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Integration of Educational Networking in the Classroom

Updated on November 7, 2013

Introduction

It is a fact universally acknowledged that the Internet has radically changed the way we perceive the world. Reality has been supplanted by virtual reality to give birth to a highly interwired world where the information travels both poles in a matter of a click. This drastic change brought about by the Internet has touched upon every facet of our life and, most importantly of all, on education—especially higher education lecturers.

I was assigned to teach business course and I started to feel “heavy workload” since I was already a faculty secretary. This was due to ensuring the academic progress of 91 individual students by marking their assignments, taking them quizzes, and also grading both their mid-term and final exams. I continued with this workload, at least three months, until I started to wonder if utilizing ‘educational networking’—the use of social networking technologies for educational purposes—would help. And fortunately, it turned out to be a 2-in-1 solution– helping me as a lecturer and my students. Therefore, integration of educational networking in the classroom is more helpful for higher education lecturers.

What is Educational Networking?

Educational networking is the use of social networking websites for educational purposes. Most students and lecturers are aware of the familiarity of certain kind social network websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. But these sites have worried many educators and parents because they often bring with them outcomes that are not positive: gossip, wasted time, friending, ruined reputations and sometimes even dangerous activities (Hargadon, 2009). Although the phrase “social networking” can carry some negative connotations for educators, educational psychologists use the phrase “educational networking” as a way of more objectively discussing the special value of these education-related tools.

Benefits of Educational networking

For Lecturers

1- It allows lecturers to upload class materials—such as PowerPoint’s– post assignments, take quizzes and survey students about class-related issues through polls.

2- It lifts the burden of grading from the lecturers by ‘automatically’ grading students’ assignments using tools such as flubarro.

3- It permits lecturers to oversee students’ mastery of course ‘core-concepts’ through Timeline display such as that of Facebook’s Timeline.

4- It allows lecturers to have a cloud-based gradebook; therefore, it stores all students’ grades throughout the semester and can be retrieved later, anytime.

5- It permits lecturers to divide the class into groups and then collaborating with each separate group without meeting them individually.

For Students

1- It permits students to submit assignments, take online quizzes.

2- Students who are already engaging in social networking sites, such Facebook could benefit from incorporating these sites into the curriculum.

3- It allows students to exchange and share assignments and projects by groups.

4- It lets them stay updated about their class announcements.

5- Students develop the 21st century skills needed for a successful career after school.

Integration of Educational Networking in the Classroom

Some scholars believe that when it comes to technology, lecturers are technology immigrants while students are technology natives. But learning is enhanced and students are engaged when technology is effectively integrated into the classroom (Overbaugh & Lu, 2008).

A- Adaptation by lecturers

Ineffective professional development opportunities for teachers are the primary reason for a lack of technology integration in the classroom (Potter & Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2012). But I managed to take advantage of these tech sites even without training on the part my institution. How?

1- By using the ‘Support’ section of these sites to learn how they can be implemented.

2- Downloading ‘how-to’ videos of each specific site.

3- Utilizing helpful sites that are dedicated to the use of these educational networking sites.


B- Adaptation by students

Many factors challenge students’ adaptation of educational networking sites, such as unaffordability, and lack of know-how. To tackle the unaffordability factor, the great news is that students can access all these tools on their mobile devices’ internet connection and this increases the sites’ retention of students. But to solve the lack of know-how factor:

1- Lecturers have to show students how to use and navigate these sites.

2- Students have to use/access the sites after class to help them succeed in using or navigating them.

3- Students can access these sites using their mobile phones—this increases the sites’ retention of students.

Conclusion

Today’s students are technology natives and they believe that teachers are technology immigrants. However, this perception can be changed if teachers are able to effectively utilize technology for educational purposes. This article discussed the benefits of tech integration in the classroom for both students and teachers. Also, tips of how teachers could adapt it in the classroom is showed.

In another article, I will try to discuss the specific tools I used in the classroom. These include Google Docs, Evernote, and Edmodo.

Bibliography

Hargadon, S. (n.d.). Educational Networking: The important role Web 2.0 will play in education. Illuminate: Where Bright Ideas Meet , p.2.

Potter, S. L., & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2012). Technology Integration for Instructional Improvement: The Impact of Professional Development. International Society for Performance Improvement , p.22.

Hargadon, S. (n.d.). Educational Networking: The important role Web 2.0 will play in education. Illuminate: Where Bright Ideas Meet , p.2.

Potter, S. L., & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2012). Technology Integration for Instructional Improvement: The Impact of Professional Development. International Society for Performance Improvement , p.22.

Overbaugh, R., & Lu, R. (2008). The impact of a NCLB-EETT funded professional development program on teacher self efficacy and resultant implementation. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(1), 43–62.

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    • profile image

      Abdukadir Cadde 21 months ago

      Amazing :)

    • mmuse profile image
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      Mohamed Muse Hassan 3 years ago from Mogadishu, Somalia

      Thank you dear. You encourage me.

    • profile image

      Boy Seerka 3 years ago

      Wonderful.