Wednesday, 18 Apr, 2007 Technology
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Schools include MySpace in the curriculum

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A new open-source social networking software gains its power to be used in schools and other organizations.

University of Brighton was the first to introduce Elgg, a social network to help teachers in their interaction with children and use social networks like MySpace, blogs and Del.icio.us feeds for educational purposes.

If earlier, the access to these sites were seen as a an obstacle and were banned, now many teachers see it a helpful tool as this attracts great interest among teenagers.

Every participant taking part in the project will have a blog with profile page, and have an opportunity to share photos, ideas and communicate with friends in online communities.

Some tutors fear that such innovations will be ineffective, while inventors of the Elgg assure that this will not only result in more interested approach but also create a more natural atmosphere for learning. In fact, Elgg offer students and tutors the personal learning environment were they can exchange documents and talk to each other, participate in discussions and find common ground.

Now Elgg, that can be downloaded for free, embraces more than 50 schools and colleges worldwide and inventors anticipate an increasing success. besides the academic use, Elgg that now has versions in almost 40 languages, can compete with other social networks in the near future. Many private companies all around the world, including France Telecom are now in pace with the new software.

Using social networks to supplement education is just the beginnng. Eventually, our college education will consist of virtual classrooms, and occasional trips to campus. Homeschooling will be more prevalent and getting an online bachelor degree will become the standard instead of the exception.

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