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Social media & Education

MA Creativity & Innovation


Mario Gielen

CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION IN THE MEDIA IOT 5011 - Lecturer: Dr. Brenda Murphy

Gielen Mario SOCIAL MEDIA AND EDUCATION

CONTENT
ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION METHODOLOGY RESULTS SHIFT TOWARDS A SOCIAL AND PARTICIPATORY PEDAGOGY USE OR BLOCK SOCIAL MEDIA IN EDUCATION FUTURE EDUCATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONCLUSION REFERENCES APPENDIX APPENDIX 1 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS APPENDIX 2 BACKGROUND INTERVIEWEES 3 4 5 6 6 9 12 14 15 17 17 18

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SOCIAL MEDIA & EDUCATION


ABSTRACT
The purpose of this paper is to report about the implementation of Social Media in all the levels of our educational system. The research for this paper has been conducted through semi-structured interviews and primarily through desk research on significant literature research. This paper examines the perception of a lecturer, a scientist and a PhD-student on the integration of social media into education. The Harvard system will be applied for referencing. The originality and value of this paper shows different points of view on our changing educational climate. The paper examines what defines social media and points out the specific role it can have in education nowadays and in the future. The results of the research will dig deeper in the shift in pedagogy of the 21st century. It will give an overview of using, misusing or blocking social media in education. The research points out new learning and teaching approaches under the influence of social media and it builds an image of the education of the future. The main conclusion from the study was that social media is an important tool for current education and will become a very important tool to enhance future education. On the other hand, the applied pedagogy of educators has to be adapted specifically to integrate social media effectively in our school climate of the 21st century. Our educational system has to value and take advantage of learners pre-existing skills. Social media can enhance the learning process related to participation, community connections, social interaction and global networking.

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INTRODUCTION
According to Bill Ashraf (2009) the hyped Web 2.0 is a diverse combination of multi-media technology that is changing the way people live and learn. There is a shift from read only web sites to read-write and interactivity is determined to stay. Web 2.0 includes influential tools and technologies which provide platforms for our students to share and exchange information about themselves. Students can easily achieve this through social media, which allows them to be part of social networking, searching and book marking information, as well as providing different ways for self-expression such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Wikis, blogs and podcasts. Social media is therefore anything where users can participate, create and share content. Demographics on Marketing Hub show display some interesting results on Social Media. 84% of the users are aged between 14 and 26 years old. 55% of members are female and 45% are male. TechCrunchies points out that social networking is still not as popular as email. Since social networking increases, email activity also increases automatically. The top 3 social activities ranked in the order of popularity are email, social networking and online chat.

Use of social media in 2009


9% 52% Bulletin Boards 28% Social Networks Online video 12% 25% Podcasts Twitter 45% 36% Don t use any Blogs Wikis

80%

Gielen Mario SOCIAL MEDIA AND EDUCATION

METHODOLOGY
The methodology used for the research of this paper consists out of 2 phases. In the primary phase, the research will be based on desk research to become an expert in the field. In the next phase, an interview will be compiled based on the gathered information, which will be primarily used to conduct a pilot interview with an expert in the field from Malta to test the structure and details of the interview. The reason of using pilot interviews is illustrated clearly by a quote of Bryman (2008): Piloting an interview schedule can provide interviewers with some experience of using it and can infuse them with a greater sense of confidence. After adapting the interview and finalising it in its final shape, it will be used to conduct two interviews in the second phase. The interviewees in my research are lecturer Dr. Mugliett from the University of Malta, scientist Giovanni Buttigieg from the Ministry for Science and Technology and finally, Simon Spiteri who is a PHD-student in South Hampton researching didactical approaches. After conducting the interviews, the information will be transformed into transcriptions, which will be used to build the results chapter.

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RESULTS
SHIFT TOWARDS A SOCIAL AND PARTICIPATORY PEDAGOGY
In Digital Natives, Digital immigrants, Prensky (2001, part I) quotes: Our students have changed radically. Todays students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. Our students today are all native speakers of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

Therefore students also demand excellent, inspired and interactive teaching. The Digital Native generation has grown up with new media of e-mail, semantic websites, blogs and virtual worlds. Laurillard (2008) quotes: education is on the brink of being transformed through learning technologies; however, it has been on that brink for some decades now. Tapscott (2009) refers to the old system, which was focused on one-way-broadcast learning or the principle One size fits all. Dr. Mugliett and Mr. Buttigieg both agree in being victims of this traditional educational approach. This way of teaching is as old as the Industrial Age, when workers did what they were told. The teacher was the all-knowing expert, and he or she was supposed to deliver knowledge to interested learners who had to reproduce this knowledge during assessments.

