Bringing Social Media to the Classroom – Open Source & Free

Social media didn’t get the warmest welcome from the educational system, and it was always looked upon as total waste of time and a distraction. There are various reasons of why the use of social media tools in the classroom is still frowned upon by many educators, from the worries of content privacy and the over sharing nature of the classroom to others that rise out of lack of understanding of the social media environment itself. They might be valid reasons but they try to stop the wheels of time rather than go along with them.

Ironically students have been on the band wagon of social media adoption since the hay days of Myspace. The gap between them and their educators has been widening to the extent that when they try to educate their students in “internet” they are the ones taking notes of what is being said.

But things have been consistently warming up for the adoption of social networking as an education tool, and the wheels of the education system mammoth seems to be heading in the right direction. Hopefully ushering in a day where the computer in schools will move beyond its status of an over glorified workbook. So here are some of the tools that will provide the classroom and school with a lot of utilities and still address the concerns of privacy and the lack of control educators feel when using sites like Myspace and Facebook.

Welcome to the Moodle community!

Moodle is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) similar to other proprietary Blackboard. It is a Free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites. Allowing the students to digitize many classroom activities and providing them with tools that won’t break the schools tight wallets.

Moodle is easy to use and to set up. One of the greatest facilities provided by Moodle is the ability to link to online resources and create online quizzes and tests.

Welcome To Eduspaces

Join the world’s first and largest social networking site dedicated to education and educational technologies. Launched in 2004 and with over 20,000 members there is something in here for everyone interested in education. Eduspaces helps create a space where you can control the environment and create your own social network that provides a blogging platform, user networking and socializing with other students and educators enabling interesting project such as the Flat Classroom project and connecting people of similar interests.

Also you can create your own social network and host it locally if you would like more control over you environment by utilizing the open-source Elgg platform, which Eduspaces is based on.

Twiddla does Web meetings

Do you remember you had this one art class where they gave you a magazine to tear up and create something new, a collage? Well Twiddla does that to meetings, creating a unique web meeting experience that integrates whiteboard tools with a web browser and provides advanced capabilities such as conference calling and session recording.

With all that, it is reasonable to expect that this service comes with a price tag. That is absolutely the case but here is the sweetest part, the application is FREE for teachers and students and all you need is a .edu address to send them a request from!

These are just some of the great tools available to educators, that are both open source and free. Allowing students and teachers to not only utilize them but also encouraging them to contribute to the code, acquiring new technical skills along the way.

Have you used any online tools during your education? How was your experience with them? Let us hear your thoughts.

Comments and Reactions

  • Roba Al-Assi

    Great post! I really hope that more organizations, especially in education, embrace Open Source.

  • Beiruta

    We used to go online to check for books and for research, nothing like what is being utilized these days! Thanks for the share :)

  • 8 Ways to Use Social Networks in the Classroom | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] we talked about a few great resources for educators that are available for free online. These services were more focused on education and catering to their needs for creating internal [...]

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