Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ etc. are springing up daily on the Internet, and people are taking advantage of them for socializing, making friends and gaining popularity. Since they have become a part of our daily lives, it would make a whole lot of sense for students to leverage these media for learning purposes.
In future, learning will not be confined to the four walls of a classroom building anymore. Creating, managing and promoting promotional learning networks (PLN) should be the next focus of the secular school curriculums. Technology allows students to be connected, independent, and be also empowered to learn from anywhere anytime, without existing in isolation.
Using the social networks for learning is a thing that would obviously become a part of our future, and so must be gradually incorporated into our curriculums. To effectively and efficiently use the social networks therefore, the following must be duly understood:
Curating involves aggregating and organizing information from various sources on the Internet, for the purposes of research, getting better information or getting diversionary views on a specific topic.
For curating to be successful, the student (curator) must be able to do the following:
- Know what he wants and filter information along that line
- Evaluate the content from the Internet, its source and the relevance to the subject being handled
- Applying creativity: The audience must be understood and the kind of content that would suit its need should be curated, using an easily comprehensible language, humor, etc
- Able to defend choices of content in the midst of criticisms from peers.
Students wishing to learn through social networks would only be successful by:
- Choosing the right content aggregation application to use. This decision can only be reached after intense and extensive research on the types of applications available, the functions, good and bad sides, etc
- Managing time spent on viewing posts and also for responding to them.
- Handling in a firm manner, posts, comments and uploads that are deemed inappropriate, without necessarily hurting people or compromising on quality
Through social Networks, students can also develop enterprise skills, build interpersonal relationship and promote their brands by:
- Understand the audience: students must know who provides them with useful sources and who provides the connectivity to other sources of useful and quality information, etc.
- Understand how to get people with quality information to join their networks.
- Understand how to segregate their posting to suit specific people.
- Stick to maintaining the core purpose of the group, which is for learning and not for popularity purposes.
- Understand the need for quality content posting.
- Cultivate the spirit of patience in the midst of slow response from members, etc.
The social media have so far evolved as a tool for gaining popularity, making friends and socializing. However, there is a great possibility of using this tool to further the course of learning. Social networks remain a great learning potential for the future. The ability to harness this potential to the students’ advantage highly depends on how much importance we attach to it.