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Social Media and Adult Education

Social media as a force for constuctive learning in the classroom
by

Phil Raby

on 2 July 2013

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Transcript of Social Media and Adult Education

Social Media & Adult Education
We are all connected...
Connected classrooms
For some instructors, these emerging Web 2.0 tools hold exciting promise for pioneering new pathways to engage and enlighten learners using a constructivist approach (Lenoue, Hall & Eighmy, 2011, p. 5). For other teaching professionals though, social media represents another classroom distraction for teachers and students alike that takes the focus off the learning at hand (Liu, 2010).
The question:
Can social media be used as a constructive force for learning in a post-secondary, adult education setting?
Social Media and Distance Education
Poellhuber and Anderson, 2011, found that use of social software for learning purposes was highest among older distance students, even though they were less experienced than their younger colleagues. They also found students preferred social tools that require minimum participation, suggesting the simplest and most popular social media may be the easiest to implement into a course.
Adapt or die?
"Educators who refuse to adapt and continue to insist that the only way to learn is via ‘chalk and talk’ methods will find themselves hopelessly obsolete. Professors who wish to increase their value to their institutions must embrace technology and use all kinds of tools to impart knowledge" (Friedman and Friedman, 2013, p. 17) Do YOU agree?
A New View of Andragogy
LeNoue, Hall and Eighmy (2011) say teachers who inhabit the digital realm require an expanded view of the nature of andragogy. “In this new vision, learners actively create their own learning process rather than passively consume content, and realize learning as a participatory, life-long social process embarked upon in support of individual goals and needs” (LeNoue et al., 2011, p. 9).
In 2001, Mark Prensky popularized the term “Digital Natives” in a series of papers exploring the attitudes and beliefs of post-secondary students who have spent their entire lives immersed in technology. His findings remain controversial, but his views on the digital divide between student “natives” and instructor “immigrants” (Prenksy, 2001) continue to resonate through the halls of higher education.
Faculty use of Social Media
Moran, Seaman and Tinti-Kane (2011) found that faculty is intensively using social software both inside and outside the classroom. Their survey findings reported “over 90% of all faculty are using social media in courses they’re teaching or for their professional careers outside the classroom.”
Digital Divide
One of the most common criticisms of using of social media and other Web 2.0 tools in the classroom is the notion of divide between the digital haves and have-nots, but Ahn (2011) came to the conclusion that this perceived gap is closing quickly because of the availability of computers in schools and the proliferation of smartphones has allowed young adults to access social networks more than ever, thus bridging the divide as never before.
Conclusion
Social media is intensively used by adult learners and these readings indicate there is widespread acceptance of it as a tool for learning by both faculty and adult students. However, there seems to be little research thus far on how to successfully integrate social networks into a classroom setting, whether it be an online class for face-to-face. This indicates a need for more in-depth study and experimentation by faculty on inclusive ways of harnessing the power of social media in such a way that it adds to the quality and connected nature of collaborative learning.
References
Ahn, J. (2011). Digital divides and social network sites: Which students participate in social media?. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 45(2), 147-163.

Burnett, C., & Merchant, G. (2011). Is there a space for critical literacy in the context of social media? English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 10(1), 41–57.

Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating instructional strategies for using social media in formal and informal learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(1), 87–104.

Facebook (2011). Statistics. Retrieved Sept 6, 2011 from http://www.facebook.com/press/ info.php?statistics

Friedman, L. W., & Friedman, H. H. (2013). Using social media technologies to enhance online Learning. Journal of Educators Online, 10(1-22).

Hughes, A. (2009). Higher education in a Web 2.0 world. Bristol, England: JISC. Retrieved from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/heweb20rptv1.pdf.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century (Part two). Retrieved June 21, 2013.

Kennedy, G. E., Judd, T. S., Churchward, A., Gray, K. & Krause, K.-L. (2008). First year students' experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 108-122. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/kennedy.html

Lenoue, B. M., Hall, T., & Eighmy, M. A. (2011). Adult education and the social media revolution. Adult Learning, 22(2), 4–12.

Liu, Y. (2010). Social media tools as a learning resource. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 3(1), 101–114. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=57310593&site=ehost-live

Moran, M., Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2011). Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How Today's Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media. Babson Survey Research Group.

Poellhuber, B., & Anderson, T. (2011). distance students’ readiness for social media and collaboration. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 12(6), 102–125.

Prenksy, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Digital Divide
Faculty Engagement
Full transcript