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Title: A study of social networking site usage by graduate students : web 2.0 for learning?
Authors: Yam, Yee Nam
Keywords: DRNTU::Library and information science::Knowledge management
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Few modern day technologies come close to the phenomenal social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook and Twitter in their ability to attract students of all ages to ‘live out’ more of their waking hours on the Web. There are ongoing discussions over the potential of these sites to enable and/or enhance learning. Yet, there is lacking of work done hitherto to study how and why graduate students use SNSs, and the implications for learning. Two plausible explanations for this lack are much of research on the use of SNSs is still emerging and few studies explore the link between SNS use and education. This study explores whether SNSs have a place in learning by identifying the SNS most often used among various Web 2.0 tools, investigating how graduate students use this SNS, why they use it, and the implications for learning. 124 graduate students enrolled in three Masters’ programs from six classes in Singapore were surveyed using questionnaire during a weekly lesson. Findings on the ‘how’ confirm Facebook as the SNS most often use. Notably, the first and second most often use of Facebook are for interaction (connecting people to people) and communication (connecting people to information) purposes. Conscious and deliberate use of Facebook for business/professional networking was the least often. In between the two ends was the distinctive SNS use as a ‘place’ to relax and unwind. Apart from validating the primary motivation to use Facebook for keeping in touch with friends, findings on the ‘why’ interestingly identify a recurring user perception and pattern of use of SNS as a ‘place’ to hang out to be a compeling reason to use Facebook. Other findings were mixed. Finally, as conclusion for findings to advance our understanding of the implications for learning, we argue for a case of SNS usage facilitating learning. In reality, when users consider Web 2.0 in general and SNSs in particular as learning enabler, not just another application that ‘all my friends are using’, their use under the right conditions can facilitate learning. With Facebook as the case in point within the context of education, the recommendation is that provided existing and new users succeed in breaking free of the many pre-conceived notions and misconstrued user perceptions pertaining to use of SNSs and the resulting user experiences (which are highly dependent on users’ past experience and knowledge), effective leverage of the perceived affordances of SNSs for learning will remain a real challenge.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Theses

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