Carlos III University of Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 5849-5856
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Personal Learning Environments allow students to direct their own learning by offering knowledge from different sources according to their needs. Connecting with the different Learning Management Systems that provide this knowledge generally requires students to manage several identities. Students usually claim that this fact represents a barrier that hinders the exchange of knowledge because they cannot use their social identities they use daily and with which they are familiar.
The application of social media within the learning process could help to overcome the barrier of having to manage different identities to access the knowledge needed for learning a subject. The use of social media can also make the learning more attractive for students, providing them with more opportunities to interact with both the teacher and their classmates. This fact could make them to be more engaged in the learning process, as they would become active participants and not only passive recipients.
The main objective of this research is to provide teachers with a supplementary mechanism based on social identities to transmit to their students –in a direct and clear manner– the most important ideas discussed during a class session, and to allow students to go through those ideas again out of class. The study also aims at providing students with a feedback mechanism to communicate their opinions and doubts about the topics discussed in a class session using their social identities.
The pilot experiment carried out in the scope of this research used Twitter identities to reach the audience in class with the highlights of the topics discussed during the theory lectures of three computer engineering subjects. Among the different social media, Twitter was selected because microblogging adjusts to the purpose of sending short text messages with important ideas to remember. A mobile application was also developed to help teachers manage messages to be launch during the class sessions.
Anonymous surveys and interviews to participants will help explore the effectiveness of social media in enhancing the quality of teaching and the ability of learning of students, while fostering their involvement in the collaborative generation of knowledge for a better learning. More specifically, the paper will analyse and discuss if this approach allows students to receive the most important ideas in a more direct and clear way, to access knowledge easily and fast, to feel actively involved in the learning, to achieve an effective and attractive learning, and to participate in a better quality education.
This research also opens new opportunities to study the use of social media in other areas of the learning process, such as carrying out exercises in class, practical sessions in the laboratory, or assessment.
Social identity, Personal Learning Environment, knowledge sharing, social media, Twitter.