Social media and young people

Here is an interesting research paper on social media and young people by Liz Dean.  Liz has provided a comprehensive analysis of the findings.

She concludes that “young adult primary motivation for using social media is communication, business and information. This data is valuable to plan for the future use of social media, especially the education of those still learning to use social media.”

The sample size might be too small,  with 20 people studied in this project.  However, her project reveals some of the primary motivation for using social media and how they are used by young people.

It could be interesting to see how people of different ages (young people, adults and old aged people) are using social media in their formal and informal learning, with large sample size of different populations, and those from different cultures.   This could provide a deeper insight into how social media could be used for education and learning.

I would suggest my students to explore how they could make better use of social media and Web 2.0 tools in their formal studies and informal learning.

See also my blog post on Is blogging on the decline in 2013?

The truths about MOOCs

Audrey in her post says:

I wanted to give a talk that expressed my deep gratitude to Canadian educators and researchers — particularly those that created MOOCs — alongside my concerns about the rewriting of education technology history that diminishes, if not erases altogether, their contributions. It’s a larger problem too, I’d argue, with many tech entrepreneurs laying claim to education innovation with nary a reference or a nod to those who’ve shaped the field. It’s disingenous and dishonest and deeply, deeply troubling as how we frame the past helps us think about the direction of the future.

History is, of course, always partial, always situated, always contested. There is no “official story” about the Iran hostage crisis or about MOOCs or about education technology more generally.

And just as with politics, when it comes to education and technology, our notion of history is heavily influenced by the media.

Let’s face it.

Couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we need to explore and research through networks, with networked learning.  May I share my understanding and interpretation on how this could be achieved through “Connectivism”?  I have used the learning metaphor of understanding of an elephant to interpret the application of learning theories –

What we should avoid is believing in single source “expert views” or media without examining the assumptions and background “historical perspectives”.  It is right that professors and experts, and even textbooks may help us in understanding and applying prescriptive knowledge, based on scaffolding and the various learning theories – behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

The challenge is: we are living in a rapidly changing world that often, our knowledge are based on the “facts” and information provided by the media, various “information sources” that are often cited by the “experts”, or authorities, or the education providers, who might have disclosed those parts which are useful for promotion, marketing (the positive part of education and learning).  How about the reality?

The whole MOOC story unfolded reveals exactly how all “history” could be written, to certain parties’ merits.  As I have shared, I am more than convinced on the fuzzy and complexity nature of MOOCs, that many of the “articles” are mainly opinion papers, where some of the sources of the information need to be re-examined and inquired.

I have been working on such researches on MOOCs since 2008, with 2 intensive research surveys completed, together with other interview surveys.  I worked with other researchers in disclosing those findings, based on research, not just personal opinions.  I don’t claim I have got all of the relevant evidences in support of a new learning theory.

However, I do see such learning has been emerging from the participants of MOOCs (both x and c MOOCs) in various ways, based on various social media/PLE/N tools. There are many others who might not have used the tools extensively.

So, truth be told, on the historical background of MOOCs, and that we should all continue to critically examine and inquire about what has occurred in the MOOCs movement, through our lens and research, and not on the “text book” approach, where people told us the opinions, instead of facts.

May be, we could re-examine some of the sources of MOOCs through social media or educational media and check our evidences collected against other resources such as this What leader should know about MOOCs and MOOC guide by Stephen Downes, and the research publications list on MOOC by Rita Kop .


Will your connectivity and influence be determined by a Score?

I am interested in knowing how social tools like Klout would determine our connectivity and interactivity.

See this experiment in the use of Klout in determining student grades and you may be amazed.

I have used Klout a few times, but I was bothered with the hidden virus and Melware associated with the downloading of the softwares and the associated links to Twitter.  I wasn’t sure if an increase in number of followers or following would really make a difference in my learning.   I also think it is the value and quality of interaction that makes a difference, not the number of followers/following.

May be it is too early to draw into conclusion on the use of those social open software, as I do think they could be useful as an indicator on the connectivity, but then I would refrain from using it in determining the student grades, due to its “instrumentation” nature of “knowing” and “learning” in social media such as Twitter.  In other words, I would prefer to measure the influential nature of followship and creative nature of learning in the social media based on critical thinking and reflection, rather than the mere increase in the number of followers or following, or Tweets and Re-Tweets etc.

Also, if the class students are really making a “group effort” in attracting each others to tweet and re-tweet in their study just to achieve a higher score, wouldn’t that be no different from the mere rote learning, by repeating actions of what the “instructors” and other networkers are doing.

Tweeting for the sake of getting a good grade is not learning, it could even be a waste of time, if such acts are merely mechanistic way of sharing links and information, without a goal.

Don’t take it the wrong way, as I think Klout could be a good tool to measure how one influences each others, only that I am still not that sure if it could be used in an academic manner, and how it fits into the pedagogy.

Does it make sense?

#Change11 #CCK12 Do you know who are watching you?

In social media, do you know who are watching you?

