Innovative software devices and applications are transforming the way we learn and consequently the way we teach. Indeed since new tools are encouraging students to customise their own learning activity 21st century learning promises to be an easygoing and natural process.Through its Social Media Services ICON can help teachers and educationl institutions utilise new technology to increase students’ engagement contribute to a greater sense of collaboration in the classroom and build better communication skills.
Here are some of ICON’s suggested high-tech learning methods:
Mobile phones and tablets – Whilst the mobile phone in the classroom was once seen as a detrimental distraction it now offers a wide spectrum of learning possibilities ranging from the use of e-textbooks to organising digital tours of historical landmarks through location-based integration. Other possibilities include using social media to create online notice boards and spaces for discussion as well as ‘snack learning’- accommodating increasingly short attention spans through tools that provide fragmented knowledge for bustling students.
Open Educational Resources (OER) – Through platforms such as YouTube’s EDU channel and their own sites top Universities such as Yale Oxford and Stanford are taking steps to liberate their previously locked resources and share them globally. Concurrently private initiatives such as the Khan Academy Project Gutenberg and the P2P University provide free and open access to high quality academic content through a radically different model than traditional institutions.
Real-time Video – With most devices that may access record and broadcast video to a select group educators can now work to create interactive learning environments that extend beyond the classroom. Real time video creates a broader system of ‘learning members’ who can study together work collaboratively and answer each other’s questions. Learners can find others working in similar content areas in order to support each other and answer each others’ questions.
As reported on Mashable “A year after seventh grade teacher Elizabeth Delmatoff started a pilot social media program in her Portland Oregon classroom 20 percent of students school-wide were completing extra assignments for no credit grades had gone up more than 50 percent and chronic absenteeism was reduced by more than a third.”
ICON’s Social Media Services include idea generation and consultancy services. We show instructors how to incorporate new media that help students develop in terms of critical thinking problem solving participation and collaboration. ICON also builds mobile and social media applications that encourge fun and engagement within education.
Such methods are not intended as substitutes for more traditional methods of education but rather as pluralistic extensions of those existing methods. Be it exploiting readily available tools, or investing in cutting-edge technologies, the traditional and the groundbreaking are different modalities to be profitably combined.