1 Dniprodzerzhinsk State Technical University (UKRAINE)
2 University College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 5198-5206
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
Social media which already occupies a strong position in our lives as an effective means of interpersonal communication is also being viewed nowadays as a powerful instrument able to change our perception of learning and gaining knowledge; to make learning and reality meet in the classroom, and to prepare students for their future professional activity.
In spite of numerous investigations conducted in different countries, the question of the most effective ways to exploit social media in a formal learning environment is still in dispute, arousing a lot of encouraging statements, together with a number of negative remarks.
The article reports the results of an investigation into how social media is being used in learning. The paper is based on an analyses of current literature concerning the issues, eliciting best teaching experiences and challenges teachers and learners have to face while dealing with social media for learning purposes. Taking into account considerable achievements in the world’s teaching practice with the use of social media, the objective of the research is to examine the specifics of utilising Facebook into the learning practices of Ukrainian university students.
To achieve the aim of the research pursued the following objectives: (a) to analyse recent publications concerning social media and its impact upon students learning and personality; (b) to discriminate main tendencies and strategies of implementing and practicing social media in different higher education learning environments; (c) to describe the practice of using Facebook in learning the History of English by Ukrainian undergraduate students; (d) to suggest recommendations on effective implementation of Facebook into the general learning environment of these (and other) university students.

The methods used include the following: scientific publication analysis, analysis of the experts’ teaching experience, interview (in-service teachers who are experienced in using social media in learning, and students using social media in their everyday life and learning); learning experiment (teaching History of English with Facebook); observation and self-observation (learning and teaching processes were observed as well as participants’ behavior in the virtual space); data analysis (answers to questionnaires and interviews were processed and analysed); evaluation and self-evaluation (learning outcomes and teaching practices were evaluated, introspection and self-evaluation in teaching and experience of virtual communication was captured as well).
The experimental learning was organized with undergraduate students.
The research findings will help to define psychological obstacles which appear to exist to the implementation of social media in learning, in order to suggest strategies to make learning with social media more effective.