As shared in my post here, posting in social media exposes one’s identity with a trail of records of one’s personal profiles, posts, voices, activities, photos, videos, and artifacts.  “On one hand, social networks are a valuable source of information for students, but on the other, they have become areas where students may not use these sites for their primary purpose – ‘networking’ and connecting with friends – for fear that their activities may be accessed by potential employers or ultimately affect admission to legal practice.”

In this post, Maxine says: “Employers and hiring agents are increasingly checking potential employees’ online presence by looking at Facebook, Twitter and Google so that as young people enter the workforce, they need to be conscious of protecting themselves and setting boundaries between their social and professional lives.”

This seems to be a concern to students and employees who may not be aware of how their behavior in the social media and networks would impact on their future study or career.  This could also deter students or employees in using social media to a certain extent, especially if some of the blogs, postings, comments, personal information or photos on the social media or networks might be evaluated by their potential employers or institutions.  “Job seekers need to be mindful of this when they post online and take care when sharing confidential information, especially about former employers. Employers reported that they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate.”

How would you present yourself in the networks, virtual spaces and media platforms personally and professionally?  To what extent would you ensure your privacy and security is protected in those social media and networks?  What are some of the challenges facing a digital citizen or netizen?

What strategies have you adopted in the development of digital scholarship or digital citizenship?

Postscript: This post on digital era society – social media by Danah Boyd is interesting

#Change11 #CCK12 What are the implications of using social media on one’s privacy and future study or career?

This is my follow up post on Facebook and its impact on social networking

There are promising benefit of using facebook:

“The strong linkage between Facebook use and high school connections suggests how SNSs help maintain relations as people move from one offline community to another. It may facilitate the same when students graduate from college, with alumni keeping their school email address and using Facebook to stay in touch with the college community. Such connections could have strong payoffs in terms of jobs, internships, and other opportunities. Colleges may want to explore ways to encourage this sort of usage.”

In this post relating to the  impact of posting of photos on Facebook, Dr Catherine Bond says:

“Thus, on the one hand, social networks are a valuable source of information for students, but on the other, they have become areas where students may not use these sites for their primary purpose – ‘networking’ and connecting with friends – for fear that their activities may be accessed by potential employers or ultimately affect admission to legal practice.”

There are still lots of debates about Facebook and its use, and not every educators and students are comfortable in sharing there:

“Very often, students don’t want to be Facebook friends with teachers, parents, relatives and other adults. The most logical explanation for that is that they are doing things online they don’t want the adults in their lives to see. But digital profiles are increasingly looked at as resume extensions. Kids should not post what they don’t want the adults in their lives to see, and the best deterrent for irresponsible posting is to have a wide array of adults present in students’ online world.”

For me, I would prefer sharing within my “social circles and networks” as I don’t think I would like to be sold with advertisement and posts which are hard selling to me.  Besides, what are the implications of personal photos being “exploited” for commercial purposes, on social networks and media?

Photo: Google Image

Should we be friends with our students on Facebook?  What would you choose? Why?

#Change11 #CCK12 The use of social media (FB/Twitter) in social networking & networked learning

Research indicates that male and females are different generally in the use of  social media and social networking. Males tend to be more competitive in getting the job done effectively, with strong self regards, and less regards for others, suggesting that males are more oriented on task assignment and completion. Females tend to be more socially oriented and show more regards for others, thus with a higher emotional intelligence on self awareness, social awareness and interperpersonal skills, leading them to become better teachers, coaches which rely much on human relationship building.

From the research here by Kop, Helene & Mak (2011):

“There seemed to be a gender difference in the perception of the value of community building and the organization of communication. The research highlighted a difference between men and women in terms of their communication styles and preferences. Women tended to look for similarities or commonalities (i.e., in issues of language) that could become a source of bonding. In contrast, some men had a tendency to practice one-upmanship, in the sense of trying to keep one step ahead of other participants as competitors. Men were more task-oriented in their use of language, while women put more emphasis on socioemotional dimensions. For example, in one course activity that was taken up by PLENK participants, the female participant tended to play more of an assistant/supportive role and responded in an inclusive way, while her male counterpart tended to delegate task.”

Posting first seems to be a human nature, when sharing, and the looking for some social belonging and recognition, in social networking. I realized that most postings on Social Networking sites such as FB and Twitter that relate to social learning & relationship come predominantly from females, whilst postings on information and research artifacts come equally from males and females. That is only my intuition, based on observation. You could try and analyse the networkers’ postings, and see if there is such a pattern. This seems to me a nice research topic. The questions are: Are males and females different in their intentions in social networking and media learning? What are their differences in terms of goals and motivation? Why?

This study on Facebook provides some interesting insights on why and how people use FB:

Seven unique uses and gratifications were identified –

– social connection

– shared identities

– content

– content gratification

– social investigation

– social network surfing

– status updating

User demographics, site visit patterns and the use of privacy settings were associated with different users and gratification.

A younger user was associated with higher usage level and a greater number of friends.

Females visit more frequently and scores on the photographs and status updates predict frequency of visit to the sites.

In the case of Twitter, the research found a non-power law follower distribution. Among reciprocated users, there were some level of homophily.

