Last updated: 10.12.11

Social media experts help to overhaul site for e-learning environment

A social media site is embracing e-learning by providing a forum environment for teachers and other academic professionals to share their knowledge and expertise, according to new reports.

Social networking moguls LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and former Facebook vice-president Matt Cohler will be part of the overhaul of Edmodo, the site that provides a social learning environment for its users, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Mr Hoffman, who launched the networking site which is now widely used among business professionals, said: "Just as LinkedIn is the professional graph for work and Facebook is the social graph for your friends, Edmodo is the educational graph for learning."

The aim of the venture, which has a basic resemblance to the largest social networking site to date Facebook, and can be used in a similar way but the emphasis is on professionalism and sharing teacher tips and educational information between users instead of the broad "social" aspect of the Facebook brand.

Users of the site can personalise their page by choosing a profile picture and also by following a theme of posts of topic discussions.

According to the media professionals, the main selling point of the social learning site is that it gives educational professionals the opportunity to share their ideas and gain feedback from others in the industry.

Mr Cohler commented: "People aren't using it in a social context. People are using it to share content with other teachers, they're using it to do homework assignments and grade assignments and manage their classrooms. It's quite a unique and important offering."

He also mentioned that he and Mr Hoffman have a lot of experience of building successful sites for such use and that this will be beneficial when re-launching the teacher online learning website.
Social Media Explorer chief executive Jason Falls wrote in the Education Nation's The Learning Curve blog that teachers who resist using social media in the classroom could be preventing their pupils from grasping an important component of future success.

He suggested: "Avoiding - or worse, banning - social media platforms for students prohibits them from being successful professionals in fields like accounting, chemistry, the arts and more."