Social networking versus social learning
There are a number of educationally relevant tools and apps that have social components as part of their learning environment. It is important to recognize the potential of these tools to enhance learning, and understand how they can increase interaction between the teacher and students, and among students. At the same time, it is important to understand that most of these tools fall under the legislation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which states that users must be at least 13 years of age or have the consent of parents. Google Apps is one such tool, which is why the school requires parent consent in order for students to use it in class.
Read more on St. Matthew's Social Networking policy here.
Doing Your Homework: To learn more about different social networks, their pros and cons, and what to watch out for, check with Common Sense Media. In their search bar, simply type in the name of a social network you are curious about. You can view their ratings for age appropriateness, learning value, and topical influences such as sex, violence, consumerism, privacy and safety, etc. Here's a sample search on the social networking tool SnapChat.