More Minnesota schools are learning Facebook style

Schools are friending social media, from unblocking the sites in high school to using online tools in first-grade math.

Minnetonka is one of the nation’s first school districts to try Planet Turtle, a new educational software program designed to drill kids on early math skills. Aimed at the district’s first-, second-, and third-graders, it demands using social media-type tools — forcing kids to interact — rather than working alone with paper-and-pencil worksheets.

The pilot program signals a major shift in school leaders’ attitudes toward social networking in schools.

Once viewed as a hindrance to learning at best, and a threat to student safety at worst, social networking technology is now being embraced by more schools.

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