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19 Posts
September 22, 2021 - 9:45 pm

The right choice of teaching theory will undoubtedly be a factor in how high the outcome is. At this point, I think that while the cognitive approach is more appropriate for primary school students, a conceptual approach could be used in the later stages of high school or tertiary education. Since most objects of studies on using social media in education focused on learning in higher education (S.Manca & M. Ranieri 2016, p 508), I think social constructivism is more suitable to succeed.
According to social constructivism learning is a collaborative process, and knowledge develops from individuals’ interactions with their culture and society (Saul McLeod, 2019). Considering that social media is one of the integral parts of modern society, we can find the connection between learning and social media.
The younger generation is undoubtedly the largest consumer of social networks (S.Manca & M. Ranieri 2013, p 492), and their active participation in this virtual space motivates researchers to use this space for educational purposes. For example, social networks like Facebook provide an opportunity to find the information you need from different sources and different points of view. Hence, it makes it possible to compare, exchange and sort ideas on a specific topic. Since this process helps to find the right or the most perfect answer, why can’t we use it in learning? I think, by this component social media is compatible with the social constructivist theory.
Another aspect of social media is the availability of uploading different types of materials such as text, audio and video. The diversity of materials makes any process interesting, including learning. In my opinion, you join a social community if it suits your interests. At this point, diversity plays an important role in providing additional opportunities. Moreover, being a part of such a community forces you to be creative in order to find your place inside the community. This leads you to another level. As C.Greenhow emphasizes-“Participatory culture might take the form of “affiliations,” such as online communities centred on people’s background, interests, connections, and media (e.g., Facebook or MySpace); creative self- or collective “expressions” (e.g., fan video making, mash-ups); “collaborative problem solving” (e.g., Wikipedia); and “circulations” (e.g., podcasting, blogging)”(C.Greenhow 2009). For that reason, I think, social media is more attractive than other Web 2 technologies for learning.
On the other hand, the time, reliability and scientific basis should be considered while using social media, particularly Facebook, as a learning environment. For instance, I know the one authority who deliberately deleted her Facebook account just to make her time more effective. Regardless of you using your social media for educational or entertainment purposes, your community will impact your time spending: more friends-more time to communicate.
Moreover, as you have more materials, you would not have sufficient time to consider their reliability.
To sum up, I completely believe that social media could be an impactful resource for learning. While there is the possibility of good feedback, creativity, exchange of ideas, social media completely supports the social constructivist theory. However, it is more suitable for use as an informal tool for formal education. Therefore, in my opinion, it should be used as a powerful tool for learning rather than a learning environment.
(PS: This is just my opinion. Maybe I’m wrong to some extent because I am not aware of all features of social media. So, there you are welcome to correct me!)

36 Posts
September 24, 2021 - 9:35 am

Hi Abdu,
Thank you for your thoughtful post. Like Betul and Jeong, you see social constructivist or constructivist learning theory as well aligned with the affordances of social media. Such theorizing is very common in the social media in education research literature. Can you say a little more about what you mean by “it should be used as a powerful tool for learning rather than a learning environment.” What do you see as the difference between using social media as a “tool for learning” rather than using it “as a learning environment”? Thank you for clarifying this distinction. I look forward to your thoughts!

19 Posts
September 24, 2021 - 11:50 pm

Greetings Dr Greenhow!
Regarding the issue, I think the whole learning process is built from particles called tools. These particles, I think, should be different materials from different industries. Hence, social media as one of these tools could fill a part of the educational environment. IIn detail, social media, such as Facebook, could be used for a certain part of the learning: for feedback, group discussion, informal debate and so on. Since, in my opinion, the learning process is to get knowledge from 0 to 100% about a certain topic, social media could be used as a part of this process with taking a certain percentage (maybe 30% or 60%).
For instance, if I want to learn how to publish an article, my further actions could be a) find a source about basics; b) get suggestions from professionals; c) write a draft; d) get feedback and e) publish an article. Here, social media can help me just to some extend, not completely, because there are issues about reliability and access. So, I think that Facebook could be part of this process, as a tool in this knowledge-building process.
In an environment, we will find anything we need! However, can social media fulfil our all needs in learning? I do not think so, at least at the moment. Maybe there is a need for investigations on this issue.

PS: I hope I could explain my point of view. If not my apologies! Maybe my experience is not enough to discuss this issue(that’s why I am here, to learn). However, as knowledge sharpens in discussions, I just wanted to share my opinion!

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