Shared experience is the very fabric for human culture. It creates a sense of belonging, provides common ground for conversation and links us in ways that help us to relate to one another. Shared experiences can occur on a local level such as eating a hamburger at Louis’ Lunch or surviving Mrs. Muchen’s 8th grade math class. However, we also collectively share global experiences such as mainstream films, television shows and music which we reference through quotes, lyrics, and parodies. Those common experiences are the stitches that piece each of us into the quilt of society. Excitingly, social media is creating a whole new realm of shared human experience. Social learning deploys social media to help learners around the world unite to accomplish their learning goals, whether it be mastering linear equations or learning a foreign language. The following resources exemplify a few of the social learning resources emerging in our ever-expanding world of shared experience.
Openstudy, linked through Facebook, is a real-time collaborative online study question-and-answer style site linking over 100,000 students across the globe. Individuals can both pose questions and answer other peers’ queries. Participants earn credibility and merit within OpenStudy for effectively helping their peers by providing answers. Thus, OpenStudy creates communities of learners who can pool resources to mentor and support one another as they both teach and learn together. Students can search by subject or form their own course-specific group such as Freshman Biology through MIT OpenCourseWare to direct them to a peer community who is also learning the same material. OpenStudy can take collaborative learning to a rewarding new level.
Nabbber is a language vocabulary learning site that allows users to chronicle words that they have learned as well as follow others to learn their new vocabulary words. This site aims to make new language acquisition relevant and collaborative. As Nabbber users read, listen to music or watch shows, they can record new vocabulary words and share them with their followers. Users of Instreamia might also benefit from using Nabbber simultaneously. Users can sign up for Nabbber with existing Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts.
LiveMocha supports language acquisition through activities, instruction and real-time conversations. LiveMocha embraces a Whole-Part-Whole pedagogy which encourages the learner to observe, learn and then practice new language skills through provided activities. The act of speaking, rather than just reading and writing is emphasized. Learners can connect with a tutor or teacher, other learners and native speakers to improve their specific language skills. LiveMocha can be employed effectively as part of classroom instruction, as homework/lab work or as an independent learning tool.
Duolingo’s dual mission allows you to learn a language for free while also helping to translate the web into other languages. A unique form of “social learning,” duolingo has a positive social agenda to make more areas of the web accessible while simultaneously improving the translator’s own language skills. Therefore, social education is occurring on a multitude of levels. Duolingo users acquire mastery points as they progress through levels of learning and thus translation. Duolingo can also send daily reminders to prompt you to practice language skills more frequently.
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