31 October 2006

Benefits of Using Social Software for Young Learners

Something new for me to ponder this week and linked to a previous post relating to selecting the right tool for the job ...

The question was raised this week as to whether it is a myth that the young are all technology savvy and will easily pick up the use of technology for learning. One lecturer noted that the young are great at SMS and mobile technologies, but trying to engage them with a blog or a wiki and sitting down at a PC is not so easy. I noticed an earlier comment on this blog also drawing attention to the age factor.

So, is age a factor that we should be considering more when we choose technologies for learning? Perhaps moblogging, podcasting, and mobile learning are better suited to the younger students and wikis, blogs and forums are better suited to the more mature student.

The benefits of using the technology for learning for the clients has to be paramount when we select different technologies. So, what are the benefits for young learners if social software is used in their learning experience? And what about the more mature student - what are the benefits for them?


At 12:19 pm, Blogger Robert said...

Interesting question that I grapple with daily. We use blogs in my classes at Auburn University. They work for college students in some exercises.

Certainly, a lot of teachers in K-12 are using them. And, you can find a lot of higher ed examples, too.

Some example resources for you. toptensources.com has a collection of blogs discussing this in the Schools & Education section (see sidebar). The "Blogs for Teachers" and "edublogs and eduwikis" lists are certainly related to your question. The first list was created by a professor at Harvard and I created the latter.

Search iTunes and you'll find all manner of podcasts - lectures to seminars and speeches - used on campuses. I believe vlogs (video) may be best suited to younger students, but they also enjoy blogging if done in the right environment. Blogs for writing practice are becoming quite popular in schools and universities, for example.

There's my two cents. :)

At 4:33 am, Blogger teacher dude said...

I use blogs with young ESL learners and I think you have to move away from text based posts. Pictures, videos and the like is what we should be using.


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