Social networking communities are here to stay, and there is no question that today’s students are actively engaged in these online networks. This begs the question: what is the effect of social media and video sharing on the way we learn?
In the past, social media was an innovative way to stay in touch with friends and families and to make new connections. Today, the phenomenon of social media may very well be its evolution – from a simple network for purely social purposes to a tool that plays a huge role in our daily lives. Nowadays, we not only communicate but also shop, research, work, and learn through social media.
Social media is a tool that allows students and educators to share information and build a sense of community. Many major universities, including Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale, offer online courses, some even on YouTube. These classes often never meet in a physical lecture hall, but there is direct involvement by both the professors and students. Classes “meet” in Google Hangouts, chat rooms, and even use Twitter to engage in discussions.
Social media’s role in education
There is no question that social media has a place in education. Studies have shown that social networking has increased the quality and rate of collaboration for students and has helped improve the ability to work in groups. It also helps students learn skills they’ll need in the business world – building and maintaining connections is essential. But that’s not all – online learning has changed in recent years.
The internet is a vast arena of information, and one can learn a lot just by surfing in the comfort of their own home. It used to be that learning something online was a lot like going to your local library: a lot of simple online how-to articles and research documents were available for reading. However, learning online is now a truly multi-media experience, with online videos, tutorials, and step-by-step articles for just about every topic imaginable.
Keeping up with the trends
The world of social media is always changing, as is the world of education. Educators are always looking for new and improved methods of teaching students. Students are always looking for a better way to learn and find information.
Even outside of professional academia, social media enables people to connect with others who are interested in learning similar skills – and they can share their experiences, knowledge, and ideas to solve problems. For those interested in keeping up with the latest developments in online learning, it is helpful to look at a technology blog. Simply searching for digital media news allows you to stay on top of the latest trends in social media and how it affects education – and just about everything else.
Thanks to the ease and speed with which you can upload videos and pictures, as well as the expansiveness of social media, it has become an educational phenomenon, and one that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
Mobile technology in education
Technology has been making inroads into education for decades. But the mobile revolution is changing education in more fundamental ways than just providing a new gadget that delivers information. Mobile devices, particularly tablets, are changing the way we learn and think about learning.
Last year, a Pew Research Center-Harvard University study found that one in four teenagers in the US owns a tablet computer. According to the US Department of Education, almost every classroom has at least one computer, and Internet connectivity is also available in more than 90% of classrooms.
Here are five ways mobile technology is transforming education:
1. Tablets change how we perceive computing
Students of all ages generally find learning on a tablet more personal and accessible than being chained to a desktop. They also respond well to animation-driven apps, which make lessons more interactive and entertaining than linear modules delivered on a desktop.
iPad Air in education
Education apps for iPad
As computers have become more portable, so has education.
2. Education is gamified
Many people who grew up in the digital age were first introduced to computing via video games. In an effort to make learning more fun and engaging, educators have introduced elements of games into their curriculum.
Chromebook in education
This caused a shift in the way people learn, with active emotional engagement replacing dry periods of concentration. Learning becomes less an abstract, theoretical exercise and more of an emotional and highly engaging activity. The result is higher motivation levels.
3. Real-time feedback
In the pre-digital age, students turned in their work and took tests and waited for teachers to grade their assignments and exams. Today, students expect feedback in real time. Research shows student performance significantly improves when feedback is given immediately.
Real-time feedback in the learning process is a clear benefit to students as they can immediately apply the lessons learned.
4. Communication becomes truncated
One danger posed by the rise of digital communication platforms like Twitter (with its 140-character limit) and other social media hubs is that some students are losing the ability to articulate ideas in longer form. Additionally, they have fewer opportunities to engage in face-to-face communication.
For that reason, it’s important for educators to make sure students have the opportunity to participate in collaborative activities and face-to-face meetings.
5. Hands-on learning
Learning used to be more about concepts being conveyed in an abstract manner using textbooks. Mobile technology makes the learning process more interactive and engaging.
