Social Network Sites in Higher Education
Posted by repplinger
Blog post from NS2: Niche Social Network Sites
A Study on the Effective Use of Social Software by Further and Higher Education in the UK to Support Student Learning and Engagement.
This study examined the use of social software in the UK further and higher education sectors to collect evidence of the effective use of social software in enhancing student learning and engagement. In this study, data from 26 initiatives,where social software tools have been employed, has been collected, analyzed and synthesized. The cases chosen give a spread of tools, subject areas, contexts (part time,full-time or distance learning), levels of study, and institutions (higher and further education). A case study methodology was followed and both educators and students were interviewed to find out what they had done, how well it had worked,and what they had learned from the experiences.
This study provides insights about the: educational goals of using social software tools; enablers or drivers within the institution, or from external sources which positively influence the adoption of social software; benefits to the students,educators and institutions; challenges that may influence a social software initiative;and issues that need to be considered in a social software initiative.Our investigations have shown that social software tools support a variety of ways of learning: sharing of resources (e.g. bookmarks, photographs), collaborative learning,problem-based and inquiry-based learning, reflective learning, and peer-to-peer learning. Students gain transferable skills of team working, online collaboration,negotiation, and communication, individual and group reflection, and managing digital identities.