Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Social Media and Educational Institution: an overview

Tarek Shawki, the Director of UNESCO, Egypt was the
presenter for this topic. He started out by extending greetings to the
audience. He mentioned himself as a strong supporter of the topic. He said that
this topic forced him to think deeply over the issue of Social Media and
Educational Institutions. He defined Social Media to be a strong platform for
exchange of dialogue, discovering information, sharing information. Then he
mentioned 10 forms of social media which included sharing and life cast.
He mentioned Facebook, Myspace to be the most
popular social networking sites. Also mentioned Blogs and wikis as popular
internet sites. He then answered the question if this media useful for
enhancing education for the teachers, by saying that most of teachers agree
with this statement. As teachers can find this as useful tool to develop their
communication skills with the students. He quoted from a presenter in a recent
Toronto conference that, Social Media is contributing to the future of
education in a very powerful way.
Next he went on the topic of how is Social Media
actually being used. The social media is not being used by people the way it is
supposed to be. Majority of the people just use to download rather than to
serve useful education related purpose. Even when the people are using it in an
active manner it is not very much effective on their education. He mentioned
the Social Media applications to oversimplify the educational information.
Furthermore he mentioned these applications and tools to be mundane, as they
are day to day activities like the ordinary stuff in life. It would be more
conflicting to say that all of social media serve educational purpose.

UNESCO had a debate on the social networking topic,
where 70 government panelists and more people participated to exchange their
views on opportunities and threats of this tool. The opportunity included
things like freedom of speech and empowering the people. On the other hand the
threats included issues like ensuring internet privacy and data protection. The
main points brought up in this debate were; Mobile phone and Social Media,
ethical standard for Social Media, How Social Media has changed the mass Media
and in what ways can it reduce poverty. The main goal was to fully exploit the
benefits of Social Media.
He concluded by saying that this topic should be talked about with people outside the block of
Social Networking as everyone should be engaged in this issue.


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