Would be interested to know how participants of MOOC (Change 11 and CCK12) are using social media like FB and Twitter.


Kop, R., Fournier, H., Mak, S.F. J. (2011). A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online CoursesThe International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Vol 12, No. 7 (2011).

Mak, S.F.J. (2012) Facebook or Media 

#Change11 #CCK12 #LAK12 Facebook or Twitter

Facebook or Twitter. Which one would you use?

Following are some of the posts.

This post on Facebook or Twitter contrasts the difference:

“Participants answered questions about the way they used Facebook and Twitter and which site they preferred. They also answered questions about their personality based around the “Big Five” personality factors of Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Openness and Agreeableness, as well as the dimensions of sociability and “need for cognition” (this last factor is about people’s need to be mentally engaged and stimulated).

People’s overall preference for Twitter or Facebook:   People who scored higher in “need for cognition” tended to prefer Twitter, whilst higher scorers in sociability, neuroticism and extraversion tended to prefer Facebook. Simplifying the results, one might say that Facebook is the more social of the two social networking sites, whereas Twitter is more about sharing and exchanging information.”

These findings correlate well with previous researches on Facebook where I posted here:

Here is a research paper on Facebook.

With these themes in mind, the paper concludes that rather than necessarily enhancing or eroding students’ ‘front-stage’ engagement with their formal studies, Facebook use must be seen as being situated within the ‘identity politics’ of being a student. In particular,Facebook appears to provide a ready space where the ‘role conflict’ that students often experience in their relationships with university work, teaching staff, academic conventions and expectations can be worked through in a relatively closed ‘backstage’ area.

In accordance to research by Grosseck, G. and Holotescu, C. (2008), Twitter proved to be an effective tool for professional development and for collaboration with students, that can change the rules of the courses and models good pedagogy responsive to student’s learning needs.

Facebook is used as a social media tool rather than a formal teaching tool as reported here (FB as formal instructional environment).  In this How Higher Education Uses Social Media:

When it comes to higher ed, there are not only opportunities for digital learning, but digital marketing too. Some schools have taken the reigns on both sides, with mixed results.

Also, in this Social Media in Higher Education, has done some research about the pros and cons of social media in higher education, and they summarized their results in the infographic below. It examines which platforms work the best and the challenges schools face as they try to learn how to manage their social media presence. Some key takeaways:

  • 100% of the schools studied are using some form of social media.
  • They use it in the classroom, to enhance school pride, as a professional development tool for teachers, and to reach out to their immediate communities and prospective students.
  • Johns HopkinsHarvardNotre DameOhio State, and Columbia make the best use of social media.
The use of FB and Twitter in MOOC has been reported here:
Facebook in MOOC:

However, only a limited number of participants joined the FB groups (8.2% of 1641 PLENK2010 participants and less than 18% of 700+ CCK11 participants), and only a small proportion of FB group members were active at any one time during the course. Subtle concerns and issues arose. Some participants did not join the PLENK or CCK11 FB group for privacy and personal security reasons. Others who joined the FB groups remained as peripheral participants for the duration of the course. Participants also highlighted the need for a sense of trust and feeling comfortable and confident to be able to participate, as well as a sense of presence and community. Some learners preferred the Moodle forum over FB as they expressed that they were able to learn more about the background, ideas, and beliefs of other participants than in FB. The CCK11 MOOC did not have a Moodle environment, and an excerpt from a blog post of a participant of CCK11 highlights some relevant issues:

The relative “character” anonymity of participants in the CCK11 as compared with the PLENK2010 cohort was an obstacle. The PLENK (Moodle) forum provided an easily navigated discussion interface. From the contributions on a wide variety of topics, I learnt a lot about the passions, the character, the beliefs of the participants. We were fellow learners, not just network nodes, and I would imagine a certain degree of trust was established between many of the participants. Facebook, the seeming preferred CCK11 gathering place, does not provide the same level of personal connection for me, so I am not currently feeling particularly nodish.

Twitter in MOOC:

PLENK2010 and CCK11 participants made use of Twitter, a Web 2.0 micro-blogging tool that enhanced social presence by providing a mechanism for just-in-time social interactions. It provided authentic opportunities to connect and be perceived as “real” in ways that traditional LMS-contained tools could not. There were participants who valued Twitter and found it the best tool for learning, connecting, and interacting with PLENKers. A further survey in CCK11 revealed that participants ranked Twitter as the most important tool for interaction and communication in the MOOC. The feedback from some participants, however, suggests that Twitter was still too new and foreign to them in PLENK2010, and a significant number of participants were hesitant to use it in public:

Twitter still seems too much another big distraction construction site for me yet . . . I merely use it to either retweet great tweets I stumbled upon, or to tweet valuable links via shareaholic, so “from outside,” but I often follow #streams for events or topics, sometimes multiple, via tweet tabs though.

Observations of the use of Twitter, however, showed that it supported coherence and connections between different tools during PLENK2010 and CCK11, including back channels to synchronous sessions, updates of news and events, and links to recordings.

Here is an update on Social Media 2012: Facebook & Twitter.