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Friday, January 7, 2011

social networks in class rooms

Ratheesh Kaliyadan

Thanks to internet, numerous opportunities to interact with all over the world are possible now a days. The academic communities can explore the facility to improve the academic in puts in different ways. Several communities and social networks are active around us. The teachers and learners practice and generate innovative works also. By sharing the novel idea and experiences, you can motivate similar minded people and enhance your own abilities through suggestions from others. Internet communities and social networks can be utilized for pure academic purposes.

Face book, Wikispaces, orkut, bog etc are examples for general platforms which can be transformed to academic purposes. Any of these interactive spaces can be hared with educational content and experiences. Instead of providing personal likes and dislikes, academic matters should be the agenda of interaction. To be more concrete, I may site an example. I have an account in wikispaces.com . I can post my class room experiences in the pages of my account. If I allow reading this content to my friends or those who visit my pages, the experience is shared with them. If it is an interesting matter to them, naturally they will respond or make a comment. The comment may be an enlightening one.

In a blog you can post a lot. Blog is the nick name of weblog which is the combination of web and log. Once you open an account in the world of blogs, you can add text, photo, video, audio, paintings, colors, animation, and graphics….and more. This is an excellent tool to share your experiences an experiments; Not only to your own students, but to readers all over the world. Usually I use www.mediamarx.blogspot.com to share my views on mediamatters, education, folklore and environment. Blog is a powerful medium today which act as parallel media interventions. Bloggers become investigators also.

If you own a group, again you get a vast space to share anything to the members. They can contribute their idea also. If forms a group of your learners, it would be a typical basement for information gathering. A kind of in-house business of transacting educational content is the major objective of forming groups of teachers and learners. Yahoo groups are popular among academic communities. The ‘owner’ of the group can invite people to join the group via e-mails.

Likewise, there are web ports designed to share educational content. Curriki.com, pbworks.com, teachertube.com etc are best examples for exclusive educational educational content generations. Any body who are interested in education can open an account in these basements and share innovative class room designs, lesson plans, audio-visual documents and other multiple choices. At the same time E-content repositories of interactive multimedia learning objects are also available from NCERT, IGNOU, MERLOT, SAKSHAT etc.

Majority of teachers advocate for democracy. But we are not so much democratic in participating learners in discussions regarding the teaching learning process. We don’t allow them to say ‘what I need and how’. All of us agree that students are not ‘empty pots’. But representatives of such rich, resourceful and experienced learner audience are not permitted to say a word on educational strategy and policy. But here they also get a space to interact. Learners are also welcome to contribute their views. The real democratic discourse begins here.

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