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Badges, Facebook and eportfolii: Facing reality in a Further Education context – Using Facebook to create learning communities without the cost of a hosted solution -- 222 -- Short (oral) Paper


09:00 - 10:20 on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 in Main Theatre

This paper will address the challenge of creating learning communities that are student focused and enhance learning interaction in a resource constrained environment at a Further Education (FE) college. It contributes to the evidence of the quiet revolution that social networking is having in the creation of sustainable online learning environments in contexts without the resources to provide bespoke solutions.

There exists research which argues that students are hostile to the notion of institutional intrusion into their online social interactions (Jones, Blackey et al (2010)) while other research argues that social networking tools can create a rich and active learning environment in which students are fully engaged (Woodward, Jones & Blackey (2011)). This paper attempts to bridge that dichotomy based on the experience of Creative Industry students at a FE College.

The paper uses a social ethnographic approach to explore the dimensions of relationships in a project being used to enhance learning interaction at a FE College. It uses a reflexive approach to explore the practice and outcomes of the learning opportunities in relation to the perceived ideology of social interaction mediated by social networks.

Of the students studying the courses in Music Technology and Popular Music Technology 100% already had Facebook profiles. The project used the closed groups feature in Facebook to link learners and staff. The closed group option was selected to provide a location that was course-based and did not break the boundaries between working and social-life that ‘friending’ learners of Facebook can cause.

The research identifies that the group shared materials and information freely, and by so doing created an identity for the group which exceeded anything that had occurred in their existing communications network. The students’ perception has been that the group has improved the range and flexibility of communication and provided an effective hub for communicating and learning between the staff and learners. The staff perception is that the students communicate within the group in a more engaging way than they had outside of Facebook in the past. They have been able to used the environment to post questions (and comments), share ideas, photos, websites and videos for inspiration; sharing in a way they have not achieved in face to face environments.

The research indicates that the learners and lecturers involved have seen a real benefit of their interaction to their learning and teaching. It shows that models of learning interaction are accessible, and economically attractive, in smaller scale provision in FE.



Comments


Attaching Adam and Deri's slides for the session

Monday, 10 September 2012, 10:30


Movie for presentation, in case it doesn't work in the embedded format in powerpoint.

Monday, 10 September 2012, 10:42