Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management - Kerala (INDIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 2380-2386
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Social networking has become a popular and common method of enlarging one's social circle. Initiating, forming, building and sustaining academic and professional relationships have become practical and feasible through social networking. Studies have revealed that Social networking sites help in realizing the educational goals of 21st century learning. Social networking sites help in enhancing collaborative skills which is a key component of Digital literacy skills.

Teachers can infuse ICT in all aspects of their professional life to improve student learning and the management of learning processes. ICT enables teachers to become active and creative, able to stimulate and manage the learning of students, as they infuse a range of preferred learning styles and uses of ICT in achieving their educational goals. The infusing approach often involves teachers integrating different knowledge and skills from other subjects into project-based curricula.

A social networking site was used for upgrading the technology competencies of the teacher trainees. In the course of a teacher education program teacher trainees resorted to becoming members of a social network site. Links with peers across the globe who are undergoing various levels of teacher training were formed. The collaboration helped in gaining familiarity with teacher education program of other countries, exchange ideas related to pedagogical practices, exchange ideas related to content. Though there was scope for observing actual classroom sessions it was not resorted to as at the time of conduct of the study infrastructural and technology capabilities were not adequate.

Objective of the study was to use a social networking site for professional enhancement of the teacher trainee. The site identified was TakingIT global which had an excellent resources for teachers and focused more on education

The participants were 97 teacher trainees who had enrolled into the one year teacher education program of a teacher education college in a southern state in India. The group were heterogeneous with regard to age (ranging from 20-30 years),subject specialization (Arts and humanities , science ,language and mathematics). However, none of them had any previous teaching experience excepting the previously undergone teaching practice of one month. The ICT skills were also of the same level - working knowledge of computers. None of them had memberships in any social networking site.

The study initially was conducted during the final stage of the teacher training program. It extended to a period of three weeks comprising of 12 classroom sessions which could be categorized into 4 levels. The signing up and acquiring familiarity stage (first 3 days) , the navigating and exploring stage (where the site and resources were explored), the networking stage where expressions of interest were put forward and networks emerged based on the requirements and requests made on an individual to individual basis. In the fourth level the teacher trainees were already into active discussions with their cyber peers on pedagogical practices.

Feedback obtained from the trainees revealed that they were enriched by the experience.

The social network based ICT model revealed that technology intervention changed certain dimensions of technology competency related to social networks comprising of Awareness of Social networks, Pedagogical use of Social Networks and ICT Skills related to use of Social networks.
Social networking, teacher education.