Education 2.0 – Social Networking and Education
In the last decade, the Internet has changed how teachers and students learn in the classroom. Companies like Google, Wikipedia, and WordPress have opened the door to instant exploration of subjects and questions that haven’t been available in the classroom before. Students are now able to explore the ancient Egyptian pyramids using Google Maps, see updated facts and information on a wiki, or read a famous explorer’s blog posts on their expeditions, all safely from their desks. Classrooms, schools and even districts are able to share and collaborate in private social networks, expanding collective knowledge and relationships to new horizons. The Internet has allowed education to expand past local resources, and draw from a vast library of knowledge that organizations and businesses are actively contributing to everyday.
With our culture’s shift to “social,” companies have created tools that offer free platforms for blogs, wikis and private social networking sites. These simple tools are allowing all of academia to contribute to the ever-expanding online library of knowledge. Now, parts of education are moving out of the classroom and onto the Internet, where knowledge sharing and collaboration is happening beyond the walls of the classroom. Blogs, wikis and private social networks are making a significant impact on how teachers teach, and students learn. We are entering the era of Education 2.0, where online publishing and sharing tools will make a lasting impact on the future of education. So how are these tools being utilized?
Blogs share the knowledge of the classroom, projects, and/or experiences with others who can greatly benefit from the shared knowledge. Roughly 35 percent of school districts in the United States have student and/or teacher run blogs. Blogs provide a place for teachers to post homework, keep parents up-to-date, and interact with students outside the classroom. For students, blogs can showcase work, express interests or convictions, and get peer feedback and response. Blogs bring communication and sharing outside the classroom.
Wikis are an excellent tool for open collaboration and knowledge sharing because they allow everyone to contribute. Roughly 22 percent of United States school districts are involved in creating or maintaining wikis. Educational wikis give teachers and students a place to contribute to the community on the ideas and projects they are working on in the classroom. Wikis teach students how teamwork and collaboration benefit society through knowledge sharing.
Private Social Networks give teachers and students a place to communicate and collaborate around school subjects and projects outside of the classroom in real-time. Teachers can post questions to the class, and students can collaborate on an assignment or a project, making an online environment that further enriches the learning experience. These networks can go beyond just the classroom walls, uniting multiple classrooms and creating an even richer environment for collaboration and knowledge sharing. Free private social networks, like Socialcast, give education a fast and simple way to start these communities.
Blogs, wikis and private social networks are making a significant impact on how teachers teach, and students learn, bringing collaboration and knowledge sharing to new levels in today’s academia. These tools aren’t the complete solution to solving some of the challenges in education, but it is certainly helping teachers and students with new ways to interact in the classroom. These new interactions are shaping the communication habits of young people, who will soon be the future workers of the world. Education 2.0 is starting a communication shift in the classroom, one that is leading to a collaborative and knowledge sharing workforce in the future.
Sources: National School Boards Association (NSBA), Technewsdaily.com, Grunwald Associates LLC, NPR.com