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Network education or educational social networking is the trend

Network education or educational social networking is the trend

Educators have always recognized the value of learning in a social setting. The traditional classroom is one icon of the learning process that has been instrumental in developing a fully-rounded person whose acquired knowledge and skill get the most rewarding exposure not in isolation but as an active part of society. That is why with the emergence and popularity of the social networking phenomenon over the last 5 years, it is no wonder that the interactive Web 2.0 technology in cyberspace is now harnessed in online learning in what is called educational networking or network education.

What network education basically does is use social networking as the pedagogical tool and delivery media for reaching a wider student population and providing a more effective and rewarding educational content and experience. Recognizing the youthful crowd as the main drivers of social network sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the recent Google+, to mention the popular ones, and the fact that the "social networking" phrase may carry a more negative connotation for old fashioned educators, the phrases "network education” and “educational networking" were coined to create an appropriate name positioned to add a new educational dimension to the social networking experience.

The PC has been seen to promise innovative teaching tools but it was not until the interactive Web 2.0 technologies took flight fueling the spread of social networking that the promise transformed into reality. With social networking, the way educators approach the teaching process and the way students view the learning process as a social interaction where information and education content is both pulled and pushed between teachers and students and among students themselves has forever altered the educational landscape of the 21st century.

Why did it take this long to recognize that Web 2.0 and education create a synergistic partnership? It is no secret that the academe is among the most skeptic. It didn’t help that the early social networkers had displayed vulgarity and garishness that made social sites less than the right medium for education. But the power that has fostered its negative impression is exactly the power the will make it an effective educational tool that empowers students to connect, access information, be creative and expressive, all on the fly. As an analogy, just because concrete is used to build casinos and brothels doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use concrete for schools and churches.

Social networking is not perfect and has its share of problems. But if people gravitate to social networks in the billions around the planet, and students use it for such whimsical purposes as promoting rumors, sharing photos and videos or just having fun, elevating it to the more noble purposive education process can only benefit the academe and the student population.