The concept of anytime, anywhere learning is not new to the majority of Northeastern University students. With personal websites, multi-functional cell phones, MP3 players, YouTube accounts, Facebook profiles, and gaming personas, students are sharing and creating knowledge at an unprecedented rate.
At a recent talk on social computing, MIT’s Henry Jenkins pointed out that many young people do much of their learning outside of school. As part of “the participatory generation,” they create learning environments that interest them and invite others to collaborate with them (for more on these students see “Net Generation Learners“). Yet, few of these same young people equate anytime, anywhere learning with a university education. Professor Jenkins asserts that it is the job of teachers to take advantage of the passion of these young people for learning by tapping into the tools they use, or at least learning how to use them.
A social bookmarking tool for sharing, storing and exploring links to websites. This tool allows users to store links on the Internet rather than on a personal computer, thus making them available on any computer.
An online directory that connects people through social networks at schools and colleges. For information about how one professor at Northeastern uses Facebook to connect to his students, listen to Professor Dan Scheirer’s webcast on “Connecting Your Classroom with Facebook”
A photo management and sharing application that allows you to store, search, sort and share photos. A committee at Northeasten that is investigating learning spaces uses it to share photos of locations at other institutions they have visited. Groups can also use it to share photos of activities.
- Ning in Education
A platform that enables anyone to create a social network with advanced social interaction including chat, online discussion forums, news feeds, photo and video sharing, group pages and more. Ning in Education provides a place for educators to communicate and share ideas for using ning in an educational setting.
A video sharing application owned by Google that allows you to store, share, and publish videos.
A social networking tool for posting quick and concise “tweets”. People tweet on a variety of subjects, from what they are doing at that moment, to voicing their opinions on the latest news, to sharing ideas in their area of expertise.
Examples of Twitter in the classroom
- Faculty sends students on a digital-picture scavenger hunt. Most use the cameras in their cell phones, but a few have stand-alone cameras. Their assignment is to photograph houses that embody the architectural trends and characteristics in residential design from various styles and eras. Each student photographs five houses that he finds representative of three different architectural styles, uploads the 15 photos to Flickr, and adds them to the private group for the class. For each photo, the student writes a caption describing how the home pictured is an expression of the style in question. The students also use the note tool to outline particular features of the home and explain how that detail fits—or in some cases doesn’t fit—the dominant style of the house.
- Post summaries of video-taped class lectures, as well as instructional videos for students review on YouTube. TeacherTube.com lets educators post instructional videos and share thoughts and lesson plans with colleagues across the globe in a format similar to YouTube.
- In a Management class that featured debates about business trends, ethics and historical controversies, a project was assigned where student teams filmed introductions and opening arguments and post them on YouTube for their opponents to watch. The opponents then have time to craft a thought-out response before class met the next day.
- With Slideshare, post student presentations to an authentic audience and get feedback from around the world.
Also of Interest:
Demonstrations and Events: