Social Networking holds some enormous potential for education, as Dr. Glen Gatin pointed out in class on Thursday. Wikis, blogs, Skype, Moodle, virtual worlds, and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can all be integrated successfully into the educational system and students can benefit from the use of these tools.
I can clearly see the benefits of using a class wiki – all assignments and homework can be posted, parents and students can remain updated with the class, and students can always have access to course material at any time. Moodle can provide similar benefits, and I know I certainly enjoy that I can access course material and information at anytime of day through Brandon University’s Moodle site. I only wish every professor and instructor would use it and post all of the course work and have us students submit all of the course work via Moodle! I can also clearly see benefits of using class and personal blogs as demonstrated to me through the use of personal blogs in this course. Our students could experience the same benefits of collaboration and sharing of opinions/thoughts through the use of their own blogs for a class. Skype is a favorite of mine as it is great for staying in touch with friends and family who live far away, but I think it also has many benefits for education. It would be so easy to have guest lecturers or presenters through the use of Skype and create more engaging learning environments for our students.
Now where Dr. Gatin kind of lost me was when he started discussing virtual worlds and the enormous potential that they hold for education. I certainly have never been exposed to a virtual world such as Second Life except for in Dr. Gatin’s presentation and therefore still do not truly see the benefits that it can have on education. So I did a quick Google search and came across this article Another Life: Virtual Worlds as Tools for Learning located at http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?article=44-1§ion=articles. It certainly gives you some things to think about with using a virtual world as a learning tool. It discusses Second Life, what people do in virtual worlds, how corporations are already using virtual worlds for their employees learning, and where we are headed with the idea of virtual worlds. Also interesting was this article - Educational Frontiers: Learning in a Virtual World at http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume43/EducationalFrontiersLearningin/163163 . This article is written by a Professor of Computer Science at Colorado Technical University and discusses how to successfully incorporate a virtual world as a learning tool and the benefits that these virtual worlds can provide to students. I am personally not completely sold on the benefits of using a virtual world as a learning tool as I think face-to-face learning has many benefits for students, but I can see the possibilities that these virtual worlds possess.