Education Community Social Network For Azerbaijan Education Essay

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In this paper we discuss what is distant education how we can use education community social network for Azerbaijan. Distance education as a primary means of instruction is expanding significantly at the college and university level. First of all we should know that social networks such as Facebook, MySpace have been risen among today's college students. Then we should explain the definition of community, school community, social networks and which countries use these networks. Then to get information about their uses, standards, methods and frameworks. Afterwards find which issues have got these networks.

EDUCATION COMMUNITY

A Community is a group of people that live and work together. But community is not only consists of these people, it can also be special clubs or groups which share common interests and allows people to develop. Schools and universities is one of these communities which consist of director, teachers, students and etc.

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An education community is a public place that supports the success of students and their families. Using its capacity and resources it offers new services affordable for everyone in everywhere. Every education community is built on mutually beneficial partnerships with students, families, community agencies, businesses, and residents. And the differences among these communities vary depending on the uniqueness of its components. The education community model is often characterized by these four components:

Partnership between the school or university and at least one community-based organization;

Development of a advisory board with broad representation from the community;

Programs and services that support the academic success of students;

A full-time community school director or coordinator to manage all out-of-school time activities.

Schools and universities help students in their social life, education, health and etc. and become the centers of their community and are open to everyone - all day, every day, evenings and weekends, support them and meet all their needs.

The education communities play an essential role in children's life. And this in its turn impacts the future of whole country.

ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORK

A social network is an online service, platform or site. People who use these social networks can share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections. Each user has own profile which consist of these components. Most social network services are web-based and operate over the internet. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, interests, photos, videos, links within their individual networks.

SOCIAL NETWORK AND EDUCATION

Social networks are used as a communication tool between teachers and students. Nowadays students spend most time of the day in social networks. For that reason teachers also should choose such type of educational methods that can be adapted to these online networks. Chats for discussion, forums for posting assignments and answering questions, tests and quizzes are educational methods of these online networks.

Social network services are also being used in teacher-parent communication which helps parents to get information about their children's education from teachers. The main advantage is that parents can get this information without meeting face-to-face with their children's teachers.

METHODS OF ONLINE EDUCATION

There are some education methods which used in developed countries.

Synchronous learning - refers to a group of people learning the same things at the same time in the same place. Lecture is an example of synchronous learning in a face-to-face environment and with the advent of web conferencing tools, people can learn at the same time in different places as well. For example, use of instant messaging or live chat, webinars and video conferencing allow for students and teachers to collaborate and learn in real time.

Blended learning - is education that combines face-to-face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities. According to its proponents, the strategy creates a more integrated approach for both instructors and students. There is no consensus on a definition of blended learning. The terms "blended," "hybrid," and "mixed-mode" are used interchangeably in current research literature.

Situated learning - was first proposed by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger as a model of learning in a community of practice. At its simplest, situated learning is learning that takes place in the same context in which it is applied. Lave and Wenger argue that learning should not be viewed as simply the transmission of abstract and decontextualised knowledge from one individual to another, but a social process whereby knowledge is co-constructed; they suggest that such learning is situated in a specific context and embedded within a particular social and physical environment.

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"The act of writing in a Weblog, or "blogging" can go a long way toward teaching skills such as research, organizations and the synthesis of ideas." [5] Teachers/Instructors have come to realize just how important it is to utilize the web as a teaching tool for the new generation of students (Digital Natives). One of the best tools is Weblog. It gives the students an opportunity to think, research, and realize that they can write and have a voice that can be viewed and read by many who may or my not share the same idea. When students blog they are creating journals/text entries which is considered to be English (writing) and Reading; they also have the opportunity to utilize other learning tools such as videos, photos and other digital media. "Networked learning, in contrast, is committed to a vision of the social that stresses cooperation, interactivity, mutual benefit, and social engagement. The power of ten working interactively will invariably outstrip the power of one looking to beat out the other nine." [5]

Networked learning - is a process of developing and maintaining connections with people and information, and communicating in such a way so as to support one another's learning. The central term in this definition is connections. It takes a relational stance in which learning takes place both in relation to others and in relation to learning resources.

Networked learning is practiced in both informal and formal educational settings. In formal settings the learning achieved through networked communication is formally facilitated, assessed and/or recognized by an educational organization. In an informal setting, individuals maintain a learning network for their own interests, for learning "on-the-job", or for research purposes.

It has been suggested that networked learning offers educational institutions more functional efficiency, in that the curriculum can be more tightly managed centrally, or in the case of vocational learning, it can reduce costs to employers and tax payers. However, it is also argued that networked learning is too often considered within the presumption of institutionalized or educationalized learning, thereby omitting awareness of the benefits that networked learning has to informal or situated learning.

Asynchronous learning - is a student-centered teaching method that uses online learning resources to facilitate information sharing outside the constraints of time and place among a network of people. Asynchronous learning is based on constructivist theory, a student-centered approach that emphasizes the importance of peer-to-peer interactions. This approach combines self-study with asynchronous interactions to promote learning, and it can be used to facilitate learning in traditional on-campus education, distance education, and continuing education. This combined network of learners and the electronic network in which they communicate are referred to as an asynchronous learning network.

The online learning resources used to support asynchronous learning include email, electronic mailing lists, threaded conferencing systems, online discussion boards, wikis, and blogs. Course management systems such as CampusCruiser LMS, Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, and Sakai have been developed to support online interaction, allowing users to organize discussions, post and reply to messages, and upload and access multimedia. These asynchronous forms of communication are sometimes supplemented with synchronous components, including text and voice chat, telephone conversations, videoconferencing, and even meetings in virtual spaces such as Second Life, where discussions can be facilitated among groups of students.

