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The Wood Word

The news site of Marywood University

The Wood Word

The news site of Marywood University

The Wood Word

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New social network combines work and pleasure

Tiffany Saar
Staff Writer

Facebook has been in most college students’ lives for at least five years. It has been for fun, and talking to people that we do not see on a regular basis. Sometimes Facebook is a big distraction to our work. It is more fun to be on Facebook then to write that English paper that is due next week. But with social media’s becoming more and more popular, can it be that teacher’s are going to join in on the fun and technology to relay messages, and possibly teach class?

It’s true. There is a new social network called Mixable. Mixable does exactly what its title implies. It mixes work and pleasure through technology. It is a network were students can take a tour of a virtual class room, and get news from class mates. The set up is much like Facebook. The professor can enter an assignment and then relay it to the students. Then students can discuss the matter at hand, and even post links to support their assignment, and do their research. This can also be used for just plain social networking such as the other networks, but unlike Facebook (the most popular version right now), myspace, and even Twitter, Mixable is used as a learning and teaching tool.

There are not very many differences, but one big one for most people would be there are no friend requests. The program will be programmed based on your class schedule; everyone who is in the class, including the professor is included as a “friend.” They can all view your profile, and share in the class work and discussions.

Mixable wants to make it known that the conversation is owned by the student, a professor or other student can not limit them, and if the conversation is “private” then it is what it says.

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Gerry McCartney, the Purdue CIO says it makes sense to position Mixable with in Facebook. It is were the students are. Mixer encourages students and users alike to mix their work and play on Facebook, but most students have not entered into that style of social networking quite yet. To encourage that some faculty have advocated for using Facebook as a pedagogical tool, because students are already familiar with its environment, and how to use it. The professors and other faculty believe that this will encourage students to get more involved in their work, and actually be more excited about it. It will take the everyday got to go to class routine out of their lives, and let them experience a sense of a virtual class room, with all of the benefits of being in a class room.

Purdue University is currently using Mixable in four class courses. The students and teachers alike are learning the program, and experiencing it for the first time. By the spring semester of next year, the school hopes to have seven classes that are full time users of the network. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, all the students are thrilled with their modern version of learning. They say it gives them more resources such as the Internet, and they can use a form of communication they are familiar with. They also feel like people have more courage to say what they feel verses worrying about what others in the class will think. The professors are equally thrilled because they feel the students are communicating more and more freely. Plus, professors can give a more detailed assignment and the students can follow it because it is always right at their fingertips.

So…look out Marywood….we could be the next campus with Mixable classrooms. Say good-bye to the old school class room, and hello to the freedom we find in our everyday technology.

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