According to McLoughlin and Lee (2010) pedagogical change and greater personalisation is essential for student-centred, self-regulated and independent learning. Mr. Spiteri points out the Experiential Learning approach, which can be applied in an e-learning environment or even in a virtual world. This technique provides learning through reflexion on doing by case studies and scenarios. Les Dawes, A. et al. (2005) mention that through experiential learning, students learn by direct involvement and there is room for discussion, which gives students

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actually time to think. Dr. Mugliett views it from the academic point of view and she emphasises to maintain the traditional approach where the book still has an important value. However wherever ICT can make things more stimulating, interesting, helping, motivating, she highlights that education should use that route according to her. She applies the blended learning approach at the University of Malta and she encourages her students to be confident users of this technique.

Green, H. et al (2005) sum up four key areas to enable personal learning through digital technology. First of all, pedagogy must ensure that learners are capable of making informed educational decisions. Secondly pedagogy must diversify and recognise different forms of skills and knowledge. Another crucial area is that pedagogy must create diverse learning environments. The final essential area is that pedagogy must include learner-focused forms of feedback and assessment.

Brown, J.S. & Adler, R.P. (2008) declare that pedagogy has to foresee that learners are active participants and co-producers of learning resources rather than passive consumers of content. Learning processes have to be participatory and social, supportive of personal life goals and needs. McLoughlin and Lee (2010) agree by signalling the need for pedagogies that are more personal, social and participatory. According Dr. Mugliett, teachers have to speak the same language as the students they are teaching. She motivates future teachers to create lessons on media students that students love such as yahoo groups, chat groups on msn, etc. Since social networking became part of students daily routine, there has to be an expansion or shift from social network to purposeful network to discuss things and to collaborate. Dr. Mugliett states that this is the future Education 2.0 since a social network has the possibility to reach a big spectrum of ability. She says literally: We miss out if we dont use that opportunity we have

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today. Education should be moving into areas where there is much more interaction and a different level of interaction.

To conclude this chapter, Driver et al. (1994) highlight the real challenge with integrating technology into education is that educators are nowadays responsible for two roles. Supporting learners by introducing new ideas or cultural tools and making sense of these for themselves. Besides this role, educators have a diagnostic role by continually examining students interpretations of activities in order to help determine an appropriate direction for subsequent steps. McLoughlin and Lee (2010) quote in their conclusion: pedagogical change does not involve only adoption of appropriate teaching approaches, but also awareness of the learner experience, and the importance of valuing learners pre-existing skills and capitalising on them, while exploring and integrating social media in ways that pave the way for participation, community connections, social interaction and global networking.

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USE OR BLOCK SOCIAL MEDIA IN EDUCATION


This chapter examines the possible advantages of using social media in the field of education according to experts in the field. It will give an overview of using, misusing or blocking social media in education. The chapter also gives an overview of typical opponents towards technology in education.

The Web 2.0 tools create a lot of advantages when integrating social media into the daily curriculum. McLoughlin and Lee (2010) quote: The socially based tools and technologies of the Web 2.0 movement are capable of supporting informal conversation, reflexive dialogue and collaborative content generation, enabling access to a wide raft of ideas and representations. According to Lee, M. J. W., McLoughlin, C. & Chan, A. (2008) many social software tools enhance the active role of students in their own learning process by allowing autonomy and engagement in global communities by exchanging ideas and creating knowledge. Social media can enhance the interaction and feedback between student and educator.

Selwyn, N., et al. (2008) state that e-learning environments offer a lot of possibilities for educators and learners, which can be compared with the implementation of social media. A digital learning platform allow educators and learners to create their own profiles, upload photographs, videos and documents, join forums and discussion groups, send messages and publish blogs and presentations. Students can form social communities as well as study groups related to academic learning. Dr. Mugliett emphasises that digital technology such as social media can be applied in all levels of education, even in primary school. It is important to find an approach in which students can interact and where it exactly fits into their

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education. Since students of all ages are familiar with social networks and YouTube, it would be unwise not to use these tools in the classroom context.

McLoughlin and Lee (2010) quote: Social media tools can shift control to the learner, through promoting learner agency, autonomy and engagement in social networks that straddle multiple real and virtual learning spaces independent of physical, geographic, institutional and organisational boundaries. Previous research of Dron (2007) states the growing appreciation of the need to support and encourage learner control over the entire learning process.

Besides advantages, there are of course some disadvantages, which cannot be ignored for educators to use social media. All three interviewees doubt the issue privacy from the point of view of both teacher and learner to interact on an informal platform such as Facebook. According to Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Spiteri, creating both a professional and private account could be an easy solution to solve this privacy issue. According to McLoughlin and Lee (2010) education institutes are still depending on conservative, established course management systems and virtual learning environments, which not emphasise on using the effectiveness of social media. The concept of personal learning environment (PLE) is already a step further than an e-learning environment such as Moodle. A PLE is a dynamic improvement since it focuses on the integration of Web 2.0 tools that provides the integration of essential learning outcomes such as informal learning, self-directed learning and lifelong learning.

