University of Trinidad and TobagoSchool for Studies in Learning Cognition and EducationEDFN112B - Educational TechnologyStudent Name: CHRISTINA SOOKDEOStudent ID: 52927Assignment Due Date: 24th February, 2011Assignment: – Critique on the Use of Social Networking in EducationInstructor: Mr R Birbal
CRITIQUE ON THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING IN EDUCATIONThesis: The use of social networking in education has many implications that are both positiveand negative which prominently impact students and teachers. Social networking can be defined as the software that allows people to come togetheraround an idea or topic of interest through the internet. Many people have a frame of mind thatsocial networking is simply ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ but it is much more than that. Foreducational purposes they are tools of communication that offer students and teachers to connect,interact, research and collaborate with each other. There are many pros and cons involved in thetopic of social networking in education. Some of the challenges in using this software tool are that it is time-consuming, there canbe miscommunication and information or knowledge gained can be subjective and/or false. Toaddress the first issue- ‘it can be time consuming’, we must note that not all social networkingsites is time consuming. Some such as Diigo, Linked In and Ning are websites that fostercognitive development. However websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and others arescientifically proven to be addictive. According to Facebook, there are more than one hundredand fifty million users and such spend approximately five billion minutes a day on the site. One of the main purposes of social networking sites is that it creates communicationbetween people. However, the wave of this communication can be corrupted because virtualreality is not actually reality. When students or teachers cannot communicate in person,misunderstandings about assignments, dates, classes and instructions can occur becauseindividuals cannot perceive physical clues such as body language, tone and inflection.
Social networking sites are not only used for communication but it can be used ineducation to share knowledge. Websites such as Wikipedia for example, is frequently used togain knowledge of basically anything. However the information that these websites pose can beedited by any user which makes it difficult to distinguish from what is accurate or inaccurate.Also, because of the anonymity of information submitted students can use it incorrectly. Otherchallenges are privacy concerns, disclosing too much information and health issues related to thetime and energy that students put into social networking. Some of the opportunities or pros involved concerning the use of social networking ineducation include; access to using, creating and distributing knowledge, collaboration and alsoincreased awareness. The internet is being made accessible to all students in schools through computer labs orlibraries. Because of this accessibility and the fact that the cost to use the internet in school isfree of charge students are provided with the opportunity of using these networks to gainknowledge. In formal educational institutes, such as a public middle school for example,teachers often lack adequate textbooks for students to each have their own copy (Baraniuk 2008).By using social networks to connect the classroom and eliminating costs, teachers can create orpublish their own work online for free. Social networks also diversify the voice of knowledgebecause any person can distribute knowledge through these websites for others to gain access toand learn from. Besides gaining access, creating and distributing knowledge social networking sitescreate the opportunity for students and teachers in education to interact in a non-physicalenvironment where the boundaries of space and time are unlimited. Here, students can now
collaborate or cooperate with peers or their educators to do possibly any type of work online,share knowledge, post links to information, updates and many more. Because of all these factors- students can increase their awareness in the digital world inorder to become more adequate in the real world. When students interact on these websites theybecome tech- savvy, globally knowledgeable and even more self-aware. Social networking sitessuch as Youtube or Google are proven to increase the global awareness of students through itsup-to-date information and popularity. Students are inevitably exposed to these issues throughwebsites like these. As the numbers and popularity of social networking websites increase new opportunitiespresent themselves as well as their boundaries become expanded. Facebook and Twitter havecertainly redefined what it means to become someone’s friend. However, they have also createda level of interconnectedness that cannot be achieved physically and is more efficient. Thechallenges that social networks cause and the potential benefits are still emerging. While socialnetworking is not a new or unpopular phenomenon in the digital world, it is slowly starting tobecome embraced in the educational world. The technology that enables this level of connectionhas the potential to open up more information to people that we can imagine possible.