Distant Train (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1823-1829
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
The blooming of the Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube – as well as social adaptations by the news media and provider portals - have changed how we communicate in a profound way; by the year 2010, 96% of users between the ages of 25 – 35 will have joined a social network and regularly use the Social Media. And, that the use of Social Media have become with most widespread activity on the internet, overtaking the previously dominant activity since the invention of the internet: pornography. It has pulled the “1.0” web experience of the 1990’s and early 2000’s – a largely read-only, provider-generated one-way affair – into the next level, what we refer to as the “2.0” experience. This next step saw information running across multiple streams: simultaneously from the provider to the user, from the user to the provider, user to user and provider to provider, from user to group, all making up a roaring current of information, opinion and, very often, empty noise.

Now that the excitement has died down somewhat and users no longer delight in the power of publishing alone we can begin to examine the phenomenon of the Social Media within the context of our evolution as social animals and integrate what does and does not work into the next generation of eLearning applications for primary school education.

The first thing to remember about the Social Media is that it requires the participation of users to power it. A social application is only as valuable as the information that comes to it from the field, as well as the third party applications that pepper the experience with added value, known as “end-user innovation”. One can come to view the Social Media as an organic entity that thrives on input, evolves with the input stream, and dies when that input stream is taken away.

Using the Social Media for primary school education has not yet been undertaken in a serious way but holds enormous potential. First of all it is where today’s students can be found: the generation gap is as significant in this area as it was when internet was first introduced 20 years ago. For the students, it provides a truly global experience and hones communication and filtering skills.

This visual presentation will examine the Social Media’s practical use for primary school education, as well as muse about the future of this phenomenon as an educational tool. It will explain terms such as Tagging, Seeding, Feeding, Weeding and offer a guide to creating communities and keeping them active. We will also look at the role of animated Flash applications that have not yet been launched that combine this technology and channel this extraordinary energy and momentum into valuable results for the classroom.

Fiona Passantino has been working as an eLearning expert and developer/designer since 1999. Her company, Distant Train (, was founded in 1995 and is based in the Netherlands. In 1999 she was awarded a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Education and the European Union to develop a large scale Flash-based educational tools; based on this experience, she has published and lectured at international conferences, schools and trade shows explaining her unique ideas about online learning. Today, Distant Train continues to create exciting learning environments for children and adults for clients such as the Anne Frank House, Royal Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, Wolters Noordhoff, Hasbro and the European Commission.
Social media, elearning, flash, facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, learning, online, online learning.