SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES AS A TEACHING RESOURCE

A. Horno López

Universidad de Granada, Facultad de Bellas Artes Alonso Cano (SPAIN)
One of the new challenges associated with improving the teaching-learning process in class is getting cooperative models to strengthen the overall development of students and to facilitate communication between teachers and students.
The social networking websites are changing dramatically the way we relate. At present, more than 900 million people are already heavy users of this new way to socialize and communicate. The popularity of social networking has been as sudden as impressive. Virtual communication tools were born just four or five years ago ─as is the case of Tuenti, Twitter or Facebook─ are now saturated with millions of users with the same purpose: relationships between them. The increase of people using these websites is so explosive that, for example, users of Facebook in Spain have risen from four million active users over eight in one year.
The possibilities of these websites are very large, there are a wide variety of them (social networking for young or old, sites to make new friends, stay connected with our contacts, for learning or just as entertainment) and all the websites have in common the same goal: to keep the user in constant connection with the rest of the world.
The ability to connect people is inherent in social networking services and this may have an immediate application in the field of education. In this article we review the different characteristics and potential uses of social networks in relation to strictly educational objectives. In this way we intend to take advantage of these applications as a means to encourage contact, dialogue, communication, and cooperation between students and teachers.