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Social Networking In Education

Written by:- Ms Manika Mahajan (PGDM 2019-21, IILM Greater Noida Campus)

Social networking has become one of the most popular communication tools to have evolved over the past decade, making it a powerful new information-sharing resource in society. In every aspect of our lives, social networking becomes a part of nowadays. Some of the widely used social networking sites(SNS) are Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, etc.

We cannot deny ever since social media came into our lives, it has changed the pattern of living- the way we socialize, interact, plan, or execute. Social networking has widely become a part of our education system now. Starting from elementary school up until university graduation, social media has the role to empower parents, students, and teachers on how to use new ways of sharing information and build a community. From finding a summer internship to promoting a success story about how to win the student-loan battle or collaborate on international projects, everything is made possible with these community-building sites. Collective intelligence has become a hashtag trending episode for today’s student-teacher relationship promoting collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Today’s youth is already well equipped with these sites and use this space for building a conducive learning environment and this gives educators a platform to create an online framework for education system #Education 4.0. Users are not just passive observers now, rather they became collaborators and contributors to new sites and fresh content across all platforms. The internet is a research network now which creates knowledge through shared experiences and collaboration of its users.

Chalk and Blackboard form the two most important elements of a classroom in our education system for decades. A teacher seems to be incomplete without these. Education 4.0 says “My lord, this statement is not true”. A teacher may ask its students “Discuss the Impact of covid19 on the Indian economy” on twitter by using two hashtags. Won’t it be a more innovative, up to date and interesting way for students to learn? There is always a complaint by parents “My son spends a lot of time on Facebook”, pondering on it Education 4.0 says “why not take Facebook as a source for learning?”. Facebook has many pages related to courses or areas of interest of students. Teachers and students can both join that page and debate on the posts in the comment section. Is it not helpful for collective intelligence? The answer is yes, it will help the student to be in touch with teachers and the latest updates in the mode they are comfortable at. In this way, they will learn and retain more.

The use of social media in education provides students with the ability to get more useful information, to connect with learning groups of their interest and other educational systems that make education convenient. Online classes on YouTube to web-based courses are helpful to create an anywhere- anytime learning environment for students. All it requires is the student’s own efforts to use these tools to learn beyond the classroom too. Social networking helps to reduce stress and increase satisfaction among students. It allows each student (slow or quick) to study at their own pace and speed (self-pacing). It helps in building strong teacher-student relationships as the student becomes more comfortable with interacting with teachers in both online and offline platforms. Allowing the use of technology and social networking sites in the classroom to read content and participate more is still not applicable in every school/college’s education system because of the fear that it would distract the student. And it is true in some cases but to focus on the purpose of using it in the desired way depends upon student’s willingness to learn and improve.

To hear some scholars speak we have-The use of social networking tools has impacted positively through creating diversification between different categories of people and has supported them in both their personal and academic lives . There are four fundamental social software tools: 1) Connectivity and social rapport, 2) Collaborate information discovery, 3) Content reaction, and 4) Knowledge and information aggregation and content modification . These affordances have helped learners access their knowledge easily and share them anytime and anywhere. Social networks, such as e-learning technologies, provide an opportunity for educators to revise their content quickly and maintain control over it, learn the sequence pace of learning, time – and often media, which allows them to gain experience to meet their learning objectives . Klamma illustrated that one of the most important advantages of social networking is the ability to manage knowledge and learning by connecting with different experts and knowledgeable people to share common processes, activities, tools, concepts, etc.

In today’s society, we face differences between Generation Y(the students who grew up using upgraded technology) and Generation X(the teachers who were forced to use this technology). Being a generation gap between the two brings forward different mindsets and perspectives. The famous author Blankenship,believes that technology in education should be focused on what students use instead of what the school or teachers want. He also believes that when the students become the stakeholder, it will be geared towards their needs, avoiding the need for collaboration between different generations of educators and students. Social networking becomes a medium for such integration. There may be certain training and time required for teachers and students to get well equipped with this new education system, but once applied the efforts are worth it.

Social networking in education also proves to be a good medium in times of emergency. The best example is the current scenario of the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the world. The situation has forced us to stay home but it didn’t force us to stop learning. Social networking sites became the medium to study far from institutions too. It helped teachers and students to stay connected and complete their studies and even learn more than the school/college curriculum. Live online lectures, recorded online video classes, new online courses, online assignments and projects have helped students and educators to not let the studies and careers of students get harmed in these tough times.

Some may highlight the cons of social networking by saying it can be a reason for the distraction of students, privacy, and security issues are there, internet connectivity may be a challenge at remote locations, etc. To some extent their concerns are right. But with the improvement in technology day by day strict privacy and security are being taken in making the applications more safe and secure. And as far as the distraction of students is concerned, educators should channelize student’s skills and energy in a more productive way that they tend not to be distracted. They can be given challenging tasks from their area of interest and the online/offline platform they are comfortable at to prove their worth and can be equally appreciated and awarded for their performance. This will build up their morale and boost enthusiasm.

