I was fascinated to learn that 51% of 8-11 year olds are engaged in online social networking (ACMA, 2009); however based on my prac experiences, I estimate this could be higher in certain demographic schools, as nearly every child in my class participated in Club Penguin. In order to stay up to date with the latest craze, I decided to investgate Club Pengiun and how this popular social network could be incorporated into education.
What is Club Penguin?
Club Penguin is a virtual world for 6-14 year olds, where children control avatar penguin characters that can interact with one another. Children can chat with each other, participate in a range of games and activities, look after virtual pets and participate in Club Penguin parties, events and plays and much more. Club Penguin offers two levels of security, one where children can only use and recieve a series of pre-defined questions, answers and greetings, the other uses a filter that limits exchange of personal information and inappropriate content. In addition, parents can control the amount of time children spend on Club Penguin, with parent controlled timers that allow the website to enforce daily limits.
How can this be used in education?
The Club Penguin website describes multiple benefits of their social network, including;
- Development of keyboard skills.
- Creativity through role play.
- Math and money management skills.
- Social skills.
- Learning about participation in a community.
Club Penguin is by no means the only children's social network that could be incorporated into teaching, see Sarah Kesslers article on children's social networks for further suggestions.
Australian Communications and Media Authority (2009). Click and Connect: Young Australians us of Online Social Media 02: Quantitative Research Report.