During the interview Dr. Mugliett pointed out that the integration of technology in Malta is still in its primary phase. Educators are now realising the importance but they still do not posses the ability to maximise the efficiency of digital technologies in education such as

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learning environments or social media. When a student is not using or does not have access to social media, he or she will be excluded from the course. This problem of course points out that social media cannot solve all communications problems. Further more social media can not give an educator total control over his or her message. Computers are for young people, is a quote from Mr. Spiteri during the interview. Educators fear using technology, they are not familiar with. In the huge and very divers group of educators, there are a lot of opponents for actually using social media in the field of education. According to all interviewees, the problem is that the people, who are against it, are the teachers of a certain age who are in their comfort zone. A strange phenomenon according to Dr. Mugliett is that also students who just graduated, somehow always fall into the trap of once they are at school, they go back to the way of teaching like the way they were taught. This is off course very strange and the reason according to Dr. Mugliett here fore is the transformation, which is quite overwhelming for a teacher because of the know-how and mostly because of the incompetence to integrate these newer methods. To conclude this chapter whether educators should apply or block the integration of social media in their daily practice, it is important to consider the following. Teachers, who decide to use social media, have to ensure the integration of the tools with sound pedagogical strategies such as facilitating authentic exchange and dialogue with and amongst students. It is important that there are measurable outcomes when applying these WEB2.0 tools in the classroom. Therefore it is important that educators do not try to use every platform but better focus on one tool, which can be used very successfully in their particular subject. Privacy issues and feeling unwelcome in their students online social networks and communities are limitations that need to be considered.

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FUTURE EDUCATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA


McLoughlin and Lee (2010) describe that students are become active as both producers and consumers, or prosumers of knowledge, ideas and artefacts. The future drivers of change are the students themselves according to Windham (2005). Their preferences, needs, social habits and technology choices are exceptionally valuable to predict the future landscape of education. Since social networking is part of their daily life together with being connected continuously which result in a mix of

All this combined with the uptake of mobile devices and the rise of social media, students now juggle work and study, expect constant Internet connectivity and web-based services, and view social networking tools a being central to their lives.

According to all interviewees, the evolution education is a random process, which can be compared with the butterfly effect. Dr. Mugliett quotes: It is very difficult to predict because the technology we have nowadays, I never dreamt of. Only 5 years ago, the situation in Malta was completely different. She hopes for the future that schools will apply a more constructive approach. The student has to become much more in the centre, more then they are now. In Malta it is still very topic-centred or teacher-centred. The schools also have to think about a new shape and layout for classrooms where the teacher can facilitate the lessons, and the students are able to collaborate supported by a good number of technologies designed for learning purpose. Eventually she hopes it will be an environment where is also space for students teaching themselves. According to Mr. Buttigieg it depends on the location. He is afraid the learning divide will not get significantly bridged. There is a great chance that those with no facilities might get some basic ones but a great part will remain so. Schools with basic facilities will remain the same and those who have ordinary classrooms will get

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something better. Schools, which are already at the front end, will get the most significant improvements. Mr. Spiteri is quite sceptic towards 3D-learning environments, which lack the social aspect like Mr. Buttigieg mentions. He is afraid that University courses will loose credibility because of the uncertainty that students are actually learning themselves.

As conclusion of this section, Bill Ashraf (2009) quotes: This new world of apparently always-on/never-off; always-connected and listening in isolation but somehow collaborating online; in a dedicated, opted into, social space and always aware of each other; was somewhat perplexing. This technological innovation makes a 24/7 learning environment available in a rapidly developing customer-led 24/7 culture. It allows the student to determine his own learning process and the student decides when and whenever he requires support.

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CONCLUSION
Although there are numerous misconceptions about social media in general, many authors agree social media is in fact all media where users can participate, create and share content. Since our students and educational opportunities have changed dramatically, nowadays our educational system is shifting from the One size fits all approach towards a more individualistic approach. New learning and teaching approaches, which enhance studentcentred, self-regulated and independent learning, can accomplish excellent, inspired and interactive teaching. Research highlights the importance of pedagogy particular designed to support this process. There are many arguments to integrate or block social media in all levels of education. Besides the advantages of living and learning in a 24/7 learning environment, there are also some disadvantages such as privacy issues. When educators decide to apply social media in their curriculum, they have to ensure the integration of the tools with sound pedagogical strategies as mentioned above. In future education students become prosumers who are responsible for their own learning process. Student-centred education is the way forward, although education in Malta is still very topic-centred or teacher-centred. To conclude this research the paper highlights the importance of social media in education. Since education is not limited to the school environment, schooling has to apply new and innovative approaches to transfer education into edutainment so schooling can keep up with education.

