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The phenomenon growth of social networking services/sites (SNSs) in recent years speaks to one of the defining features of Web 2.0 – the social web. Today, social networking is very popular and digital native students already found social networking services integral to their daily life. Many recent studies including my previous study indicate that social networking could be used in education to enhance students’ learning experiences and promote classroom communities of practice.
Approximately a year ago, Dr. Hsiu-Ting Hung and I conducted an exploratory study on the use of social networking technology to facilitate teaching and learning in the college classroom. Our study set out to examine three regularly-scheduled courses at two public universities in Taiwan. Adopting the situated learning theory as the conceptual framework, our study attempted to answer two research questions: (1) What are students’ experiences with and views on the use of social networking sites in the courses under investigation? (2) What is the impact of using social networking sites to supplement face-to-face courses on students’ perceived sense of classroom community?
The findings of this study were presented at the 2010 SITE (Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education) International Conference in San Diego last week. Overall, the results indicated that the majority of the students held positive attitudes towards the use of class social networks as a means to strengthen their connectedness among class members. Social networking in the observed classrooms was found helpful for promoting classroom communities of practice. For more information about our study, please view the presentation shown below. We welcome comments and suggestions. Thanks.