" Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behaviour is learned observationally through modelling; from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviours are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action." ( Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory, 1977)
Bandura has set the floor for a new conception of learning as a social process where there is interaction and mindful observation as opposed to the mechanistic view of learning advocated by behaviourism. When Bandura started formulating his Social Learning Theory, there was nothing called web 2.0 tools or online social media and now that there is an abundance of such tools, social learning has even acquired a new dimension and is widely expanded to engulf many other forms of learning including e-learning, distance-learning, peer-to-peer learning, to mention but a few.
For learning to be successful it has to have a social ingredient in it. This social ingredient requires observation, attention and interaction. Students tend to learn better when they use their observational skills attentively. Thankfully, the new emerging technology provides these requirements and the onus is on the teacher to show students how to use and leverage such technology in their learning.
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has compiled a list of some great social learning platforms that educators and teachers can start with. Check them out and share them with your colleagues :
Although relatively new, Pinterest has proved to be a great social bookmarking website and is gaining in popularity day after day. It allows for a great social interaction among users and can also be a source of professional development for many teachers. Check out Teachers Easy Guide to The Use of Pinterest to learn more about the pedagogical implications of this platform.
This is the most popular social networking platform which also , if used properly, provides opportunities for social learning. Educators Guide to The Use of Facebook in Education will walk you through how to leverage this platform for educational purposes. Check it out.
Tweeters are socially engaged with each other. They share links, resources and learn from one another. Check out Twitter Tips Every Teacher should Know about to learn how to use this website for educational goals.
Ning provides several social networking groups specifically created by and desgined for teachers and educators where they interact with each other, share learning and teaching resources, and many more. Check out this list of The Best Educational Ning Groups for Teachers to learn more.
Although initially conceived of as a professional social networking website, yet so much of social interaction takes place within it. There are also many groups in LinkedIn that teachers can join in so as to connect with other educators from all around the world. To discover some of these groups and learn more about how use LinkedIn for educational purposes , I invite you to read Teachers Guide to The Use of LinkedIn.
Skype is an awesome web tool that allows educators and teachers to connect with each other and orgnaize online meetings from everywhere in the world. Check out Teachers Guide to The Use of Skype in Education to learn more about this platform.
Wikis are gaining traction in education as an ideal tool for collaborative work but there are more than just collaboration that makes a Wiki a promising web tool for teachers and students.This Guide will walk you through the potential of this tool in education.
Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs, have been around for a long time. Originally they were your family, relatives and friends, or probably other educators and fellow teachers you work with in the same institution, but now and thanks to the development of web technologies and wireless connections, the concept of PLNs has been expanded to engulf people you have never met before in real world. Much of the learning nowadays takes place online and via a network of interconnected relations. Check out Teachers Guide to The Use of PLNs in Education to learn more
The tremendous ease of use of a blog has made it a web tool of great potential in education. From 2005 up to this moment, thousands of educational blogs have seen the light and educators from all around the globe have been experiencing with this medium in their teaching.In this regard, I deemed it important to pause for a while and create an easy and simple guide to remind you ( in case you are an experienced blogger ) and walk the new teachers ( excited about how to use blogs in their classroom ) through the different procedures and pedagogical implications behind the use of blogs in education. Check out the Guide Here.
10- Web Conferencing Tools
With the advance of technology into education and the ease of accessibility to internet services, a new form of instruction based on web conferencing technologies has emerged. Web conferencing was initially introduced ino the world of business allowing conferencing events to be shared with remote locations but is now widely embraced in education.
11- Collaborative Web Tools
I have recently published a list of some of the best web tools that teachers and students can use to synchronously collaborate online, hold discussions, and backchannel. Check out the List Here.