Part 2 in my "Top 10 Ed-Tech Trends of 2011" series.
The Growth of Social
The human population hit the 7 billion mark this year. 800 million of us are now on Facebook. And that old "six degrees of separation" thing? Facebook says that thanks to its network, there are actually just 4.74 degrees that separate us all. We're all closer now, so the story goes, thanks to social media.
That's opened a world of possibilities in education. No longer need a teacher feel isolated in the classroom. Even if there isn't a strong support network at her/his school, there are incredible ones online. No longer need PD be scheduled; it's on-demand and real-time. No longer need it be imposed from "above"; educators have built their own learning communities online.
And it's opened a world of possibilities for students too -- the ability to communicate, collaborate, and study with their peers online.
There have been a number of ed-tech companies move to cater to the social (media) learning trend -- and not just this year, of course, as educators' usage of social media is hardly new. (It was one of the important trends that I identified for 2010 too.) But perhaps one of the best indicators of schools' adoption of social media this year is the hockey-stick-like growth of Edmodo. At the end of 2010, the startup announced it had 1 million users; by the end of October 2011, that number had more than quadrupled.
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