Learning can be defined and emphasized differently depending on discipline, geographic context, or time period. Here, I believe that learning is not defined as the academic achievement of simply accepting knowledge and scoring it on official exams in school. Rather, I would like to see learning as a large concept including knowledge, skills, critical thinking, behaviors, attitudes, and motivations. I also think that such learning is acquired through constructivism by constantly interacting with one’s past experiences, people, and the environment around them. Therefore, I think it is important how well one can connect and transfer one’s past experiences and background knowledge with newly accepted stimuli and experiences.
For example, among the various social media, Facebook, the focus of this week’s reading, can be supportive for learning in that it helps create interactions through its affordance of strong interconnections (Greenhow et al., 2009) and in this sense, I think that it functions as a learning environment. It is designed to have personal profiling and feature of postings their existing experiences and it can be easily interconnected with other’s experience by displayed on other people’s pages.
However, I do not think that these affordances of Facebook (or Web 2.0) is fully accessible, despite the potential of Facebook to function as a learning environment. As pointed out by Mance and Ranieri (2013), hierarchical organization as a school system can conflict with the characteristic of open platforms like Facebook, which makes Facebook only function as LMS and VLEs that have been used over the last few decades.
I think you raise an excellent point. The technology features may be compatible with constructivist-oriented classrooms but the school culture, norms, and organization around the technology’s integration into learning may be at odds. This disconnect is a major challenge to the use of social media in formal learning environments. As you think more broadly about whether a technology such as social media can be a “learning technology” do you see other factors that might influence (for or against) social media’s adoption for learning today?
While it is true that Facebook has a number of features that could potentially be used to foster a learning environment, its sourcing of data has often been in the use for unethical reasons. Do you think this could also be a reason why some students and instructors don’t feel comfortable sharing their learning journeys on the platform? This perhaps goes beyond the scope of accessibility, in that those who can still use the features, choose not to.
I think not only students and teachers but also parents have a significant role in the social media adoption in classrooms. Let’s assume that there are many studies showing the benefits of using Facebook for learning. In my opinion, a considerable number of parents, especially parents of young children, would still not want their children to have a Facebook account because of privacy and security concerns. I believe their concerns are definitely acceptable. On the other hand, parents might think more positively about the usage of social media platforms that are designed only for education because risks about security and data privacy are generally less on these platforms. Therefore, when we think about ethical side of social media in education, parents’ ideas should also be considered.
I do appreciate Suha and Betul’s responses to Dr. Greenhow’s question about the positive or negative impacts of adopting social media for learning. I totally agree with both of them; unethical use of data and disagreement from parent due to privacy and security reasons.
Additionally, since such social media were not developed for educational purposes at first, I think there are a few more things that hinder social media to be used as true learning tools. First, the constant exposure of advertisements can promote materialistic values from students. (These days, advertisements are so clever that it just looks like postings, not advertisements.) Also, the good affordance of social media to share and interact with others can act as a disadvantage, providing a space for students to easily and consistently compare with others. It can damage mental health, self-esteem of students who are in vulnerable stages. Lastly, there is also a risk that one’s opinions may be biased in one direction because they exposed to certain postings related to their interested topics/tendencies by algorithms. I think these are part of the factors that might influence social media’s adoption for learning.
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