International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments (12 papers in press)
- Information Architecture for Social Media: A Case Study on Building an Event Backchannel with Twitter
by Robert Moore
Abstract: This paper presents a case study on creating a backchannel through Twitter for the live event, featuring the Secretary of the U.S. Navy, hosted by the School of Government. The project, which ultimately was successful in creating social media buzz for the lecture, was a new approach for the School of Government in how it markets its events. The study discusses the tools and processes used in the backchannels creation and development. This paper was written because the author discovered a gap in existing literature on creating backchannels. It outlines how the adaptation of best practices from the general populations use of Twitter in creating a backchannel for an educational event. While this study focuses specifically on the promotion of a live event, the concepts and principles discussed here also are applicable to instructors interested in providing their students with an environment for differentiated learning and informal communication.
Keywords: social media; information architecture; backchannel; Twitter; case study; best practices; analytics; social media analytics; engagement; social media engagement; event backchannel
- Interest-Driven STEM Learning Among Youth Through a Social Networking Site
by Michael Evans, Samantha Won, Tiffany Drape
Abstract: Engaging middle school youth in STEM curricula that invoke desired conceptual changes is highly sought after as well as notably challenging. Furthermore, social media is identified as a platform where youth naturally congregate for sustained interaction. Thus, STEM Club was designed as an after school program to engage learners (ages 11-15) in design-based science inquiry within a studio environment, enhanced by a range of social media and digital tools. In the highlighted curriculum, Save the Penguins, youth were given the opportunity to perform scientific experiments and engineering practices to design an enclosure to protect penguin-shaped ice cubes from rising temperature. Where research is needed is in describing empirically the effects of social media for productive academic work in informal settings. How youth might engage with social media, and what drives their choices is therefore of interest in STEM education. Researchers tracked attendee and facilitator interactions through the social media site Edmodo. A discursive psychology approach was utilized to analyze these text-based interactions using the Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out framework of interest-driven learning. Results assert that youths understanding of science concepts was enhanced through participation in STEM Club. This was evidenced through their articulation of understanding through Edmodo. Articulation remained dependent upon the amount of prompting that facilitators used within the Edmodo site as well as the availability of time set aside for students to interact with Edmodo. Future work might investigate ways in which informal STEM learning environments could leverage social media to enhance youth interactions outside of scheduled sessions.
Keywords: informal STEM learning, engagement and conceptual change, middle school youth, social media, discursive psychology
- A Framework for Analyzing the Social Affordance of Web 2.0 Tools
by Hongtao Sun, Li Chen
Abstract: Web 2.0 tools with social network features provide new possibilities for Distance Education. However, it is still challenging to use them in educational practice. The lack of a comprehensive understanding of Web 2.0 tools might be one of the important reasons for this challenge. This paper suggests a systemic framework for analyzing the social affordance of Web 2.0 tools, which is important to online learning. The proposed framework is based on four fields of literature, including the current affordance research, the features of Web 2.0 tools, the needs of distance education and pedagogy theory. It includes four dimensions, social connection, information aggregation, reflection and expression, and dialogue and collaboration. In each dimension, indicators and analysis method are also proposed. A case study is presented to show the process of analysis. In this case study, interaction in a post-graduate course supported by a micro-blog and a forum are analyzed with an integrated analysis methodology including content analysis, social network analysis and online behavior analysis. The affordance of micro-blogs was discussed based on this proposed framework.
Keywords: Web 2.0; affordance; interaction;micro-blog
- Notebooks, blogs and commercial video games as evocative objects in classrooms
by Pilar Lacasa, Rut Martinez-Borda, Sara Cortes
Abstract: From the theoretical perspective offered by socio-cultural psychology and the concept of evocative objects, the main goal of this paper is to explore what happened in a primary education classroom where digital objects (commercial video games and blogs) coexisted with more traditional objects such as notebooks. Adopting an ethnographic and action research point of view, we explored the conversations and practices that took place during the school year, when three consecutive workshops were organized around three commercial video games. We focus on one-second year elementary school group and their teacher. Three main results were obtained. First, the number of references to notebooks, the Internet and video games made by the participants differed depending on the role they played in the workshop. Second, mediated by evocative objects the children, the teacher and the researchers created several innovative scenarios in which specific abilities emerged in relation to particular video games. Finally, evocative objects were mediators in the collaborative situations arising in the classroom.
