Path Offers Educational Applications For Social Networking
Teachers, you know your students probably spend a lot of time on social networks. They probably even sneak some Facebook time in during class. How do you think they'd respond if you gave them an assignment that used a social network as a tool? Thanks to Path, a new social network, you might be able to bring this technology into the classroom.
What Is Path?
Path is a social network that is focused on providing a more intimate social experience for its users. Unlike Facebook, which allows you to make unlimited connections with people, Path is designed for those who want to stay connected with close friends and family. You can have up to 50 friends with this network, making it more likely that you'll limit your connections to those you really care about.
While this limited structure may not appeal to everyone, those who are critical of the way Facebook enables shallow social connections may prefer a more intimate network. If you aren't the sort who is interested in reading about what your middle school classmate did this weekend, or if you don't want to share photos of your vacation with just anyone, Path is designed for you. But this regulated structure could also help teachers bring social networking into the classroom without fear of creating an unsafe, inappropriate, ineffective or distracting environment for students.
How Can It Work for Education?
Path's personalizing capabilities might make it appealing to some teachers. Because it's a network that limits the number of connections you can make, it can be limited to the size of a class. Students and their teacher can then use the network to share information and connect in a regulated way outside of school. And unlike Facebook, there are limited outlets for distraction, like FarmVille or other games and quizzes. Teachers can set up the accounts of students for a classroom Path network, ensuring that all activity on the network remains school appropriate and focused on lessons.
Because Path focuses so much on sharing 'moments' - videos and pictures - this could be a great tool for sharing information about field trips and other class events that would allow students to make educational use of the smartphones and other digital tools they are likely to have with them. Using Path to share information among a class can give teachers the opportunity to let students use technology, rather than fighting against them to make sure the class is staying on track and not getting distracted.
This social network doesn't have endless possibilities in the classroom. As of right now, it really seems focused just on allowing a limited network of people to stay connected. But creative teachers could find a way to make this program work for them in the classroom. And given the amount of time students spend playing around on social networks outside of class, bringing this technology into the classroom might help engage students in a new way.
Though Facebook may not have a lot of classroom applications, it isn't completely devoid of educational relevance. Thanks to a new app that's being developed, you can look for financial aid opportunities on the world's most popular social network.