Tuesday, November 8, 2011
How do children learn today?
Aside from teachers and books, young people look to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr as valuable sources of information through peer-to-peer sharing of content. Information sites like Wikipedia and content-based platforms like blogs are also valuable learning highways today.
Welcome to Learning 2.0! Based on Web 2.0 technology, Learning 2.0 is when learners make use of web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the internet. Web 2.0 sites — social networks, blogs, wikis, video-sharing, etc. — allow users to interact with its creators and the community itself.
“There was a time when students are constrained in the library or in their houses to study. Now, you can actually study using technology, specifically these websites that students today use everyday. We’re lucky that technology is at our disposal.
All aspects of society have been touched by the internet. Internet is available 24/7/365,” said John Peter Abraham Ruero, president of Philippine Society for IT Educators, National Capital Region chapter.
Ruero spoke at the recent 9th Philippine Youth Congress in Information and Technology (Y4iT) 2011, hosted by the University of the Philippines- Diliman. Y4iT was organized by the UP Information Technology Training Center and was attended by over 26,000 delegates from all over the country. A total of 100 local and foreign IT experts shared their expertise on IT with the academe.
What excites students these days is the fact that technology is more dynamic and more responsive to their needs.
The days of web 1.0 — HTML (hypertext mark-up language), home pages, portals, client server, wired dial-up, etc. — have long been forgotten because what young people use these days are XML (Extensible Markup Language), web applications, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) used in blogs, peer-to-peer (networking), wireless broadband, etc.
All these are more user content-driven, where users are the ones putting in the contents rather than just consuming them.
“We are content consumers but once you upload photos on Facebook, you are already a content producer,” Ruero said. “This is the time when networks believe their contributions matter. This is why you can put comments on Facebook. The contributions or feedback given to you are actually important.”
For instance in Wikipedia, users may actually edit or add information to the page of a particular person, event, place, etc.
In Facebook, which has around 800 million users worldwide, an average of 250 million photos are being uploaded every day. YouTube users upload 48 hours of video every minute, or 69,120 hours every day.
A participatory culture is being encouraged among the users of internet.
This emerging age of culture produces an atmosphere of participation, creation and expression.
“Now there’s participation, there’s more creation and production of content. You can easily take videos and upload it. You get to learn something, not only from your teachers or the internet but from your peers,” Ruero explained.
PLAY TO LEARN
This is also the time when play is used in learning. Web-based games actually teach because play today also means the capacity to experiment with games where lessons become much more engaging.
“When we talk about play, our parents think of fun. But if you’re playing Farmville for instance, or Sim City, you’re so engaged. We already do problem-solving in games. Even if I don’t know the instructions of the game, I would know by actively engaging in the game. Games are a simulation or the ability to interpret, construct and describe the real world,” Ruero said.
However, Ruero said, students should have the right skills and competencies to learn properly in the world of Web 2.0. Since most of the contents come from users themselves, information may be inaccurate, or even bogus. It is not new that false information spreads in social networks.
For instance, the Oprah Winfrey statement where the millionaire host was supposed to have praised Filipina Miss Universe candidate Shamcey Supsup had been proven to be a hoax. An entry in a Wikipedia page about of a former Philippine President said this leader was a “former member of the Teletubbies”. This entry was subsequently removed from the page.
“We can use wikis in our research, we can bookmark websites for references. Today teachers are developing contents that are modularized so that when students log on, it can be a lot easier. They are more engaged. It must be personalized as much as you can so that students can get the content that they need, anytime, anywhere,” he said.
“Students must have the competency or the ability to judge the credibility of contents. Users have to remember that not all content producers are trustworthy,” Ruero further warned.
By ANGELO G. GARCIA