MOVING INFORMAL LEARNING TO A NEW LEVEL BY USING SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS IN THE CLASSROOM

A.M. Visan, B. Logofatu

University of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
In today’s world, in which almost every person is connected with at least one social media platform, it is almost impossible to ignore the frenziness that has taken over.

Informal learning, used as a support for the educational process it’s not “new”, it has been an important part over the years and had turned different shapes, from radio to television and today to, what we name, World Wide Web. What is different today is the attention that the digital natives students give to Internet and social media platforms. Today, informal learning means Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube. All this social media platforms are today's students second nature.

It is a fact that higher educational institution started using, in different measures, social media tools in the classroom, but the question is if the applications facilities benefits the students development? And how do we select the appropriate tools so that the quality of the information provided is still measured in the competences developed by the students at the end of the process.

The first chapter of this paper is aiming to present the main social media platforms that are being used in the educational process for the Distance Learning Department students (acronym CREDIS).

The second chapter of the paper is centered on CREDIS student’s point of view regarding the usability of social media tools as a support for formal learning, the degree to which social media tools are an integral part in the educational environment for CREDIS students and also the adaptive capacity of universities and teachers to these new directions of learning.

In 2014, Romania is one of the countries where the proportion of young university graduates remains low - at 21.8 percent - compared to the EU average - 35.8 percent and this means we have serious problems because young educated people are a nation future.
Another problem that can’t be ignored is that educational institution are spending time and money in offering students all king of courses that do nothing but to submit an enormous amount of information without converting it into competences. So, why it is still a surprise that most of our graduated students are unprepared for the reality from the work field?

And if our students are surfing the internet and teaching each other how to do it more effectively then shouldn’t educational institution gather the feedback provided and by engaging the entire community to contribute to a new revolutionary way of teaching and learning?
In the 21 st century society will require a knowledge generation, not just information delivered in the traditional way!