Today, there are an increasing number of teachers using technology in the classroom – from computers, interactive whiteboards and tablets, to mobile phones and game consoles. These devices require connection to the Internet, which is a vast display of resources that cannot be found in traditional resource books. There is rise in the amount of content available online, from up-to-the-minute videos, songs, and educational games that provide authentic language models and make classes more varied, relevant and attractive to young learners. The Internet also offers learners the opportunity to practice their language skills on their own devices, encouraging learner autonomy.
However, besides being a wonderful teaching and learning tool, the Internet can pose great risks if not used safely. There are a series of possible risks for young learners, particularly when it comes to: content (young people viewing age-inappropriate websites); conduct (children posing as older than their real age; ‘sexting’ – an exchange of sexual messages or images, or placing images of other children online); and contact (including targeting children through chat rooms or social networking sites). If not educated about these risks, young people may find themselves facing difficulties, even dangerous situations in the future.
The new wave of young people is definitely going to be known as the instagram generation, Jason Silva puts it, as proposed by one of the most prominent modern day psychologists and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. The importance of the Internet is increasing for the new generations. It’s a big part of how they spend their free time: listening to music, watching movies, and spending hours on end chatting with friends via Facebook or other social networking websites. In a situation like this, both teachers and parents have to be aware of the possible risks.
That is why Digital Literacy for EFL Students has decided to introduce social networks as part of the course’s curriculum, in order to raise awareness among the young participants about the risks, but also to highlight the advantages to it. There are some websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
This is the list of the 15 most popular social networks used today:
1,100,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
1,000,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly
310,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service
255,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Pinterest – photo sharing website
250,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
120,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Tumblr – microblogging platform and social networking website
110,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Instagram – photo-sharing, video-sharing,
100,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Reddit – entertainment, social news networking service, and news website
85,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- VK – largest European online social networking service
80,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Flickr – image hosting and video hosting website
65,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Vine – short-form video sharing service where users can share six-second-long looping video clips
42,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Meetup – social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world
40,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- Ask.fm – send each other questions
37,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
- ClassMates – originally sought to help users find classmates and colleagues
15,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
Which social networks have you used so far? What kind of contents do you usually share? How do you promote content on different social networks? Do you have a fan page on Facebook, or a You Tube channel, or do you use #hashtags? How much time does it take you to update your social networks accounts?
Please share your answers in the comments section.