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W6 Q1 Abduvokhid
19 Posts
October 7, 2021 - 2:56 pm

Using social networks for learning purposes is one of the hotly debated issues. While some researchers advocate the benefits, others warn about the effects. However, I think that Web 2. technologies, including Facebook and Twitter, have some promising features for learning. Based on the read articles, I could say that SNS have great potentials for informal learning by offering collaborative work, mobility with speed and monitoring.
To begin, most of the researchers emphasizes that Facebook and Twitter showed positive results in group projects beyond the classroom as they support social interactions (Ebner et al. 2009). We can see the same results in the researches of Gao (et al. 2012), Elavsky (et al. 2011) and Beth(et al.2011). Since the group works gather people with the same interests (Ebner et al. 2009) and are often informal or sometimes playful (Dunlap & Lowenthal, 2009), it creates a place for open and intensive conversations. Hence, this leads to active participation when they are invited to contribute and share information and resources (Gao et al. 2012), and this process is one of the key points of the learning.
Another unique feature of SNS in the informal learning process is mobility. For instance, because Twitter is accessible via mobile phones, tweets could be sent when students are “walking in corridors,” “in cars at the end of the teaching day” or “during lunch breaks” as the thoughts occurred (Gao et al. 2012). Also, Ebner (et al. 2009) says this is an example of A3 (anytime, anywhere, anybody) and it is a completely free exchange, not driven by specific learning goals.
On the other hand, Ebner (et al. 2009) thinks that it is important to differentiate between communication between students and communication between students and teachers. Because some researches have shown that the amount of discussion about the course topics decreased slightly in some cases. Therefore, some researchers suggested finding out creative ways to convince students of Twitter’s benefits or establishing rewards to encourage its use (Rinaldo et al, 2011).

28 Posts
October 9, 2021 - 2:48 pm

Hello Abdu,

I enjoyed reading your post. I agree with your ideas about the ability of social networking sites to facilitate learning (i.e., to provide collaborative work, mobility with speed..). In particular, I think that the mobility feature is one of the powerful properties of SNS in that it is much more accessible to communicate with people and can maximize informal learning.

However, as you pointed out, I also think that the use of social media may not sufficiently reflect the discussion of course topics and may not be associated with informal learning. The mobility function of SNS may enhance the entertainment rather than learning, and not all conversations may contribute to learning. However, I am not sure how educators can motivate students to discuss and shape informal learning related to course topics through ‘appropriate (moderate degree of)’ guidance. In this sense, I would like to think in our next class about how teachers can help students get the most out of social media for their learning without compromising students’ informal learning opportunities.

25 Posts
October 9, 2021 - 4:07 pm

Thank you for bringing up the point of the ease of accessibility to social media sites, thereby making learning more democratic and equitable. However, there are still learners across the world for whom access to such virtual spaces is limited due to scarce resources. How would you say those who design learning social media, can keep their teaching models scalable and at the same time accessible to those in remote places?

19 Posts
October 9, 2021 - 7:34 pm

Hi Jeong-Yeon!

Yes, your point is correct, most of the younger generation uses social media for entertainment, and yes, this is because of their mobility and speed. However, for me, “formal” learning is about gaining certain knowledge and experience in a certain area in a traditional way (for example, attending lessons offline or online), while “informal” learning is about acquiring additional information or experience that is related to the topic outside the classroom. Informal learning is a crucial and supportive part of formal learning. At this point, mobility and speed play an important role: students can immediately receive feedback on their requests. As a result, instead of answering 10 questions (which will be collected over the course of a week), the teacher can provide new information. Consequently, by answering students’ questions on social networks, it is possible to accelerate the learning process.
In addition, informal learning mostly depends on the learner’s ambition and desire. If the desire is high to learn he/she makes a true choice between learning and leisure on SNS.

(My apologies if I could not understand your point of view or could not express myself)

19 Posts
October 9, 2021 - 7:49 pm

Hi Suha!

Yes, you raised an important issue! Accessibility is one of the most problems of informal learning on social networks. If we consider the issue from the learners perspective, the model of learning by the social networks are not preferable here, there is a need for another solution.

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