Technologies such as the augmented reality Google Glass, digital and interactive paper, and animated learning through apps are changing the way education is becoming personalized. Today, forward-thinking learning centers avoid video lectures in favor of two-way interactions in which tutors walk students through problem solving and demonstrate new concept using tablets.
These technology-driven trends are fundamentally transforming the way students learn. Instead of requiring students to read a lesson in a book or complete a linear module via desktop, tablets are enabling them access to engaging, interactive lessons.
As technology continues to disrupt learning, it’s important for educators to make sure students don’t become too isolated and that they have opportunities to converse and collaborate. Innovations like tablet-based tutoring can enable two-way conversations and increase collaboration, giving students the best of both worlds in a changing education environment.
When you set out to take an e-learning course it’s important to think carefully about your ability to complete it. This means considering not just your talent and existing education but also how much time you have free to study and where you can carry out that studying. You’re much more likely to do well if you have a dedicated space to work in, ideally a home office. This could be your spare room, a converted kitchen alcove or just a bit of space under the stairs. What matters is that you design and equip it properly for the work you need to do.
Focus on productivity
Having your own home office means you can cut down on ambient noise and discourage distractions. You can make sure you’re comfortable and have just the right amount of light, making it much easier to be productive. It also means that you can draw a clear line between studying and the rest of your life. When you’re ready to take a break you can go somewhere else, and when you return you’ll feel more refreshed and be better able to get back into the right mindset for learning.
Furnishing your study space
When you set up your office you should think carefully about the things you need to do there, and furnish it accordingly. Essential home office furniture includes a desk, of course, and it’s worth taking the time to find a really good chair that provides you with proper support, especially if you expect to be studying for long hours. You’ll also need to think about storage for any paper files, course books or similar materials you need, and if you have the space then you might want to add extra seating to give you the option of studying with a friend who’s on the same course.
The equipment you will need for studying depends on the nature of your course. You’ll need your computer, but it may also be useful to have a printer, a scanner or a dock for your phone. An old-fashioned notepad and pen can still be very useful, and for some types of course you might need graph paper or mathematical equipment. Whatever you need, you’ll need to think about ways of keeping it organised and conveniently within reach.
The personal touch
The final task of making your office somewhere you can really feel at ease is down to you alone – you’ll need to use your imagination to make it work. This could mean painting the walls your favourite colour, adding a few appealing ornaments or even bringing in some plants. The key is to give the place personality without creating too much distraction.
Once you’ve completed it, your office should provide you with the perfect study environment, making it much easier for you to focus on your work. You’ll find studying more pleasant too, and be well on your way to getting great results.
If you are looking for tutors in your local area please visit http://www.tutorhunt.com/
With the change in the ICT curriculum from September, more students will need to get to grips with coding.
Here are 4 sites that will help students and staff to develop their coding skills;
Code.org is one of the most popular coding sites for people of all ages. Its initial training program is advertised as being suited for ages 6-106. The instructional videos are full of famous names like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg. The initial training, dubbed “1 Hour of Code” is a fun little game that introduces students to the basics of coding. It uses drag and drop boxes and familiar characters from games like Angry Birds and Plants Vs Zombies to teach the very first steps that you need to learn. The program doesn’t really take an hour and the instructions are straight forward and easy to understand. Once the 1 Hour of Code is complete, students will move back to pen and paper to learn the basics of computational thinking and the lessons just go on from there. They even offer a K-8 program for U.S. public school teachers that offers up to $1,000 in grant money for teachers who use these lesson plans to teach young children how to code.
Codecademy offers a more straight forward approach to coding lessons. Students complete a short introduction and then are invited to choose between a number of programming languages that the site offers. Currently, users can choose between Java, HTML/CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby, and API. The lessons are broken down into individual components. For example, the HTML/CSS lessons start out by teaching the user how to use the proper tags to open and close an HTML document. The next step from there is learning how to use the tags to create titles, paragraphs and all the other basic components of a website. The lessons are not as colorful or entertaining as those on Code.Org so they would be better suited for high school students. They do, however, manage to deliver a large amount of information in a very short amount of time. The lessons are estimated to take between 10-12 hours to complete.
