Does Social Media Belong in Education?

The modern world is forward thinking, new technological advances are present everywhere, the internet has certainly not missed out on these advancements. The birth of social media as discussed here has implemented dramatic changes in the classroom. Web 2.0 technologies ( have triggered a different way young people gather and collect information. New theoretical ideas have come across as to how people interact and learn (Hicks, 2010). With studies showing a radical change in information processing and the way students use social media it is important to understand to what extent social media should be used in education.

The benefits of social media platforms are vast – particularly in blogging where some interesting research has shown a new light for blogging, Mitchell’s QuadBlogging has opened up new realms of possibilities for blogging in the classroom

Facebook is another commonly used tool among students and education establishments creating easy ways to share information and open discussion boards, providing opportunities for collaborative learning within the classroom

As with all new ideas and technologies the negatives are also become highlighted. Social media in the classroom can become a sensitive subject with e-safety and privacy issues increasingly becoming a major concern. The negatives of blogging and Facebook in the classroom are explained in these blog entries

With benefits and negatives from social media in education arising is it possible to understand how much social media should be used in the classroom?

Social media is widely used by students in their spare time. It is a form of technology they are comfortable using and are familiar with. The benefits bought forward from social media in the classroom take a positive line with students learning. Social media allows students and teachers to connect and interact in new and exciting ways. The sites are designed to nurture collaboration and discussion (Lederer, 2012).

The negatives that follow social media in education are important to understand. The understanding of social media and the problems that come with it are important, by understanding the negatives it can allow a change in the way social media is used and can prevent any problems arising. The negatives are possibly enhanced by the fact teachers have little experience using these forms of technology and don’t know how to best implement them and control them within the classroom. Soloway (2011) suggested that there is a level of ignorance from teachers, there must be some kind of professional development to keep teachers up to speed.

Research has shown that social media can and should have a very important place in education. The benefits that it can bring to the classroom are too inherent to ignore. The problem that is holding educators back is the lack of understanding of this new style of learning and teaching. Schools have little policies on how to use social media and teachers have little understanding of how to provide a safe learning environment on the internet. For social media to blossom in our education system there needs to be a higher understanding between teachers as to how social media can benefit the curriculum and students. Policies can then be placed which could essentially eradicate the negatives such as cyber-bullying and lack of privacy.

It is about moving social media way from a space to use in free time and embracing its full potential.

Hicks, A. (2010). Shifting Paradigms: Teaching Learning and Web 2.0. Reference Services Review, 621-633.

Lederer, K. (2012, January 19). Pros and cons of Social Media in the Classroom. Retrieved December 26, 2013, from Campus Technology:

Soloway, E. (2011). Learning and Schooling in the Age of Mobilism. Educational Technology, 1-10.


The Arrival of Web 2.0



Web 2.0 is the term that is being used for the new direction that the internet is taking. A key element of the new technology is that it allows people to create, share, collaborate and communicate – key requirements that have come from the benefits of using social media in the classroom. Web 2.0 applications include wikis, blogs, social networking sites, podcasting and content hosting services (Thompson, 2008). These are the social media sites that are commonly being used in education. With the introduction of Web 2.0 will it lead to social media being regarded more highly and used more widely in the classroom?

Young people are particularly attracted to the new developments that Web 2.0 brings and this is what kick started the use of these technologies in classroom settings, as discussed however, the advantages and disadvantages of Web 2.0 applications is still at great debate. Some educators feel that Web 2.0 will lead to a complete transformation a ‘re-booting’ of teaching and learning while others see Web 2.0 as a cause to panic about young people and the death of education.  It has been pointed out that Web 2.0 is still evolving which makes it easier to adapt to the needs of educational agendas (Selwyn, 2008).

Web 2.0 has led to a change in our relationship with information. Students have everything they need to know at the tips of their fingers – literally. Learners are no longer part of the ‘audience’ of information but can be actively involved with the gathering and sharing (Hargadon, 2008). Web 2.0 is changing how we feel towards information and teachers are now having to educate on how to deal with this new ‘information overload’ – putting an entirely new dimension on how students learn.

Web 2.0 is what has directed this change in technology in the classroom, bringing the social media to a new light. Hargadon believes that Web 2.0 plays to the strength of educators, their curiosity and love of learning – Web 2.0 has opened the doors to new styles of collaborative and participatory learning. Students and educators have a natural desire to share what they know and learn from others (Hargadon, ND).

