The School of Social Networks

Uneven chatbot-based digital citizenship site has some good content

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

3–5

Subjects & Skills

Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

Great for

Digital Citizenship, Game-Based Learning, Social Media

Price: Free
Platforms: Web

Pros: Interactive chats give students choices. Lots of downloadable lessons and activities for teachers and families.

Cons: Card game doesn't work. The chat box is a neat idea, but poorly implemented, confusing. No language filters.

Bottom Line: There's a decent set of resources here for adaptation, but the interactive experience is frustrating and not fully fleshed out.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

The School of Social Networks is a free digital citizenship and online safety program that features an interactive experience, blending an interactive chatbot and a card collecting game. There are also downloadable lessons and activities for teachers and families to support the interactive experience. The different components of The School of Social Networks work best in tandem. To begin with, select from the lessons to build students' knowledge and understanding of how their online actions can affect them and those around them, both in the present and in the future. Next, supplement the lessons with some of the activities and AI-supported chats on the site. It might even be fun to place students in pairs or groups and have them discuss the card topics or see how their chats differ based on their responses. Note that this experience can be a bit confusing and distracting, and it also lacks solid onboarding, so teachers will want to work through it first themselves, and then walk students through it as a class and be available to help when students are let loose. Be aware that the interactive chat (which unfortunately doesn't have content filters) ends after a half-hour or so of play, at which point students are free to explore the site. You'll want to warn students that while they can collect cards, the card game is broken and should be avoided. After students work through the lessons and chats, teachers can share lessons with families that they can do at home with their children to supplement and reinforce what they're learning in school.

Disclosure: Common Sense Education has a curriculum that addresses topics similar to those addressed in The School of Social Networks. However, Common Sense's reviews strive to be independent and unbiased. Reviewers and editorial staff have independent oversight over the content of the reviews and their ratings.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

The chatbot monsters ask questions and give students meaningful choices. The card game doesn't work, and the pop-ups get confusing. Teacher-led lessons will work best.

Pedagogy

The downloadable lessons feature good if not innovative content that gets students to reflect on their online lives. The chatbot is clunky and mostly just informational.

Support

Students can choose their level of interaction with the chatbot, but the onboarding isn't great.  The site could use more built-in accessibility features, especially considering its text-reliance.

Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

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