I just read this article, referenced below, that discussed social networking in undergraduate education. I was intrigued, because technology has played a huge part in my education during my undergraduate education in 2004-2006. I found that discussion boards, forums, and other technological ways of communication helped me understand the content more. The chat boards allowed us to discuss with other students our thoughts, beliefs, and opinions surrounding a specific theme or event. However, everything that I was introduced to and used,was completely centered around academic instruction- like the Moodle that I use now. The article does provide support to my experiences by stating, "that students positively respond to the incorporation of new technologies into the teaching and learning process provided that the technology usage is well-conceived, purposeful, and properly integrated into the learning process (65)." I have also seen a increase in the schools that I go to, for teachers to implement technology: computers, discussion boards, Ipad, learning software (I-Ready), Twitter, etc. into their classrooms. This increase of technology in classroom is also referred to in the article, "responding to student usage, teachers and students are increasingly using social networks to supplement teaching and learning in traditional classroom environments, as they provide new opportunities for enriching existing curriculum...(67)" There was a survey conducted, and it found that the majority of participants found technology enhanced: learning community, learning itself, and the class to make it more fun.
However, the survey did introduce Facebook as a learning management system and compared it with Blackboard. In the article, it was discovered that students seemed to view Facebook as not appropriate or better as a learning management system over Blackboard. I can understand how Facebook would not be incredibly helpful within an educational setting, because it is so "personal" based as opposed to academic. However, that was said the same about Twitter, and Twitter is finding its use inside a classroom. I guess my view is generic, but holds true-it all depends on how you use technology and social networking sites. It all boils down to, is this social networking site enhancing or creating thoughtful, relevant, content specific learning? If not, then either the application of the site is not being used correctly, or it is ineffective in helping to engage students and stimulate learning. Social networking can be useful, but it all depends upon: teacher/administrator, application, and class atmosphere regarding using it.
Buzzetto-More, N. A. (2012). Social Networking in Undergraduate Education. Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management, 7.