The introduction of Web 2.0 has created many opportunities for constructivist learning. Information has become easier to access and the way knowledge is used has led to a change in the way we communicate and interact. Web 2.0 has fostered an emphasis on participating, doing and experiencing, rather than knowing what or where – a constructivist approach (Mcloughlin, 2008).

Web 2.0 tools have led to a dramatic shift in the way information and knowledge is gather and the way we process information. The use of these technologies by the younger generation or ‘digital natives’, has led to a need for a different style of learning. This leads us to the question ‘To what extent does social media belong in education?’

Image by Neoformix

Anderson, P. (2007). Whats is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education. Technology and Standards Watch, 1-63.

Hargadon, S. (2008, October 22). Moving Towards Web 2.0 in K12 Education. Retrieved December 24, 2013, from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Hargadon, S. (ND). Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education. Retrieved December 26, 2013, from edtechlive:

Mcloughlin, C. (2008). Mapping the Digital Terrain: New Media and Social Software as Catalysts for Pegagogical Change. Retrieved December 26, 2013, from ascilite:

Selwyn, N. (2008). Education 2.0 Designing the wen for teaching and learning. Technology Enhanced Learning, 3-33.

Thompson, H. (2008). Wikis, Blogs and Web 2.0 Technology. University Of Melbourne, 1-21.




Facebook – The Enemy



Articles describing the benefits of the use of Facebook in the classroom are becoming more and more prevalent, however the thought of this social media platform can still ring fear through the minds of many parents and teachers.

A study has shown that the average user of Facebook spends up to 700 minutes per month logged in (KISSmetrics, 2013), is it good to encourage students to spend even more time online?

Students that spend more time on Facebook than other people have been shown to have lower academic results. A study by Kirschner and Kaprinksi (2010) showed that Facebook users reported having lower GPA’s (Grade Point Averages) and spend fewer hours per week studying than non-Facebook users.  Other studies have also led to suggestions that students who spent the most time using social media had fewer academic behaviours, such as completing homework and attending class, lower academic confidence and more problems affecting their school work, like lack of sleep and substance use (Carter, 2013). These studies may show a negative correlation between Facebook use and academic performance but could mainly be linked to a student’s ineffective time management.

The use of Facebook within the classroom and as a learning tool brings across some different concerns. While some studies suggest Facebook can encourage participation in learning, a lesson based around social media will have to be incredibly structured; the risk of losing students to the depths of Facebook is a worrying factor. Teachers will need constant eyes on their students to prevent them from becoming distracted, lesson plans will have to be carefully constructed to ensure the use of Facebook and other platforms are meeting the lessons aims (Osborne, 2012). A common complaint among educators is that social media is distracting in the classroom. Students see the use of Facebook in the classroom as a chance to joke around, disrupting the class.

Teachers who implement Facebook in the classroom will have to act with caution, the ‘groups’ created by the teachers as a discussion board to share information could become a space for cyberbullying. A study about cyberbullying showed that 22 percent of college students admitted to being harassed online (Macdonald, 2010). Students becoming distracted and joking in the classroom may see the opportunity to take harmless comments too far. As a result of this the shy students which are expected to excel on social media may feel threatened by unfriendly behaviour that could occur.

Facebook could have the possibility to be an important tool for connecting students with professionals; however it also may discourage face to face communication. Students connecting via Facebook and other social media platforms are missing out on the valuable lessons of real life social skills. Facebook provides an informal way of expressing oneself, which may prevent students from conducting themselves in a professional and coherent manner during university or job interviews. Communication over the internet is becoming widely used but it is important to not lose sight of the vital social skills that are learned in a non-technology classroom environment.

The use of Facebook in the classroom could come to be influential education tool, due to some of the e-safety risks the best use may arise to be in as higher education setting. To allow the most effective use to come through school and parents need to come together to recognise how social networking sites could be established in the classroom. Strategies need to be worked through with students so a full understanding of its use in the classroom is had by everyone to allow appropriate use. The negatives that arise from Facebook in the classroom need to be swiftly eradicated to allow Facebook to show its potential for a learning tool.

Image By Edudemic

Carter, D. (2013, April 17). Social Media has Negative Impact on Academic Performance. Retrieved December 24, 2013, from ecampusnews:

Kirschner, P. (2010). Facebook and Academic Performance. Computers in Human Behaviour, 1237 – 1245.

KISSmetrics. (2013). Facebook Statistics. Retrieved December 24, 2013, from KISSmetrics:

Macdonald, C. (2010). Cyberbullying Among College Students: Prevalence and Demographic Differences. Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences, 2003-2009.

