A very popular form of new literacies is social networking. Facebook, Twitter and Myspace have all changed the way in which social interactions occur. Using new media allows people to be able to keep in contact with others all over the world in a matter of seconds. Different social cues are used on social networking sites, and these skills need to be taught to students. “Established social practices have been transformed, and new forms of social practice have emerged and continue to emerge at a rapid rate.” (Lankshear and Knobel, 2006, p.24). As Jenkins et al confirms, almost all of these new literacies involve social skills “These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom.” (2006, p.4). One main issue with social networking is that it is so public. “Social network sites have complicated our lives because they have made this rapid shift in public life very visible.” (Boyd, 2007, p.23). Young people especially, aren’t entirely aware of how public social domains are, and they put inappropriate comments or pictures online. According to James et al, these young people “don’t necessarily understand what their actions mean and what effects those actions can bring.” (2008, p.11). Educators need to make their students aware of the risks associated with putting their thoughts, photos and personal information on such a public forum. As well as being potentially dangerous being on a social networking site for young people, it can be as equally damaging not to be a part of it. Social networking is a form of socialising, and if students are denied access to it, they can be missing out on an important part of our society. As Boyd, states “it is critical for young people to engage in broader social settings to develop these skills.” (2007, p.12). New literacies need to be promoted as a credible way for students to extend their learning.
“Education is being viewed as ineffective, irrelevant and unproductive by the emerging gamer generation… It’s time to rethink the way educators deliver knowledge to learners.” Mengal et al, 2007). As educators, we need to look at different ways that we can effectively teach and engage our students. Using a virtual reality program, such as Second Life, allows learners to become immersed in their own education. (Mengal et al, 2007.) Fluck, also agrees that virtual reality can extend students’ learning, “…technological innovations generally known as ‘virtual reality’ can extend children’s learning, by giving them a simulation of an alternative learning environment… These alternative environments vary greatly in quality and in learning potential.” (2000, p.115).