Student interaction is at the core of a constructive environment and Social  Networking Sites provide a platform for building collaborative learning communities.  By their very nature, they are relationship-centred and promote shared experiences. A range of activities should be inculcated in the education system where students get to interact more and gain experiences. Knowledge and shared experiences become a base for students to develop and social networking is the channel for building that base. Both students and educators have to understand that social networking is not merely a leisure facility but it is much more than that. They should find out the deep potential which this facility holds so that it can be used in the best and most productive way possible. And this has to be done now because we are rapidly moving to a fully digital era and this potential is to be used now to be a helpful tool for the future years. At IILM campus, we have such networking amongst students, alumni and professors through various virtual networking applications. Thus, Education 4.0 is the superman for the youth of today. If its powers are well researched and presented to students and teachers, they are going to be the biggest fan of it.

Mankind 4.0

Humans are ever-evolving- This phenomenon is triggered by their needs and wants that are required to be fulfilled for survival; well sometimes for luxury too. Every kind of change that takes place in the world develops mankind in certain ways that makes them a little more capable. There are no limits to what humans can do, but it is only discovered when they face a crisis. This is the perfect time to move up the ladder of maturity and once again prove that nothing is superior to humans and nothing can end this mankind’s reign on earth.

What happened so far?

2020 is the year that escalated the revenues of the News Industry and Media Houses. A series of events have been taking place globally which have had a large impact, rather a very negative impact be it to people, biodiversity, climate, or economic growth. The Australian bushfire, Delhi communal riots, coronavirus pandemic are just a few examples to site. The effects of the pandemic have been the most massive so far, so huge that the world has come to a standstill. Lives have been lost exponentially and so have the hopes of people of going back to normal ever again. There is going to be the start of a new normal soon after there is some control over this situation. The pandemic has had far-reaching consequences on human behavior and there have been unforeseen innovations and development taking place concerning a new lifestyle.

It is the beginning of a new era with changes influencing healthcare, consumption, values, society, education, politics, finance, economy, and so on. Such humanitarian revolutions had been taking place from time to time with the genesis of civilization. Firstly, it was the discovery of fire, secondly, the rise of agriculture and thirdly, the industrial revolution. Perhaps a technology revolution is on its way because that’s the only way to keep things going in this crisis. Just when the world was moving towards technology adoption at a very rapid pace, the Covid19 pandemic has fuelled this phenomenon.

Re-shaping industry and economy

All the sectors that are likely to be dominant from now on are healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, education, and social welfare. There will be a significant influence of technology either in the form of virtual reality or artificial intelligence, in all these sectors. The new economy will be technology-driven. Disruptive innovation is going to be a focus point. Social welfare also will gain significance. All of it will be facilitated by public-private partnerships which can lead to socio-economic development. The need for the hour is to focus on all these areas so that the world is ready to face such a pandemic again without severe loss. Otherwise, the economic depression cycle will continue for a prolonged duration. The cycle goes on like this- business exists for profit and no production leads to no sales and hence no profits. The capability to employ becomes less. So, companies only hold on to very essential employees to meet demand when the economy picks up. Subsequently, people lose jobs or have the fear of losing jobs and buy less, consume less. So demand goes down and profit automatically goes down. It is evident that revenues are falling and both consumption and production are going down paving a path towards economic recession. However, post the pandemic, the countries with a zero growth rate will be looked upon as an attractive business hub as compared to the countries with a negative growth rate which is going to be common after this catastrophe.

Life comes first

Many of the best paying jobs only facilitate the exchange to make money and serve the no wider purpose to society. This leaves us with huge consulting firms, the advertising industry, and the financial sector. Health care and social care never got the limelight as they were considered “unattractive”. Looks like in the present-day people are realizing that there’s more than making money to survive. A much wider approach to life needs to be followed. Life should be valued more than anything else. Nobody anticipated that a microorganism can devastate the most evolved and developed organism on earth; the humans. This is a signal that the next phase of evolution has arrived where we need to reconsider our way of life. The priorities need to be altered and a more vigilant human needs to take shape.

A transition in lifestyle

Post the 1918 Influenza pandemic, many lifestyles, and hygiene etiquettes were being followed that were never imagined about earlier, yet are a part of our daily routine in the present day. Similarly, there will be some concrete transitions now. Just to cite an example, as social distancing is so essential, multistory buildings might become history. Too many people jammed in one apartment is undesirable. We need more open spaces with better ventilation. Filtration and neutralization of air and water will become mandatory. The home will be the new office for jobs that don’t essentially require movement and physical interaction. Work will be digitized to the farthest extent. The internet will be more accessible and the blood of information flow. Traditional jobs will be replaced by robots. Education delivery will become blended and rich. Globalization will move towards localization. Countries will try to be self-sufficient by having an entire supply chain within the country borders. Country borders might be closed except for extremely essential exchanges and international trade will be redefined. Social welfare, poverty reduction, education, and employment will be prime concerns. In addition to this, people will value their jobs, focus on productivity. Family life will be back, eating nutritious home food with the family together, interacting, bonding, all of it which was somewhere lost in the mechanical life will revive. The scarce resources will be better utilized for needs first and then wants.

Life on earth is precious and with every passing day, facing challenges and changes, mankind has always learned to adjust and endure. With this optimism, we can hope that with time we will evolve to a stronger, more sensible, and responsible being and harmoniously share the planet with our fellow beings. We need to make some quick lifestyle changes and inculcate healthy habits. With our efforts, we can have a better and happier ending to the year 2020 and have a successful decade ahead.

Please comment and share your views on how the Human Race will evolve in 2020.

By Manisha Kar                                                                      Dr. Anjali Jindal

IGSM/PGDM Student                                                 Assistant Professor (OB & HR)