Social Media and Education; Teaching and Learning in a Collaborative Social Environment
The forum was convened at about 10.40 GMT, when participants arrived. An introductory message was given by Mr. Ibrahim Inusah, the Network Coordinator of GINKS. He welcomed participants (pupils) and their teachers, and then introduced the resource person for the day, Mr. Kirchuffs Atengble. He also took the opportunity to introduce to the participants the various activities of GINKS. He thereafter welcomed the resource person to begin activities.
What is Social Media
Kirchuffs took over and started by asking which Social Media tools that participants have used before. Many different applications were identified, which included Facebook, Hi 5, Twitter, Zorpia, and Webblog. He asked if Whatsapp was a Social Media. There was an understanding that Whatsapp was not a Social Media.
The resource person took the opportunity to introduce to them a definition of ‘Social Media’ and ‘Social Network’ from Wikipedia. He stressed on the key components of the definition of Social Media, which included interaction among people, the creation and sharing of content, and interaction in virtual communities, typically facilitated by the internet. After discussing the concept, it was agreed that mobile-based virtual communication applications like Whatsapp was a Social Media tool.
Social Media Application in Education
A video produced by Learning World on the use of Social Media tools in three (3) countries (Singapore, the USA, and Columbia) was shown to participants. From the video participants witnessed practically how the technologies were being harness in the classrooms, technical issues and parental concerns.
After the video, participants were asked to suggest what they could use Social Media for in their classrooms. Answers that were gathered included its use for learning new things from classmates in a group interaction setting, for scheduling timetables for lessons, and for submitting assignments.
Kirchuffs took the opportunity to discuss with participants practical means of using Whatsapp to discuss class lessons when they are away from school. In a hypothetical manner, he took them through steps for asking questions from daily lessons in a Whatsapp group setting. Practical examples were also hypothetically used to demonstrate how assignments could be submitted on Twitter using hash-tags, Wikis, and other similar tools.
The resource person also made some demonstrations using his personal blog, which showed text, pictures and videos as probable content that could be created by participants.
Mr. Inusah indicated that the forum was mainly to introduce them to the technologies, and that plans were advanced to organize workshops that will demonstrate to participants (teachers and pupils) how to use Social Media in the classrooms. Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in competitive ICT projects and quizzes, from which they could win prizes. He indicated that “ICTs have no limit” and that interested people could use them for all kinds of things. He implored them therefore not to use these technologies for negative purposes.
Kirchuffs asked that participants should be inspired by the various uses of Social Media as depicted in the video. Workshop came to an end at about 13.00 GMT.