Osborne, C. (2012, April 10). The Pros and Cons of Social Media Classrooms. Retrieved December 24, 2013, from ZDNet:


A Friend In Facebook

Facebook is the third (right behind Google and YouTube) most popular website on the internet (eBizMba, 2013), making it the most used social networking site. Should it become the world’s most popular educational social networking site?

As with blogging, educators are beginning to understand the potential that Facebook could bring to education. Collaborative learning is being considered an important factor in education. The realization has surfaced that social networking could have the ability to promote both active learning and collaboration (Maloney, 2007). According to Vygotsky (1978) students work much better in a group setting than when working individually. This is due to students being faced with different interpretations, explanations or answers about what they are studying and this forces them to rethink their own view points (Dooly, 2008).

Collaborative learning styles link in with Vygotsky’s Social Learning Theory (1978) based on the idea that learning is a naturally social act, in which students talk among themselves – it is through the talk that learning occurs (Gerlach, 1994). Social networking sites, such as Facebook can help students work in a collaborative style in a familiar setting. Teachers can create private ‘groups’ on Facebook where students can share text, links, photos and videos, creating a virtual community of learners (Cerda, 2011). These groups can act as a discussion platform where students and teachers share their ideas, teaching others new ways of thinking. The active engagement with each other is what creates collaborative learning, in a modern online approach.

Facebook is a tool that could positively encourage participation from students. Many students feel nervous and shy in the classroom setting and are unwilling to be openly involved in class discussions. The online groups could create a more comfortable environment for some students to share their ideas, student feel less pressured and have time to carefully construct their thoughts before writing them down.

These online Facebook groups reign in another positive element for learning. It is not only educators that create online groups, many professional people and businesses have groups, providing information and support. Students should be encouraged to engage with these groups broadening their understanding of businesses, work, future careers and pathways. Dunlevy and Milton (2009) asked students what their ideal school would be like one of the criteria the students stated was ‘connect with experts and expertise’. If learners engage inphysics, they want to talk with engineers in their field (Taylor, 2011). Facebook and others forms of social media can provide the connection needed to build up these relationships and could result in students have a better understanding of where they might be headed with their future plans.

As with all developing technologies for the classroom it is imperative to analyse the use, recognising the benefits and negatives. Discovering the negatives is just as important as discovering the benefits, once the negatives are identified there can be procedures put into place to help eliminate them. Studies have shown the positives that Facebook can bring to the classroom. Does the use of Facebook instantly strike fear into the minds of parents and teachers?

Image by OrchidBox

Cerda, F. (2011). Facebook’s Potential for Collaborative E-learning. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento, 197-210.

Dooly, M. (2008). Constructing Knowledge Together. Telecollaborative Language Learning. A Guidebook to Moderating Intercultural Collaboration Online, 21 – 45.

Dunleavy, J. (2010). The Sreach for Competence in the 21st Century. Quest Journal, 2.

eBizMba. (2013, December 01). 15 Most Popular Websites. Retrieved December 17, 2013, from eBizMba:

Gerlach, J. (1994). Is This Collaboration? New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 5-14.

Maloney, E. (2007). What Web 2.0 Can Teach Us About Learning. Chronicle of Higher Education, 53.

Pollera, P. (2011). Social Networking and Education: Using Facebook as an Edusocial Space. Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 3330-3338). Chesapeake: AACE.

Taylor, L. (2011). Imoroving Student Engagment. Retrieved Decemer 20, 2013, from Current Issues in Education:

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind and Society: The Development of Higher Mental Processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Educational Blogging – The wrong

It is important to recognize the negative effects that could arise from blogging to gain a full understanding on whether or not blogging has a permanent place in our curriculum. The benefits have become clear, but do the negatives outweigh these positives?

For blogging to work well in the classroom it requires a lot of time, while David Mitchell’s QuadBlogging does indeed show benefits, many teachers do not have time within their curriculum to allow for this form of activity. A blog which has been set up by students outside of the QuadBlogging group could have the opposite effect – when little or no comments are left on a student’s blog, a student may become disheartened and less motivated to continue with their writing. Equally outside of a carefully monitored group set up such as QuadBlogging students may get carried away with their comments or receive comments from unwanted visitors to blogs (Coffey, 2010).