- Code Racer
This site is not for the faint of heart and not for those without a little bit of coding knowledge. This site is very similar to Type Racer for typing, in that it pits the student against other players. Instead of typing words or quotes though, the student has to complete coding challenges. There is an “I Need Help” button that will tell the user what needs to be done for the particular challenge but it is not does damage the player’s score. This is a fantastic tool to help students practice their skills in an environment that isn’t quite practical but is eminently entertaining. Students can compete against each other and against other players in this fantastic game that is quickly gaining in popularity. They just moved to http://teamtreehouse.com/.
- Code School
Is Social Media Relevant? Take the Quiz
Before we talk social media, let’s talk about the relevance of social media by taking a quiz. Which of the following is most likely to be true?
- Should we teach letter-writing in the classroom? Kids need to write letters and mail them. But what if they send mail to a bad person or someone in prison? What if it gets lost in the mail and the wrong person opens it? Are we opening up a whole dangerous world to our students once they mail letters to others? Surely students will send thousands of letters through the mail in their lifetime.
- Should we teach email in the classroom? Kids need to email other people and should know how to title a subject. But what if they email someone bad? What if they accidentally send it to the wrong person? What will we do? And are we opening up a whole dangerous world to our students once they email others? Surely students will send thousands of emails in their lifetime.
- Should we teach (dare we say it) social media in the classroom? I mean, they don’t have to learn microblogging on Twitter — you can do that in Edmodo, right? You can have a private blog or put them on Kidblogs or Edublogs instead of letting them post long status updates on Facebook, right? Are we opening up a whole dangerous world to our students once they are writing online and posting comments to each other? Surely students will post thousands of status updates, pictures, and blogs in their lifetime.
The Social Media Answer
☑ There’s one form of writing that can arguably get someone fired, hired or forced to retire faster than any other form of writing.
☑ There’s one form that will most likely be read by college admissions offices and teams of student “stalkers” hired to vet students before they receive scholarships.
☑ There’s one form that will prevent some people from running for political office and get others elected.
One form of writing is that powerful.
If you guessed social media, you’re right.
More A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom | Edutopia.
Feeling outdated, not connected, or even totally lost in the digital age? Well, let me assure you, droning on and on about grammatical structures is a surefire way to quickly lose student interest in the world language classroom. Instead, embrace something which truly interests the millennial student: social media. Utilizing it in the classroom will give your students practical, engaging ways to communicate in the language you teach. The 21st century learner is not wired to memorize; instead, her or she is inclined to create, connect and collaborate. Social media is the perfect medium for us, their teachers, to reach them.
Here are ten ideas to get you started on your journey toward not becoming the classroom dinosaur you have always feared becoming.
more 10 Social Media Tips for Reaching World Language Learners | Edutopia.
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High schools, colleges, and universities are moving online, and the number of students who participate in online and blended courses is expanding rapidly. The transition has not always been easy, and both teachers and students are still working out the best strategies for online education.
Here are 10 Success Factors for Teachers and Students in Online Classes.
In 2008, the authors of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns predicted that by 2019 half of all high school courses would be delivered online. At the time, it was quite controversial but with massive open online courses (MOOCs) and the general rush toward online learning at all levels, that prediction seems almost conservative, today. As this trend continues, both teachers and students are learning (often by trial and error) how to survive this new kind of e-learning.
- Use good learning objectives. Like traditional courses, online courses should be designed based on clear, specific, and measurable learning objectives. Too often, the learning objectives hang around the bottom levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, but this does not need to be the case. Using better assessments (see below) can help students move from understanding and remembering to evaluating and creating.
