The concept of social computing coupled with web 2.0 technologies have caught a wide audience since 2004 and have revitalized an interest in peer-learning and collaboration, notions that have a longer history within the area of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). (Thomas & Ellen, 2008). In the past several years, we have seen the dramatically growth of using social media. Social networking sits such as Face book, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, wikis are popular and frequent used by online population. Without a doubt, the popularity of social networking has made a great impact on academia and learning environment. According to Vie (2008), almost all Generation M students (eighteen to twenty-four years old and first-time college students) used on line social networking sites regularly. And these social networking sites can serve as mediators for communication, collaboration and interaction between students, teachers and faculty. (Shazarin, Azween & Alan, 2011).
There are some certain benefits to use social networking sites for education. The primary benefit of social networking sites is that they contribute to student’s active participation in learning. Students are developing a positive attitude towards using technology systems, editing and customizing content, and thinking about online design and layout. Instead of being told or taught by teachers in the class using drill and practice techniques have opportunities to participate in the class to communicate, interact, discuss and collaborate with their classmates, teachers and other knowledgeable peer. (Shazarin, Azween & Alan, 2011). Besides, students can practice their technological influences by using social networking sites. Using social networking sites can foster the creativities of students. They receive elementary instruction from school and practice themselves after class. With deep interest at technology, they can go even further.
From the perspectives of teachers and schools, social networking websites enable them to increase their access to resources. These social networking sites provide them opportunities to collaborate with other teachers and faculty. They can exchange their lesson plans as well as information. They can also assist teaches in their daily teaching .For example, teachers can give out assignment by posting in blogs or other forms of writing. Furthermore, this method can reduce expenditures by sharing some available resource. And most important, parents can also participate to these social networking sites, coupling with teachers to instruct students.
However, several issues have presented using social networking sites. The first problem lies on whether students can correctly identify the outside world. If students use social networking sites beyond control, it could lead to serious blunders. Thus, teachers should educate students on ethics in social networking sits. Inculcating upon students the duties to respect the other people and a right direction to express themselves may be one effective means of prevention. Besides, teachers and parents should help students manage their time well. Otherwise, students will indulge in network and lost themselves.
To conclude, as one of the promising field, social networking sites offer tremendous potential for education and academic sectors. However, social networking technology is still relative new in learning environment. (Mark, 2008). We are facing numerous challenges. Teachers’ monitoring learning activities is essential to achieve learning tasks and objectives.
Vie, S. (2008). Digital divide 2.0: “Generation M” and online social networking sites in the composition classroom. Computers and Composition. 25, 9–23.
Thomas, R. & Ellen, C.(2008). Community and social network sites as technology Enhanced Learning Environments. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. 17(3), 207–219. Aalborg University.
Shazarin, Z., Azween, A., & Alan, D. (2011). Social networking sites for learning: a review from vygotskian perspective. 2011 International conference on telecommunication technology and applications. 2011(5),IACSIT Press, Singapore.
Mark, S. ( 2008).Learning opportunities embedded in social networking: the future of learning. CLO magazine, (2008), IntroNetworks.