University of Delhi (INDIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3378-3386
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
The learning agenda has changed from formal to informal learning spaces, mass to personalized learning, competitive to collaborative and restricted to extended formats. Though education and curriculum, worldwide, still point towards fixed and defined knowledge, the world beyond classrooms has changed drastically and continues to do so. There are revolutionary changes in the way people communicate today as they no longer subscribe to magazines, they subscribe to people. This presents a huge opportunity for educational institutions and instructors to reach out and connect with students, prospective students, parents, alumni, public, administrative bodies and more.

Since learning has moved beyond the classrooms and is largely learner-centric, nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning. Students or learners live in an internet age where social networking has become a way of life. Rather than teaching just from books, educators can encourage the ‘always on’ generation to go out and learn from Blogs, Discussion Forums, Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, podcasts, You Tube and other social media platforms. Educators can make use of Twitter as source of instant lecture feedback. They can tweet interesting links to students, communicate key topics, send reminders of deadlines and engage with the students by using specific hash tags. Blogs can help float new ideas, engage public in the debate, disseminate research results, help grade students by their contribution, organize in-class discussions, intensive seminars and cover interesting developments related to the theme of the course and have great potential for reflection.

Networking sites like SlideShare can be used to upload PowerPoint presentations so that they are freely available online. This will help disseminate lecture material, assess student assignments and build a body of resources using a common tag. YouTube, the most popular video sharing site can be used to share video lectures of the class, search similar course-relevant information, upload students’ projects for grading and sharing their great ideas with the public. TED talks, Open Culture, Teachers TV, Teacher Tube and other such resources can be used in distance learning, as supplementary lectures and for critically researching an issue. The use of professional social networking sites like LinkedIn, building an online portfolio helps demonstrate skills and understanding, and help network with potentially useful contacts for the future.
A connected educator, therefore, has an online presence, uses technology for delivery, has a blog, wiki or podcast site, employs collaborative approach, promotes informal learning, uses social bookmarking and networking tools, and is always e-connected. Using these tools in higher education will enhance learning experience of the students along with receiving individualized attention beyond the classroom and developing his cognitive skills.