- Pay attention to course navigation. One of the biggest complaints students have about online courses is confusing navigation and this problem can greatly demotivate students, and may result in them opting out of the course. All of the resources and tools should be easily accessible from the course landing page, including the syllabus, a guide to getting started, the modules themselves, and—most importantly—where students can go for help and support.
- Use diverse resources. One key advantage of online courses is that the Internet contains a veritable smorgasbord of content options. So why be limited to text documents or even videos? Slide presentations with voiceovers, screencasts and pencasts, whiteboard animations, interactive e-books, virtual games and simulations, and many other types of resources can help keep students engaged.
- Provide spaces for students to interact. A second main advantage of online courses is the plethora of options for student interaction, which leads to much greater mastery and skill development than learning in isolation. At the very least, all online courses should include a discussion board with both assigned discussion topics and areas for student-initiated threads. Even better, wikis, blogs, Twitter discussions, Facebook pages, and other social media platforms provide plenty of opportunities for students to curate content, share their thoughts, and learn from each other.
- Use appropriate assessments. Assessment in online courses is no longer limited to multiple-choice and other computer based questions. Independent and collaborative projects based on real-world problem-solving can help students move up the levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. One way of harnessing technology in assessment is encouraging students to create digital artefacts’ and then evaluate one another’s work.
- Understand the effort required. Many students think e-learning is easier than traditional learning, but this is most certainly not the case. In fact, online courses are often more difficult because of the added challenge of self-discipline and motivation. Also, online courses offer great flexibility and allow many people to become students who otherwise would not have the opportunity, but they aren’t for someone who is not willing to make an effort.
- Properly research the course. Many people take online courses to help them prepare for future academic work or to advance their careers. Before signing up for a course, students should make sure it offers what they require in terms of curriculum, accreditation, and credit transferability.
- Good time management. Many people vastly underestimate the time they will need to spend on online courses, which require at least as much (and often more) time as traditional courses. Students should plan on a minimum of three to four hours, and in some cases six to eight hours, per week. To ensure they don’t fall behind, students should review the syllabus, so they know in advance when assignments and tests are due, prepare a study schedule, and stick to it.
- Interact with other students. Although most online courses include some sort of interactive element, participating in class discussions is not always mandatory, and many students do not actively contribute. However, research has shown that peer learning is much more effective than learning in isolation. The only way to get the most out of an online course is to take advantage of all of the tools available.
- Ask for help. Many students in online courses choose to suffer silently rather than asking for help when they need it, possibly out of the fear of looking foolish in front of classmates. Students who don’t get adequate support are more likely to perform poorly or cut classes. But all students need help of some kind, whether they are having trouble with the technology or need help understanding the material. Asking for help is a simple but powerful way students can improve their online learning experience.
The Internet is continuing to transform how we learn, and as technologies develop and more courses go online, both students and teachers will become more comfortable with the tools and platforms. So let’s focus on making the online learning experience as useful and engaging as possible.
Sameer Bhatia is founder & CEO of ProProfs.com which is a leading provider of online learning tools for building, testing, and applying knowledge. Through its eLearning authoring tools, ProProfs offers trainers and educators powerful-but-simple features without requiring users to download or learn expensive software. Sameer has a background in technology with a Masters in Computer Science from USC (University Of Southern California) and is an ed-tech industry veteran. You can find Sameer on Google+ and Twitter.
Stories bring us together, encourage us to understand and empathize, and help us to communicate. Long before paper and books were common and affordable, information passed from generation to generation through this oral tradition of storytelling. Consider Digital Storytelling as the 21st Century version of the age-old art of storytelling with a twist: digital tools now make it possible for anyone to create a story and share it with the world.
WHY Digital Storytelling?
Digital stories push students to become creators of content, rather than just consumers. Weaving together images, music, text, and voice, digital stories can be created in all content areas and at all grade levels while incorporating the 21st century skills of creating, communicating, and collaborating.
Read more: 8 Steps To Great Digital Storytelling | Edudemic.