Keywords: Evocative objects, collaboration, classroom, multimedia, games, blogs
Special Issue on: "Facebook as an Educational Tool"
- Using Facebook in the Classroom
by Kevin Hull
Abstract: This paper addresses the use of Facebook as a way to keep high school students informed about class information and make students feel more of a sense of community with their classmates. A group of high school students followed a class Facebook page for a semester and took a survey to determine the effectiveness of the page. Results found that there was no significant difference in the students opinion of the class based on if they followed the class Facebook page or not. However, the students who followed the Facebook page responded that they wished more teachers would create one for other classes, so it is recommended that teachers use the social network in order to create academic conversation among students and display student work.
Keywords: Facebook, Education, Classroom, Social Media
- Facebook in the classroom: blended audiences and multiple front-stages.
by Keely Blanch, Karen Nairn, Susan Sandretto
Abstract: In New Zealand, the use of social media for educational purposes is being encouraged (Ministry of Education, 2013). Yet, while educators focus on the educational advantages of using social media, there is little research available on the effects on students. This paper explores the way a small group of senior students from one New Zealand secondary school negotiated their identities on a class Facebook page. This qualitative study uses Goffmans dramaturgical metaphor and poststructuralist conceptualisations of discourses and fluidity of identity. The findings offer an insight into the tensions faced by this group of students as they negotiated their identity presentations to blended audiences when the boundaries between public and private are blurred. The students identity performance and participation on the page was influenced by power differentials, the structure of the page, and an awareness of audience. This has implications for the way educators use social media in classrooms.
Keywords: Facebook; classroom; education; identity; New Zealand; NZ; secondary; blended audiences; front stages; Goffman; online learning environment; collaborative; social network sites.
- Facebook as an assisted learning tool in Problem Based Learning (PBL): The Bahrain case
by Vasileios Paliktzoglou, Jarkko Suhonen
Abstract: Social Networks and most specifically Facebook is one of the Web2.0 technologies with applications in many domains, including education. This study describes the student engagement with Facebook as an assisted learning tool in Problem-based Learning (PBL)cohort in Bahrain. Additionally, we analyse the reception of the students towards Facebook as a learning aid tool. The data collection was mainly through (pre & post)questionnaires and an interview. The empirical data showed that that the use of Facebook as a learning tool had a positive impact on the students. The study provides experimental evidence that social networks and more specifically Facebook can be used as an educational tool in PBL context to help engage students in the use of social media (Web 2.0).
Keywords: Facebook; higher education; social media; web 2.0 tools; collaborative learning; problem based learning.
Special Issue on: "Using Social Media for Collaborative Learning"
- Twitter's Capacity to Support Collaborative Learning
by Jeffrey Carpenter
Abstract: Like other social media, the microblogging service Twitter appears to offer affordances for collaborative learning. This study investigated the required use of Twitter as a part of a face-to-face, undergraduate teacher education class. Data included student and instructor Twitter activities, an end-of-semester survey of students perspectives on their use of Twitter, and a focus group. Participants noted several benefits to Twitter use in the course, including enabling communication and interaction within the class and with the professional education community. Twitter facilitated connectedness and resource sharing that were collaborative in nature, and functioned as one of several tools students utilized for collaboration. Recommendations are given regarding the use of microblogging in education and future research.
Keywords: Twitter; microblogging; collaboration; collaborative learning; social media; social networking; connectedness; teacher education; technology affordances
- Learning through collaboration: video game wikis
by Matthew Barr
Abstract: The wiki, wherein community-spirited players meticulously document their gaming experiences for the benefit of others, from simple guides to complex theories and strategies, has become the de facto online reference medium for video game players. The work here sought to examine how players learn from one another about the systems that underpin their favourite games and how they engaged with social media wikis, in particular to facilitate this collaborative learning. It is argued that in collating, synthesizing and disseminating the often complex behaviours observed in a modern video game, the wiki author is displaying academic proficiency in a non-academic field. Drawing on a series of interviews with gaming wiki contributors and users, the practices of those engaged in using gaming wikis are discussed, together with an account of the research methods used. In undertaking such research, a number of challenges and concerns were encountered: these, too, are described.
