There was quite a bit of learning that I got out of the exploration of these two areas this week. I have had some brief exposure related to the integration of social networking tools in an education environment. I have seen tools such as Ning used to create learning experiences that immerse students in the material as well as create a community of peers. I have also seen how Twitter has been used to share valuable educational resources that students can share with one another. What I have learned is that there additional tools out there that cater specifically learner needs. Study Blue was one of my interesting network finds. Years ago I had thought it might be really nice to have digital flashcard for study purposes. This tool does that and more. By enabling students to collaborate on this form of studying it enables them to continue to build off of each other’s knowledge outside of class. This tool also enables students to track their progress. These features provide the support they need to be successful with their learning material.
Docsity was my favorite discovery through my search. Although there are some concerns about what may be shared on this site and if the user has the proper permissions to share it the idea behind the tool is pretty intriguing. Many times students reinvent the wheel when it comes to the creation of study materials. Docsity provides a way for students to “network” when it comes to study material. This tool can possibly be an invaluable tool for learners especially in an online environment where students may need more supporting materials. Additionally they provide a way for users to connect with other students who are studying similar topics or are enrolled in similar programs. It is a great way to build a large community worldwide.
Coinciding with social networking, digital citizenship provides the expectations for students as well as the schools within this virtual environment. After researching and learning more about this type of policy I realized that this isn’t something that only applies to students but also applies to school. The school is responsible for ensuring that students are comfortable and knowledgeable with the tools they are using. They also need to provide alternatives to students who may not possess the same levels of access to support their success. Students’ health, rights, and safety are all equally important. Students should be aware of how to protect themselves. Learners also need to be aware of their responsibilities by communicating appropriately with their classmates through the variety of technology tools they may come into contact with. They must also be cognizant of their classmate’s rights and safety as well by remaining respectful in all of their interaction. Understanding all of these pieces helps me in future planning for my teaching experiences. By having a solid digital policy in place students are clear on what I am providing to them as an instructor to ensure an effective learning experience. They are also clear on what the expectations are for them as well.
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