INTER-DISCIPLINARY PHENOMENA IN SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: THE CASE OF THE GOLDEN RATIO IN THE FACEBOOK

W. Daher, N. Baya'a

Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education (ISRAEL)
The recent years witnessed the emergence and growth of social networking sites as sites for social interaction, and gradually as educational sites. This emergence calls for research regarding the potentialities of social networking sites for the teaching and learning of various disciplines. This article describes an experiment in using the Facebook, as representative of social networking sites, for teaching and learning an inter-disciplinary phenomenon: the golden ratio. The current research used the grounded theory model to describe and explain the various factors associated with the teaching and learning of inter-disciplinary phenomena in a social networking site. Here we are specifically concerned with the conditions and consequences of such teaching and learning. We carried out, together with our pre-service teachers, three experiments using the Facebook to involve the users in mathematical and scientific phenomena, history, talk and concepts. One pre-service teacher initiated one of the experiments and created a page on the golden ratio. This page attracted 'friends' from different disciplines and places, and enabled them to exchange their experiences regarding the golden ration among each other. The research findings show that teaching and learning an inter-disciplinary phenomenon in a social networking site as the Facebook is influenced by various conditions: the features of the social networking site, the properties of the inter-disciplinary phenomenon, the background of the learners and the strategies of the moderator. In our case, the learning included: justifying, exploring, experimenting, giving solutions, criticizing, connecting with real life, connecting with other disciplines, connecting with history and searching for information in the internet. These varied learning actions point at the great potentialities of social networking sites with multimodal options for teaching and learning mathematics and science, so we suggest these sites for engaging students with inter-disciplinary phenomena, and as a consequence of this engagement it is expected that these students exchange rich mathematical and scientific ideas and experiences as it happened in the experiment which we report.