Social media is now recognized as a powerful communication tool not only in the corporate world but even in the academic field. With its global reach and capability to communicate in real time, this new media format has conquered the educational institutions worldwide.
In Asia, Singapore is one country that boasts of a high-performing education system. It has been using technology since 1997, way ahead of other Asian countries.
Singapore’s use of technology in its education system was a result of a three-part Masterplan implemented by the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector. The three masterplans were aimed at allowing students to use computers for 30 percent of their curriculum time, motivating teachers to use technology in teaching and equipping students with ICT competencies that would enable them to succeed in their future endeavors.
An ICT expert from the Nanyang Technological University pointed out that more than the equipment itself, the role of technology is vital in transforming the learning process and bringing it to a higher level. Dr. Pak Tee Ng, Associate Dean of the University’s Leadership Learning, Office of Graduate Studies and Professional Learning, added that as internet access, computers and other mobile devices are readily available to teachers and students these days, it is vital that these technologies are used appropriately and not serve as a distraction.
A study on the impact of social networking sites on university vocational technology (univoctec) students in Singapore also found that majority or 75 percent use social media. It revealed that social media usage not only improved the student’s social skills but as well as their learning skills.
Further, the research showed that tertiary education students use information technology tools for communicating with family and friends, reading news and entertainment. It cited as well factors such as students’ financial status, exposure to technology, popularity of social media, freedom to use social networking sites and attitudes towards social media that influence the adoption of social networking in teaching.
Benefits of ICT
The use of technology provides various benefits to both teachers and students. For one thing, it can expand access to education such as allowing students to access their course materials online any time they want and wherever they are. It also lets them learn at their own pace and discuss learning content with other students at the same time. On the part of parents, it allows them to choose the right schools and tuition center for their children even in the convenience of their home.
With technology, teachers can get students more engaged in their learning materials such as through the use of video clips, audio sounds and graphical presentations. Teachers for their part also enjoy better access to content that can help them improve their skills and that they can use in their teaching.