Let me introduce you to the Film Annex Afghan Business Incubator, a program developed from Film Annex's Afghan Development Project to specifically help in aiding eLearning and Social Media Strategies.
For those of you who are new to my WebTV and articles, here is a quick rundown of the Afghan Development Project: It is an initiative by Film Annex in collaboration with the Afghan Citadel Software Company, Cisco, and USAID to build Internet classrooms for 40 schools. It is expected to place 400 computers and a reach of 160,000 children in Afghanistan. Approximately $15k-$30k is spent to build/renovate each classroom.
"The mission of the Afghan Development Project is to show the world the new face of Afghanistan by broadcasting current event videos, interviews, news clips, and archival material directly from the Afghan Youth Development. "--Francesco Rulli, Film Annex President
So far, three internet classrooms have already been built. With the newly installed technology, each classroom will be focusing on teaching the following objectives via the internet:
- Educational games and applications
- Language and translation
- Film production and post production
- Social Media Strategies
- Coding and software development
There is one subject on the list that sticks out in my mind. Social Media Strategies. As I mentioned above, Film Annex Afghan Business Incubator is the unit in charge of all eLearning and Social Media curriculum. But will this appear as more of a problem rather than a solution to some Afghan parents? These days parents are more worried about predators online than ever, so why would social media be a suitable addition to the school curriculum in Afghanistan? Allowing social media as a teaching tool in the classrooms sounds unfathomable, right?
What can social media do for education? More specifically, what can social media do for the Afghanistan Educational System?
Let's first define the term "social media". Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter may be the first things that come to mind when you hear anything about social media, also known as social networking. But that's only part of what social media really is. What about sites like Reddit, YouTube, and Flickr? Aren't they a part of social media as well?
Merriam-Webster defines social media as
"forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)".
Yep, that basically sums it up.
Microblogging, like with Twitter and Facebook statuses, sharing information and ideas like with Reddit, and other content sharing like YouTube. Mashable writer, Mark Hopkins, digs deeper into the meaning of social media in this article, if you are interested.
To understand the full potential social media has to assist learning, take a step away from thinking about social networking for a moment.
Websites like PBS.org and National Geographic have free tools and lessons for teachers to access and use. Students are also able to interact with each other with online educational games, videos, and collaborative assignments. From my own experience as a teacher's assistant, I can relay to you how much the children in my class enjoyed using online games. Space ship and racing games made the children most enthused to learn math. Whoever spelled the most words correctly in the limited amount of time was deemed champion of the lesson.
While I could make a long list of resources available to teachers and students, I think this article by Mashable writer Sarah Kessler (entitled The Case For Social Media In Schools) shares the greatness that is the use of social media in schools best. She shares what she believes are six major benefits to the good of using social media for learning, including :
- When kids are engaged, they learn better
- Online procrastination is replaced with social education
- Social media's ability to encourage collaboration rather than separation or cliques
With monitoring the right amount of internet activities and learning, any major worry that parents may have will subside. Social media is always changing. It isn't something students have to always depend on, but it is something that they can use to their advantage. Go ahead on you own time and find out what
What ways do you think Afghanistan teachers will or should integrate social media into their teaching with Internet classrooms?
Keisha Douglas is an independent filmmaker who specializes in music videos. When she is not filming, she is a blogger and freelance writer. She is the voice behind Mito Vox, an entertainment & etc. blog. To learn more about her freelance services visit her website. View all her Film Annex posts on her WebTv Channel.