I’m currently in the process of researching various types of Social Media and Networks for my MA research. I hope to build on some of the work I have written up recently in relation to New Literacy Studies and @ClassroomTweets.
It’s apparent from my classroom experience and reading that the simplicity of creating and updating content with Web 2.0 systems empowers readers to write – @ClassroomTweets has really made me realise this. But what the literature also tells us is that audience is key and that Web 2.0 allows users to create imagined audiences as well as real networks through social networking systems (SNS). Web 2.0 clearly allows users to create the web and collaborate. However, large proportions of schools (including my own) now use virtual learning environments (VLEs), where communication tools such as discussion forums, blogs and wikis usually serve single class instances – not a larger network. Furthermore, although content creators within a VLE can easily link to the outside Web, the reverse is not true, because inbound links are often blocked (Alexander, 2008). This really asks the question – how do you maintain conversations on either side of a password barrier?
I don’t have the answers, but I hope my current research helps to inform the debate. I’m currently in the process of looking at social networking systems such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and the potential education and privacy issues that arise from them. Over the coming weeks I plan on writing a series of blog posts that explore different social media as well as reporting my overall findings at the end of the project. For now I’m going to leave you with the excellent ‘A Vision of Students Today’ video which really highlights the need to rethink education in the light of the impact of Web 2.0: