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Facebook as social capital

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Research on students's technological practices, reporting on use of Facebook. Presented at Heltasa November 2012

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Facebook as social capital

  1. 1. SOCIAL NETWORKS = SOCIAL CAPITAL First-year students’ use of for cognitive and affective learning Cheryl Brown and Laura Czerniewicz
  2. 2. THE PROJECTo Ethnographic Action Research (EAR) • Utilised in development projects and aims to combine participatory techniques and ethnographic approaches into an action research framework (Tacchi, Foth et al. 2009).o Sites of study – 4 Universities • University of Fort Hare, Rhodes University, University of the Free State and University of Cape Town.o Researchers • 4 researchers - one from each institution • continuous engagement • embedded in the context • establish a relationship with participantso Data collection • Interviews, observations, focus groups & participated in the digital lives of the participants through various forms of social media.
  3. 3. THE STUDENT PARTICIPANTSo First years – the role of ICTs in their transition into universityo 26 students, over the year some students dropped out of the study so final = 23o Ranged between 18 and 20 years of ageo 60% were femaleo Majority were South African, 5 students from Zimbabweo Disciplinary location - 14 in the Arts/Humanities and the other 11 in the Natural Sciences
  4. 4. WHY FACEBOOKo All 23 students used Facebook although they attached various levels of importance to ito Positive: First of all I don’t think I can live without social networks Student L Int 2FHU Ref 2 Its not a lifeline, but after not having it, or being off it for a while, I sort of feel disconnected. Student R Int 1UCT Ref 15o Negative: I wanted to stay away from Facebook for ever; - draining – I was addicted to it - needed space, so he stopped for three weeks and deleted his profile. Student K Int 1 UCT 13 Ref 12 I felt a bit ignored, so deleted Facebook. I got angry at it. Then I remembered this project Student S Int 1 UCT Ref 27
  5. 5. FRAMINGo Bourdieu • Useful tool to demonstrate the complex and multi-faceted concept of access to higher education as mediated by ICTs, expanding the notion beyond the simpler one of mere access to the technology itself. • Used it before to understand the technological habitus of students in particular digital strangers
  6. 6. SOCIAL CAPITALo Actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition – or in other words, to membership in a groupo The profits which accrue from membership in a group are the basis of the solidarity which makes them possible • multiplier effect implied in concentration • signs of recognition and, through the mutual recognition and the recognition of group membership which it implies, reproduces the group
  7. 7. WHY?o Most people at are at the stage where he was on Facebook when I first started. He noticed that many people had 1000 friends and he had a few, which he thought was a crisis. Student K Int 1 Ref 10o Facebook is like email evolved … its more far- reachingo Relationships work much better than if she did not have Facebook. Phone costs are expensive and she has written letters, but nobody replies. Student O Int 1UCT Ref 12
  8. 8. IN TERMS OF LEARNING ...o Informal learning - freedom for learners as it recognizes the social significance of learning from other people (Eraut, 2004).o Affective learning - includes the manner in which we deal with things emotionally, such as feelings, values, appreciation, enthusiasm s, motivations, and attitudes. (Krathwohl, Bloom, Masia, 1973)
  9. 9. LEARNING EMOTION SPACERussell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality andSocial Psychology, 39 (6), 1161-
  10. 10. INFORMAL LEARNING Student N, Int 2, RU Ref 11
  11. 11. INFORMAL LEARNINGo At one stage I was trying to learn Spanish, which did not go very well. I was in contact with three people from different parts of the world and would chat to them to practice it. • Student O Int 2 UCT Ref 6o She uses Facebook to get quick responses to certain questions that may appear in the exams. • Student Y Int 2 RU Ref 1o For example; say you have a friend who is always on Facebook, and you know that want like a book from them or maybe you just want to ask about something education wise, you can just contact them using Facebook • Students U Int 1 FHU Ref 2o He does use social media for exam preparation: he shares interesting examples on Facebook with friends, • Student G Int 2 RU Ref 1
  12. 12. INFORMAL LEARNINGo I have two previous teachers on Facebook and sometimes talk to them for advice about academic stuff at University • Student D Int 2 UFS Ref 3o She uses her cellphone all the time to communicate with people about academic stuff. She communicates with a lecturer as well via Facebook; with her one tutor in English. She does communicate with her old art teacher from High School. He is still teaching art and she studies media, so “I sometimes asks him some things; which relate to the media, sort of, and also architecture”. • Student E Int 2 UFS Ref 2
  13. 13. AFFECTIVE SUPPORTo Most of my Facebook friends are friends at University or high school mates. We talk mostly about what is happening at the University in their day-to-day life Student I Int 2 UFS Ref 6o The "Prayer Network" will be on a Facebook Page. People can "like it" on the Facebook page to stay updated about its activites. People will also be able to submit their own prayer requests. "We" will pray for them, and all members will pray for those who have requested a prayer. Student K Int 1 UCT Ref 1
  14. 14. IDENTITYo Facebook is an extension of yourself, as you condense (information about) yourself and put it on Facebook for other people to see. Student R Int 1 UCT Ref 6o Before I post a status update, I think about the audience that reads it and "what is it the world should know whats on his mind". He wants his readers to “read it twice and think about what he means” Student H Int 2 FHU Ref 2o Facebook is a way of showing people my mindspace. If I am feeling down and listening to a sad song, I will say I am not OK and quote from the song to tell how I am feeling. Student S Int 1 UCT Ref 16
  15. 15. DIGITAL LITERACY Student N, Int 2, UFS Ref 12
  16. 16. DIGITAL LITERACYo The computer skills she learnt while using Facebook and YouTube has helped, as these services are more or less the same, like Twitter. So, it kind of helps you to do other internet things. She believes using social networks also gives her confidence to do other things with the internet as well: for example it teaches you more on how to get other information. So, from one network that you are on, you end up being geared to another. Student X Int 2 UFS Ref 3o Her use of social networks gives her more confidence to work on other sites like Google and Blackboard. She is not afraid of using other sites on the internet as Facebook broke down her fear. Student A Int 2 UFS Ref 7
  17. 17. DISTRACTION Student M, Int 1 FHU , Ref 2
  18. 18. DISTRACTIONo She does not have Facebook on her phone, “thank heavens, I use it mainly for communication; just the calls, the texting”. She does not want to be on MXit, because “I dont want to do things that will enslave me. I know these things they are there, but for the sake of self- discipline, I stay away from them”. Student T Int 1 RU Ref 1o She tends to avoid social networks during the exams as its “very, very distracting”. Student AA Int 2 RU Ref 1
  19. 19. OUTSIDERS Student H, Int 2, FHU Ref 3
  20. 20. OUTSIDERSo When using Facebook mobile, there was a little snag that always happens like it was my Birthday and people were posting on my wall, but the wall posts did not show on my cellphone , but when I went onto a laptop they all showed. Student R Int 1 UCT Ref 6
  21. 21. FUTURE OF FACEBOOK AT UNIVERSITY? Student E, Int 2, UFS Ref 5
  22. 22. THANK YOUo Contact us Cheryl.brown@uct.ac.zao Note: Video clips available on request

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