AN EXPERIENCE FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF FACEBOOK AS A TEACHING TOOL IN THE CONTEXT OF A VOCATIONAL TRAINING COURSE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
University of Murcia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Facebook is the most successful social network with more than 1.000 million of users. Its wide penetration between Web users as well as the time users spend in this network has made that teachers consider it as an alternative to encourage to their students to improve their learning processes or even as a platform to perform teaching-learning processes.
From an educational point of view, a social network can provide the following features: it is a environment with multiple tools, it facilitates the interaction between student-teacher, asynchronous interaction and it can be used to exchange knowledge and to expand it.
There are some research works that have evaluated Facebook from different point of views: its use as a collaborative environment in education, possible mistakes that can be made and the possible lack of privacy, how it is used for teaching purposes in different subjects. In this paper we describe the main issues related to each point of view.
Based on previous works we decided to carry out an experience with Facebook for education purposes in a vocational training course in computer science (devoted to the development of multiplatform applications). The design of this experience, its goals and the results we obtained are described in this paper. We also make an analysis of the different tools that Facebook offers and mentioned which of them could be used in teaching experiences.
Our goals were:
• To analyze the use of Facebook as a tool for collaborative work in a vocational training course in computer science.
• To evaluate Facebook as a supporting tool in the course.
• To analyze the degree of students acceptance.
• To evaluate the benefits of developing an activity through Facebook for the teacher.
The duration of the experience was 5 weeks. For the experience we created a group in Facebook which purpose is being a communication channel to exchange ideas, solve doubts related to the contents in a collaboratively and publish any information related to the course (e.g., an advance of the contents for the following class).
We also made 2 pools: one at the beginning of the experience and another when the experience was finished. In the first pool we obtained data about the use of Facebook by students (devices used, access frequency and time) and the expectations of the students with the experience of Facebook (if they believe Facebook is useful for purposes such as share documents, solve doubts between students and between students and teacher, submit assignments, make assignments in groups, and as a communication tool). After the experience, with the second pool our goal is to check if the behavior of the students had changed and if their expectations on the use of Facebook for the course were as expected.
As a result of this experience we have obtained the following results: the students use both their laptops and smartphones to access the group created for the course, from each connection to Facebook, the students spent around 20% of their time in the group created for the course and they connected several times to the week to check the group, the assessment of Facebook as an educational tool for the purposes previously mentioned was, in general, positive, although the results were slightly worse than the initial expectation. After the experience the students also consider that the use of Facebook during the whole course would be positive as well as they also considered that its used could be extended to other courses.
Keywords: Social networks, Facebook, teaching/learning strategies.