MODES AND MODELS OF ONLINE EDUCATION

Distance education is a planned learning experience or method of instruction of the instructor and learner. Distance education system, information and communication are exchanged through print or electronic communications media [1] (see figure 1).

UNESCO defines distance education as "an educational process and system in which all or a significant proportion of the teaching is carried out by someone or something removed in space and time from the learner."

Distance education requires

• Structured planning

• Well-designed courses

• Special instructional techniques

• Methods of communication by electronic and other technologies

Figure 1: Distance Education Defined (UNESCO)

Distance education is also a broad approach characterized by a high degree of variation. Such variation includes the types of media or technology used (print, radio, computer); the nature of the learning (workshop, seminar, degree program, supplement to traditional classroom, levels of support); institutional settings; topics addressed; and levels of interactivity support (face-to-face, online, blended, none) [2].

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At the bottom there are some types of distance education and their main modes.

Correspondence model:

Print

Audio-based models:

Broadcast: IRI

Narrowcast: IAI (via audio tape or CDs)

Two-way radio, Audio conferencing and telephone,

Broadcast radio

Television models

Broadcast television (educational and instructional)

Videoconferencing

Video

Computer-based multimedia models

Interactive video (disc and tape)

CD-ROMs

Digital videodiscs (DVDs/VCDs)

Interactive multimedia

Web-based models

Computer-mediated communication

Internet-based access to World Wide Web resources

Online courses (e-learning)

Online conferences (webcasts and webinars)

Virtual classes/schools (cyber schools) and universities

Mobile models

Hand-held devices

Portable media players (podcasting)

Cell phones and smart phones

Tablets

E-readers

There are the various programs associated with each distance education mode have different entry requirements, scope, duration, organization, and foci and may or may not be specific time and location. Many of the above forms of distance education have multiple audiences. Print and Web-based distance modes are directed primarily at teachers. Audio, virtual classrooms, television, digital learning games, immersive environments, and IRI primarily target students.

One of the fastest-evolving modes of distance education is Web-based or online learning (also referred to as virtual learning or e-learning). This mode is expanding in nations such as the United States, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe - countries where high speed broadband access is prevalent, school or home Internet access rates are high, and technology skills are broadly disseminated.

There are multiple motivations for using online learning. The first is as a replacement for face-to-face instruction, particularly in cases where the latter is too costly or is logistically impossible to carry out successfully.

A second motivation for online learning is as an enhancement of the face-to-face learning experience. If this improvement occurs, online learning as an enhancement application may be worth the additional time and resources. If not, it may be a waste of time and money, since its addition does not improve learning outcomes.

These are the two major motivations that drive policymakers and institutions to develop online learning possibilities; however, several other motivations should drive adoption of online learning, one of which is accessibility. "Accessibility" here has several meanings. The Internet provides access to experiences, resources, and interpersonal professional interactions that would be impossible in a non-networked environment. Online learning should also be considered successful if it provides opportunities for learning that would otherwise be unavailable.

A fourth motivation for online learning lies in its popularity, an attribute that should not be discounted. Professional development, for a variety of reasons, is often a tough sell to teachers. Where online learning is offered, it is extremely popular, as seen by the increase in its supply and demand rates. Motivation is an important ingredient in willingness to engage in, and complete, formal learning opportunities.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Today's students and educators live in the world of Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube. These and many other social networking and social media applications are part of the so called social web.

The importance of interaction in learning is emphasized in modern learning theories. For example connectives recognizes that the digital and networked nature of our daily lives requires learning which occurs through interaction with various sources of knowledge and participation in communities of common interest, social network and group task. But there are some negative aspects of such type of educational community. For instance, The social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter are open for anyone who wants to participate. Therefore there is such a problem about privacy; who has access to the information and what is used for? Whose role is it- parent, student, educator or website developer? Much time spending in network has an affect on health of individuals, because spending a lot of time browsing these social networks weakens the immune level, function of arteries. Moreover the use of social networking in the education can cause lack of motivation, towards learning and can be boring sitting in front of computer for a long time.

Then, e-learning does not afford the student with the same opportunities of explanation and clarification that occur in face-to face interaction. Learners face some difficulty through social networking in expressing their ideas orally.

Face to face allows individuals to perceive physical clues like tone, inflection, body language, in an online these are lacking. Positive aspects of online interaction with teachers and peers include the following access to peer and expert knowledge, ability to receive feedback from teachers and peers and an opportunity to reflect on the exchanged messages. By expressing their thoughts , discussing and challenging the ideas of others and working together towards a group solution to a given problem, educators develop critical thinking skills of self-reflection and construction of knowledge.

The social networking is easy and quick in term of accessing accessibility, reviewing, updating, and editing learning material needs anytime and anywhere. In addition, it allows for option to select learning materials from large quantity of courses offered online which the learner needs and it also makes easier distribution of courses material.

The social networking helps to reduce stress and increase satisfaction among students. It allows each student (slow or quick) to study at their own pace and speed (self-pacing). It can provide stronger understanding and increase retention on the subject , due to using many elements which exist under e-learning, e.g. multimedia, quizzes, interaction ... etc and the ability to retry training and over in order to understand.

In order to yield the expected educational benefits social networking has to be accompanied with a pedagogical approach.