The Use of Social Networking in Teacher Education in India

By Ahrar Husain and Nimrat Khandpur.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 11, 2015 $US5.00

Education in India is currently undergoing a great deal of change resulting in increased demand of professionalism from teachers. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009), which entitles children from ages six to fourteen years to free and compulsory education, lists certain essential competencies teachers need to have besides mandatory qualifications. India’s teacher education structure comprises institutes that traditionally deal with pre-service education and some government institutions, which have the mandate for also providing continuing education. Besides these, there are also various private players providing continuing teacher education. Considering the geographical spread and diversity of the country, quality of teacher education remains a cause for concern. Technology has been perceived as a means of assuring access of both student teachers and in-service teachers to quality content and also a means of networking. Policy documents have described technology as “a sound investment for continuous on-demand teacher training and support, research and content repositories, value-added distance education, and online campuses aimed at increasing the access, equity and quality of teacher education”. The need has been stated for “a web-based portal for teachers to exchange ideas, information and experiences”. Policy documents recommend that this needs to be incorporated into both pre-service as well as in-service teacher education. There is an effort to incorporate technology in teacher education but it is sporadic. This paper reports the use of social networking in pre-service and in-service teacher education, which is essentially limited to the use of blogs and online groups. Teacher educators, student teachers and in-service teachers were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule and focus groups to explore their perception of issues involved in the use of social networking for pre-service and continuing teacher education. Only subjects who were competent in basic use of ICT (defined in the paper) were included in the sample. Issues identified by teacher educators were related to infrastructure, no formal inclusion of ICT in the curriculum, time constraints including the limited duration of the programme and lack of training. Issues identified by student teachers were related to infrastructure, orientation to use, time constraints, confidence and a feeling that they lacked knowledge of “Net etiquette”. Issues identified by teachers were related to infrastructure, time, training, knowledge of opportunities and confidence. Use of social networking in pre-service education was suggested by teacher educators through the formation of closed groups for discussion and updating blogs, etc. Wiki’s were perceived as a useful means of sharing handouts with students. Student teachers reported the use of social networking and blogs within a class as a meaningful way of including social networking in pre-service teacher education. Suggestions for meaningful and effective use of social networking in in-service teacher education included widespread dissemination of existing portals, orientation programmes and formation of support groups among geographically close schools, with opportunities for face-to-face interaction.

Keywords: Social-networking, Indian, Teacher Education

The International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 21, Issue 3-4, March 2015, pp.13-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 11, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 417.602KB)).

Prof. Ahrar Husain

Professor and Dean, Faculty Of Education, Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central/ Federal University), New Delhi, Delhi, India

Dr. Nimrat Khandpur

Researcher, Azim Premji Foundation, New Delhi, India