Sunday, 20 April 2014

Excerpt from my MA in Education The Education Research Project- The role of social media in enhancing learning and teaching

According to Conole in Moore (2013:6), social media has the potential to free us from constrains of transmission teaching. Moore points out that social media are nimble, flexible, easy to use, and often very powerful. They continually develop. Students can participate easily and create own learning spaces. Dewey in Moore (2013:6) recognised the importance of these approaches a century ago and stated that;
 ‘There should be more conjoint activities in which those instructed take part so that they may acquire a social sense of their own powers and of the materials and appliances used.’

Social Media platforms put the students and learning in the centre rather than the teacher.
If used correctly social media can many benefits of using social media in education.” Moore says (2013:6). For students breaking up the material, identifying patterns and putting all back together to create a new or different meaning are the key features of higher cognition. Social media is good for teaching students about the issues of authority, legitimacy and authenticity on the web, and also encourages the judgement skills. Properly designed tasks support the traditional literacy and numeracy through the generation of text and arithmetic based teaching and learning episodes. Using social media teaches students to decode and interpret visual material. Social media can also be used to teach the role of media in shaping our society and culture. Through social media students learn how to create usernames, upload images, manage a profile and perform other basic functions on the internet (2013:7)

One important benefit of using social media is to teach students how to behave appropriately on-line (2013:8). I think this is a significant benefit to all students for they spend majority of their free time on-line according to case studies questionnaires and focus group interview.    

Social media is good for classroom management as well. The ones which have ‘wall’ functions (Home for Facebook and Timeline for Twitter etc.) provides teachers feedback opportunities to students. There are also archive and search facilities which allow teachers to intervene or track students’ work. Social media users do not have to be at school to communicate about their work. It saves time and cost for travelling. All parents who have internet access can easily reach teachers to learn about their children’s progress or to ask about any issues they want to know. Students can also submit their work through internet which saves the cost of printing out or handing in paper-based work (2013:9).      

In ‘Social Networking for Schools’, Baule and Lewis stated that ‘Social networking’ builds collaboration skills that students will need in the work places. Students are enthusiastic about these technologies and schools should capitalize on that (2012:9). According to these writers education should embrace new methods and tools in order to continue to compete in a much smaller world. The book’s aim is to provide the reader with a basic understanding of existing and emerging social networking services and how they can be harnessed to assist schools.  They state that social networks are the fastest growing part of the economy. If schools ignore the impact they would go against the premises of education’s role which is to prepare students for the society. Social networks also allow members to communicate effectively throughout the electronic global environment (2012:9).  There is an unintended consequence of social network use by students; it breaks down the barriers among school cliques. Majority of students seem to be more willing to work with others outside of their normal social circles online (2012:11).     

In this chapter I tried to explain ‘The Social Media and its use’, ‘Issues around Social Media’, ‘Overview of the Social Media Tools’ and ‘The Role of Social Media enhancing learning and teaching’.
All the writers and researchers in my dissertation agree that if used appropriately, Social Media is a very useful educational tool. It is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions in order to minimise the danger. Poore believes in using digital technology will enhance learning and teaching. 

Social Media was born around 2005 through evolution of the Internet and the next generation of the web called Web 2.0 (2013: 4). Baule and Lewis stated Social Media as “the assembly, or coming together of individuals in specific groups or communities “linking people to each other in some way. Social networking sites bring people together who people interested in a particular subject.” (2012:2). Bosman and. Zagenczyk in White, King, Tsang state that ‘Social Media’ is a widespread phenomenon focused on connecting, sharing and collaborating (2011:3). They think that Social Networking is a very important portion of the world and schools need to instruct students on how to use social networks safely.

There are significant worries around using social media. Ofsted has published ‘Inspecting e-safety in schools’ guidelines. It is crucial that schools know about it and put into practice in order to get ‘Outstanding’ from the inspections (appendix 2). It can be downloaded from (
Department for children, schools and families has prepared two guidance booklets called Cyberbullying (Supporting school staff: Appendix 3) and Cyberbullying (A whole-school community issue: Appendix 4) ( that explains teachers about how to deal with Cyberbullying. It has been written by Childnet International for schools.
When using social media, it is important to check the privacy features and understand how to protect your posts. In all the web-sites above, they have clear explanations of how to send a post public or private. . It is also a good idea to use a good on-line anti-virus programme and do regular scans against spammers and viruses. 

There are 3 types of copyrights and IP (intellectual property), they are; institutional copyright and IP ownership, student copyright and IP ownership and third party copyright and IP ownership. You need to make sure that you know the content of the rights you hold in terms of copyright, and intellectual property; make sure you understand the Terms of Service that you are signing up for and its implications; have approval for posting content over which your institution holds; and speak to member of your school executive or legal expert if you have any queries. Otherwise you may be stripped or neutralise infringing content from the site (Poore, 2013: 203). You should be careful to choose a service that does not require students to hand over their copyright or IP to that service when they sign up. If you want to use third party material, it is necessary that you check for the copyright and IP issues. You may need to obtain permission from the copyright owner to use the material on your site. If not you are likely to bear some form of consequences. It is important to ensure your copyright and IP, as well.

The main social media sites available and includes: blogs, wikis, social networking (FaceBook or Bebo) and podcasts. There are also visual media such as; Video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion), Photosharing (Flickr, Instagram, Photobucket), and Slideshows (,, animations and comicstrips.
Twitter is one of the social media tools which allows people to compose short, frequent messages or ‘tweets’ up to 140 characters that are distributed by the Twitter network on the internet. You can follow and invite others, set up lists, send photos and Direct Messages (DMs). Because there are millions of tweets sent each day, to help people find them, members use hash (#) to tag the tweets about a specific topic. If many tweets take the same hashtag, then it is ‘trending’ (TT: Twitter trend). (Poore, 2013: 124-125)
 A wiki can be public or private, or on any topic. They are normally created by groups not by individuals. Wikipedia is the most famous example of Wikis. People can contribute to articles by editing or creating articles on any topic. However there are other wikis out there as well.     
Facebook is funded by Mark Zuckerberg. This is how they describe their mission: ‘Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.’  The users feel that they have control over the sites and features, and they use the tools such as; ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘comment’. 
One of the most used Social Media sites is YouTube. It is excellent to find short clips about the topics we do in class such as: writing CVs, pollution, nature, bullying, PE, music etc. Others are Vimeo, Daily Motion and Vine. Photo sharing websites are Flickr, Instagram, and Photobucket. Slideshow and Prezi are the two of the websites that you can share your slideshows on-line.  Animations and Comicstrips are other websites to use to create characters and tell stories using these characters.    

Possibilities are endless but I have chosen the ones I have used or I am familiar with. Digital world keeps reinventing itself and it is quite difficult for teachers to keep up with all the latest gadgets.

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