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REFERENCES
Ashraf, B. (2009) Teaching the Google-eyed YouTube generation. Emerald Insight, Vol. 51 No. 5/6, pp. 343-352. Brown, J.S. & Adler, R.P. (2008) Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail, and Learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 43(1), 16-32. Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods. third Edition, Oxford University Press. Driver, R., Asoko, H., Leach, J., Mortimer, E. & Scott, P. (1994) Constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom. Educational Researcher, 23(7), 5-12. Dron, J. (2007) Designing the undesignable: Social software and control. Educational Technology & Society, 10(3), 60-71. Green, H., Facer, K., Rudd, T., Dillon, P. & Humphreys, P. (2005) Personalisation and digital technologies. Bristol: Futurelab. Available from: <http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/opening_education/Personalisation_report .pdf> [Accessed 26 April 2010]. Laurillard, D. (2008) Digital Technologies and Their Role in Achieving Our Ambitions For Education, University of London, London. Lee, M. J. W., McLoughlin, C. & Chan, A. (2008) Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalysts for knowledge creation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(3), 501-521. Les Dawes, A. et al. (2005) Student experiential learning. In: 4th ASEE/AaeE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education, 26 September 2005, Sydney.

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Marketing Hub (2009) Social Networking Demographics [Internet], Marketing Hub. Available from: <http://www.marketinghub.info/social-networking-demographics> [Accessed 26 April 2010]. McLoughlin and Lee (2010) Personalised and self regulated learning in the Web 2.0 era: International exemplars of innovative pedagogy using social software. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(1), 28-43. Naveen, G. (2009) Most Used Social Media Channels in 2009 [Internet], Tech Crunchies. Available from: <http://gorumors.com/crunchies/most-used-social-media-channels-in-2009/ [Accessed 23 April 2010]. Prenksy, M. (2001a) Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), pp.16. Selwyn, N., et al. (2008) Education 2.0? Designing the Web for Teaching and Learning. A TLRP-TEL Programme commentary, Institute of Education, Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, October, pp.1-27. Tapscott, D. (2009) The net generation as learners. Grown Up Digital: How The Internet Generation Is Changing Your World, Tapscott, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, Chapter 5. Windham, C. (2005) The students perspective. In D.G. Oblinger & J.L. Oblinger (Eds), Educating the Net generation [Internet], EDUCAUSE. Available from: <http://www.educause.edu/TheStudent%27sPerspective/6061> [Accessed 23 April 2010].

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APPENDIX
APPENDIX 1 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
 In which phase was the integration of technology in your student period?

Do you believe there is a need for a different pedagogy compared with previous generations?

What are the benefits of using social media in our educational system?

What are the disadvantages of using social media in our educational system?

Which levels of education are suitable for using technology in the curriculum? Why are some of them (not) suitable?

Which technological applications should be integrated the learning process to enhance efficiency?

Who are mostly the people who are against these technological developments?

Which technology will become very useful in the educational system? (Social Network sites, 3D, augmented reality, etc. )

How will the school of 2030 look like?

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APPENDIX 2 BACKGROUND INTERVIEWEES


This section examines the background of the different interviewees. It digs deeper in their own study period and their previous and current experience with Social Media and Education. Dr. Mugliett did not grow up in a digital environment. She was studying in the period 1986 1991 at the University of Malta and at that time people did not have computers at home. According to Dr. Mugliett the start of the Internet in Malta was around 1996 and teachers still did not have a clue how to use the pc or the Internet for their professional development. Currently Dr. Mugliett works as a lecturer in the faculty of Education in the department of nutrition and consumer studies. She is involved in training future educators of home economics in secondary schools. By the time Mr. Buttigieg finished his post-grad in Engineering in 1994, ICT was not yet commonplace in education. If by integration of technology, we are not referring exclusively to IT, in his secondary school around 1979 they were using felt pens on white-boards, when all other schools on the island (and most around Europe if not the world) were using chalk on blackboards. Currently Mr. Buttigieg is involved, from the compliance point of view, in a training project for diplomats in ACP countries run by a foundation of the Swiss and Maltese Ministries of Foreign Affairs. He also worked several years as a lecturer for the University of Malta. Mr. Spiteri who is currently in his second year of doing his PhD on pedagogy at the University of South Hampton. During his undergraduate studies, the Internet started to integrate in the educational field in Malta. Since he was working during his masters, he completed this masters study entirely online.

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All of the interviewees make use of social media but only for purposes in their private life. They all have a Facebook account, which they actively use as consumers but not as prosumers. The only thing they provide, are photo albums, which they share with their friends.

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