If you are interested in the impact of social media upon student learning, check out the paper How Blogs, Social Media, and Video Games Improve Education by Darrell M. West (Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute) that discusses the positive impacts of new media, Web 2.0 and even interactive gaming on individual learning and the collective classroom experience.
The rise of digital media (and all the nifty tools it has brought us) have lead to increased communication and ease of information dissemination among groups, resulting in a lesser role of the traditional subject expert. The expert is no longer the gatekeeper to a topic area as enormous amounts of data from legitimate sources are just a few quick keystrokes away for nearly any of us with an internet connection. Granted, nowadays s/he could just start a blog and be right back in the running as “expert”. Web 2.0 laid the groundwork for the challenge to traditional hierarchical communication in organizations, with some of the more innovative companies creating in-house social media platforms to enhance and encourage collaborative communication among staff. Is the classroom next?
Will the current generation growing up using peer-to-peer learning and crowd sourcing (albeit informally) on a daily basis truly learn in a traditional classroom? How can social media and networking platforms be used to enhance learning at all ages?