McKenzie (2006) made points against Mitchell and Bachenheimer’s work. He suggests that creativity and poetry maybe lost as a result of modern day abbreviations. McKenzie is afraid that students will just ramble in their blogs (McKenzie, 2006). The use of this technology could be a student’s downfall in literacy. The technology use for blogging could also prove a problem for teachers, taking another look at Prensky’s digital natives, digital immigrants theory (2001) the use of blogging may cause teacher’s to struggle. Most teachers according to Prensky are digital immigrants and may struggle to get their heads around the deepened use of technology in the classroom (Prensky, 2001). For blogs to work correctly, teachers need to have the right skills to make them work, everyone in a classroom needs to participate to make them happen, without the participation a blog can easily be abandoned and die (Glogoff, 2005).

Blogs are a public forum; one major factor in blogging is the online safety of children. Educators are charged with keeping their children safe and distilling ethics within them (Deubel, 2007). Educators need to come up with a valid code of blogging ethics. The debate that continues is whether negative comments should be deleted or left to allow freedom for speech (Kuhn, 2005). The blogosphere is filled with dangers–“misrepresenting opinion as fact, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, and newer trends, such as word of mouth marketing” (Kuhn, 2005). Educational blogging will not be immune to the dangers of social networking.

Overall, it is clear that blogging can have an important place in education. The positive influences that blogging can bring are seen to be highly beneficial to a student’s literacy, writing skills and global awareness. Like most educational tools, blogging does come with negatives. It is important, that for blogging to be successful teachers and educators need to be made fully aware of the technology and have a familiarity of how to use it as a successful learning platform. It is imperative for teachers to develop their own tech skills so they can bring technology’s academic benefits to the classroom (Ramaswami, 2008).

Students need to have an understanding of online-safety; teachers can teach students skills for moderating their own online behaviour to ensure a safe online environment is created (Deubel, 2007). The way that blogs are used in the classroom need to have an emphasis of its importance, with carefully strategized plans should anything go wrong (Burns, 2010). It is ok to have these technologies in the classroom but they need to be used for a purpose, the extent of the purpose has been laid out by researchers such as Mitchell and Bachenheimer. Once a vital understanding of the use of this social media platform has been laid out to educators, blogging could have a very important future in the classroom.

Burns, M. (2010, September). How To Help Teachers Use Technology In The Classroom. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from eLearn Magazine:

Coffey, B. (2010, May 24). Blogging in Education. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from slideshare:

Deubel, P. (2007). Moderating and Ethics for the Classroom Instructional Blog. The Journal, 1-2.

Glogoff, S. (2005). Instrcuctional Blogging. Promoting Interactivity, student centred learning and peer input. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from Innovate Online:

Kuhn, M. (2005). A Propsed Code of Blogging Ethics. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from Conversation Blogs:

McKenzie, J. (2006). One Liners, Bloggerry and Tomfoolery. Educational Technology Journal, 15.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 1-6.

Ramaswami, R. (2008). The Prose (and a few cons, too) of Blogging. THE Journal, 21-25.

Educational Blogging – The Right

Social media is going to have permanent fixture within our developing education system. It is important to address to what extent social media should be placed in education and which social media platforms should be focused on to support the changing needs of a younger generation of learners.

One of the most talked about social media platforms in education is blogs. A blog is a web page that serves as a frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and web links (marketingterms, 2013). Blogs can provide platforms for students to create classroom environments at home, connect to other students in their classroom, school or even other countries. Blogs enable students and teachers to share information and create online documentation of their learning.

How teachers use blogging in the classroom is clear, the point that needs defining is does blogging have a positive educational impact on students?

Lehmann (2013) raises the question ‘blogging for the sake of blogging is fine, but what is the value added? Promoters of educational blogging have researched into the positive influence that comes from blogging. David Mitchell a deputy head teacher used blogging to engage his student writers, his strategy became the well-known QuadBlogging (Boss, 2012), this was Mitchell’s strategy to help connect writers with readers from all around the world. QuadBlogging involves four different classrooms communicating together by commenting on each other’s work, each class takes in turn to place comments on someone else’s writing. The comments provided have to be quality and helpful (Secomb, 2012). Students get to know each other and learn about different places, cultures and customs.

QuadBlogging showed dramatic results regarding pupils writing and desire to write and achieve. The quality of students writing showed a major increase, the first class to be involved in QuadBlogging showed an increase from 9 to 60 percent of their pupils earning top writing scores on SATS tests (Boss, 2012). The blogging allowed students to share their work with more than just their teachers and parents. The comments the students were receiving spurred on their writing, it felt good to them to have a willing audience to their work, who would take the time to read it and write constructive comments. Reluctant writers wanted to write for a purpose, students wanted to put more care and time into their writing, so long as someone was listening (Morris, 2013). David Secomb (2012) said of his students “by having a contextual purpose for their writing, they not only thought carefully about what they were writing, but they also showed great enthusiasm to write”.