Keywords: video games; wikis; collaborative learning; game-based learning; social media; learning environments; research methods; video game research; dark souls; meta-game;
- Collaborative learning via Web2.0 tools in adult education: Predicting learner satisfaction by off-task interaction and social feedback
by Nicole Krämer, Tina Ganster, Nicole Sträfling, Sophia Grundnig
Abstract: Learner interaction is a crucial prerequisite for successful learning with Web2.0. Active participation and learner-centered approaches represent a paradigm shift from instructional learning to explorative learning, allowing for social and group dynamics that affect learner satisfaction. In the present paper we compare the content of learner interaction between two runs of the same course (in which learners collaborated via Web2.0 tools) that were evaluated differently in terms of learner satisfaction. Textual content generated within the courses was subjected to discourse analysis. Analysis categories were tone and topic of the interaction, use of emoticons and different forms of social feedback. In the more satisfying course, the interaction was more positive, more focused on off-task interaction and there was more social feedback between learners, suggesting these aspects might be important predictors for learner satisfaction. Implications for teachers of Web2.0 courses as well as for future research are discussed.
Keywords: Web2.0 learning; CSCL; learner satisfaction; sociability; explorative learning; adult education; discourse analysis; social feedback; off-task interaction
- A comparison of engagement and interaction among University distance learning students
by Samantha Tackett, Kelly Torres
Abstract: When facilitating instruction in distance learning environments, educators are presented with challenges in student motivation and with building an interactive community among students who may never see each other face-to-face (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, 2003). A common disadvantage for some students in distance learning courses is the feeling of decreased interaction and exchange with their peers (Evans & Nation, 2003; Moore, 1997; Palloff & Pratt, 2007). We used a mixed-method approach to analyse the interaction patterns and quality of discussion among distance learning students who used two different course tools to complete assignments during their enrolment at a large, public institution of higher education. Six patterns of discussion emerged from the posts: agreement, disagreement, countering, belief, statement, and re-state. Using a 5-point scale a second analysis was implemented to assess the quality of students posts. The student posts from VoiceThread (VT) assignments had higher quality scores and higher frequency of countering and belief statements. Whereas, the student posts from Discussion Board (DB) assignments had lower quality scores and a higher frequency of re-statement and agree statements. Student feedback regarding the use of the VT tool was positive. Students expressed that through this tool they were able to see and hear their classmates for the first time after taking numerous prior online courses together. Additional analysis of using the VT tool with different types of assignments and in other online courses (e.g., exam reviews among students; self-introductions to classmates) is necessary. Although we identified significant patterns among student interactions in these courses, ultimately these findings resulted in new research directions and implications for designing discussion assignments within online courses.
Keywords: asynchronous; distance learning; interaction pattern; online discussion; online presence; peer interaction; student engagement; text-based interaction; VoiceThreadâ„˘; Web 2.0 tools
- Creating Virtual Communities of Practice with the Visual Social Media Platform Pinterest
by Julie Delello, Rochell McWhorter
Abstract: This paper reports results of a mixed methods study on the use of the visual social media platform Pinterest in the higher education classroom. Research methods included data collection of Pre-Experience and Post-Experience student surveys from two disciplines, Education and Business, regarding students experiences in using Pinterest for learning. A total of 227 students (189 undergraduate and 38 graduate students) participated in the study. Findings included student perceptions regarding the usability of Pinterest in the classroom setting, student learning and development, and ways Pinterest facilitated the development of a virtual community of practice. Recommendations for future use is given.
Keywords: Case studies; career development; communities of practice; Pinterest; social media; usability; visual technologies; visual literacy; Web 2.0; visual network