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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Week 8: Social media or social networks?

Image taken from: 
Like with other educational innovations the use of social networks, communities of practice and personal learning networks are questioned by some people and loved and defended by others.
It seems that although some teachers include technologies in their classes they simply do not dare to step forward by interacting with students in such a personal space, like the ones they have in social networks.
Wikipedia, defines Social media as “the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks”, according to this definition it is possible to think if social media is designed to share information and we as teachers do share information when teaching  why cannot include it in our practice? Actually, there are lots of teachers who share the same opinion that Pulkit (2014), who states that teachers should see social media as “an opportunity to build a more meaningful education system for teachers and student”.  
However, I think that it is important to make a clear distinction between the use of social media and social networks, not only to overcome our fear,  but also to decide in a properly way ( according to our context) which social tools could be used in our classes.
Basically, we can say that in one hand, social media is the macro term used to describe all those elements in which people can interact to exchange ideas and create new information. On the other hand social networks are those platforms specially designed to build social relations with people who share the same interests, origin and even real- life connections to share impressions or information about daily life issues. So, social networks will be then one of the different forms of social media. The following illustration represents the different types of social media according to the classification made by Kaplan and Haenlein (2010):

A lot of interesting activities in second language teaching can be done using any of the resources previously mentioned by developing communities of practice. However, there are some issues that can influence the acceptance of including these media in classes. For instance, some people do not like social networks at all, others just do not want to mix their academic and professional life with their personal one, and some are just afraid of being stalked or being cyber bullied, so it can be a little bit complicated to integrate social networks in educational activities.  Nevertheless, there are other resources that do not require sharing too much personal information and that can be used with educational purposes as practice communities like wikis and blogs just to mention some. The idea of integrating this kind of tools is to make teachers and students comfortable with sharing information and offer them at the same time the opportunity of choosing the media they consider the safest for their privacy.

Here there is a video related to the use of social networks in adult education:

video taken form youtube

Pukit, (2014) The Barriers To Using Social Media In Education (Part 1 of 2) (online article) Retrieved from:
Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein Michael (2010). "Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media". Business Horizons 53 (1). p.61 doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2009.09.003

1 comment:

  1. Would you use social networks to teach English? What platforms would you use and how?