The benefit of this social form of learning can link into Vygotsky’s (1978) Social Learning Theory. Vygotsky suggested that much of a child’s important learning came from social interaction; human tools such as speech and writing are initially developed to serve solely as social functions, social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development (Vygotsky, 1978). The social interaction that blogging provides can therefore be argued to play an important role in a child’s learning.

The benefits found from QuadBlogging also extended beyond improved writing skills. Teachers found that students ‘global empathy’ also improved. Gwaltney, a teacher in Oregon said his students were gaining a new perspective on the world; this comes from talking to people from different cultures and walks of life (Boss, 2012). Technology skills were also showing signs of improvement. Students were learning how computers could be used in more extensive ways, students became more proficient at keyboarding, formatting, conducting internet searches, toggling between several open programmes and cutting and pasting contents from their blogs to presentations (Ramaswami, 2008). Improving these skills is important as technology may be involved in teaching more frequently in the future.

Barry Bachenheimer’s study also helped show the benefits of educational blogging. One of the questions put forward was ‘Could blogs helps students in the construction of a research paper’. The blogs were used as journals for students to write about their ideas and flesh out ideas for point/counterpoint arguments (Ramaswami, 2008). Before the study was undertaken 84 percent of students said the hardest part of writing a research paper was starting it, 74 percent believed the blog posts helped them to better articulate their ideas. It was also said that the blogs helped them organize their thoughts and synthesize their research. As with Mitchells QuadBlogging the students also said they benefited from the comments on their blogs, they provided extra insight into their work and spurred them on, providing an extra mean of motivation (Ramaswami, 2008).

It is clear the educational blogging can bring important positives into learning. How much further in the future will it be until blogging has a permanent fixture in our curriculum or do the negatives still outweigh the positives?

Boss, S. (2012, September 25). QuadBloggin Connects Student Writers with Global Audiences. Retrieved December 07, 2013, from Edutopia:

marketingterms. (2013). Blog. Retrieved December 04, 2013, from Marketing Terms:

Morris, K. (2013, May 27). The Benefits of Educational Blogging. Retrieved December 2013, 2013, from Splash:

Ramaswami, R. (2008). The Prose (and a few cons, too) of Blogging. THE Journal, 21-25.

Secomb, D. (2012, March 28). QuadBlogging Action Research. Retrieved December 07, 2013, from Global Initiation:

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind and Society: The Development of Higher Mental Processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

The Birth of Social Media



The way the internet is used has seen a dramatic change since the World Wide Web was introduced in 1991 (Lee, 2010). The web started off as a one way tool for users to view and receive information from pages , there was little interaction between users of the internet. Technological advances, however, have led to a major shift in how the internet is being used; the internet has now shifted towards user-driven content in the form of social media platforms. Social media platforms such as these three most popular sites, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (eBizMBA, 2013) allow users to share opinions, upload information, create virtual communities and connect to other people.

More than two billion people use the internet (Internetworldstats, 2012) and the majority of these users will have come into contact with some form of social media. Many people are unaware of the broad range of platform types that social media can cover. Social media is not just Facebook and Twitter where people predominantly socialize and share pictures. Solis (2008) says how Social media comprises of activities that that involve socializing and networking online through words, pictures and videos. Social media is redefining how we relate to each other as humans and how we as humans relate to the organisations that serve us. It is about dialog – two way discussions bringing people together to discover and share information.

Solis also goes to further prove that social media is more than just Facebook and Twitter by introducing the Conversation Prism.

The Conversation Prism hopes to provide people with a visual insight into previous unforeseen opportunities for the use of social media (Solis, 2013). A study done by Ofcom shows that nearly fifty percent of young people aged between eight and seventeen use some form of social media sties (knowledgebanks, 2013).

Social media is becoming an important part of young people’s lives. Young people have grown up with technology, the way they process information has changed, a study by Prensky (2001) suggests that young children are digital natives and learn in different ways from their predecessors (Prensky, 2001). With this in mind schools are beginning to integrate social media into their classrooms, they are seeing a need to use the familiarity children have with technology to harness new and creative learning mediums. Many schools are already using social media as an effective learning tool. With new advancements in technology it is important to look into what extent social media should be used in the classroom. Evaluating the pros and cons of social media and using learning theories is important to help implement the correct use of social media in education.

Image by Brian Solis

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