections between the two, as well as being familiar with sites such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation might help us understand why DOPA is not the beginning and is not going to be the end of legislation affecting the digital world. It might help us to want to inform the teens we work with who use these technolgies of what the bigger picture is and not just be reactive or hope it will go away.
I wonder if Teen Tech Week might be one of many places to continue the dialogue of freedoms in the digital world and why/how it is just as important as protecting our freedom to read books.
Posted by Kelly Czarnecki
During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #24.
Social networking technologies support young people’s active ability to learn on their own without having an education system imposed on them. Many mission statements of school and public libraries involve, empowering individuals. Helene Blowers, Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, has an excellent discussion on control and empowerment in this blog post from last month.
If DOPA would have passed in its current form, control would overwhelmingly outweigh the innate ability for teens to learn and create on their own through social networking.
Recent Library Student graduate, Jami Schwarzwalder’s podcast on:
is an engaging listen as to how social networking tools influenced her life as a millennial and how they empowered her to actively learn on her own, and bring that knowledge to libraries.
Posted by Kelly Czarnecki