The Use of Social Media in Student Learning

Expanding the use of media, information and communication technologies in education requires a scientific justification for their use to ensure the quality of education, its effectiveness.

The use of media, new information technologies in teaching is becoming more and more widespread in modern education. The universities implement various online platforms (“Blackboard”, “Edmodo”, “Joomla”, “Moodle” and others) in their work for the development of educational communications between students and teachers. Generally, materials generated on these resources are understood as educational or have educational potential, but often they do not have these qualities. Presented in a concentrated in the form of processes during learning offline – the mastery of knowledge, the development of skills, the consolidation of skills, the formation of motivation, control, testing and evaluation of the effectiveness of training – are practically not represented in the aggregate in the online environment.

Modern science is looking for answers to questions: is the information obtained a knowledge that can be used in the future? Is online learning such a thing in itself in conditions of self-study?

What characteristics, properties and differences from the “classical” way of obtaining knowledge it has? Moreover, the authors themselves note that during the study, attention was paid to methods, forms of self-education, in which expansion and deepening of knowledge was not accompanied by formal certification and existed outside of compulsory educational programs.

The research of S. Hilton, J. Graham, P. Richie and D. Wiley on the use of on-line technologies in teaching students in the classroom and remotely shows that in order to change the organization of the traditional learning process, in addition to developing an activity plan, it is necessary to attract additional resources and knowledge, such how to determine the time of communication, the rules for building communication in the network, creating additional types of interactions between students online and offline, identifying roles and areas of responsibility between the instructor and the teacher.

A significant research problem in the study of online education is the development of a program to prepare training courses with the optimal allocation of time, management of online and offline interactions, forms of instruction and adequate verification of the broadcast knowledge.

Synthesis of “classical” – classroom – forms of teaching and modern: computer technologies, a clear definition of the target group of students (for example, correspondence students, students with disabilities) creates conditions for using a unique electronic resource in vocational education – the social education network.

Many experts object to a narrow understanding of the informatization of education, preferring social networks that act as a means of building their own learning or working space and expanding the opportunities for joint work of the participants in the learning process, rather than autonomous learning management systems that are universal tools for preparing the content of the teaching material, collecting information about academic performance, conducting testing, and so on.

For example, the capabilities of Wikipedia allow not only to consume information, but also to create it. With the help of this platform, students and teachers can create articles and abstracts instead of printed coursework and reports. Also, this platform has the ability to jointly discuss ready-made materials, which in turn can increase the responsibility for their preparation for publication and reduce the likelihood of plagiarism. The use of iTunes and Play Market services can be useful in the non-commercial publication of educational materials, audio lectures, and methodological materials.

Important is also the knowledge of what search engines are used by students and teachers on the Internet. This information is needed not only to create additional social services on the basis of these search engines, but also to promote the university’s website, the department, the analysts of the most frequent inquiries among students and much more. The most popular search engines are “Google” (71%) and “Bing” (63%). Analytics tools of both search engines are convenient for tracking the activity of users of online resources, such as sites, blogs, and also for the search promotion of English-language content.

Answering the question, “Do the questionnaire use online educational resources for self-development and self-education?” (If “yes”, how and how often), the majority of respondents could not fully answer the question. 19% described their work in the online environment as the use of Internet resources no more than once a week, another 10% of respondents indicated frequent access to networked educational resources, 6% used Internet opportunities in training no more than once a month. All respondents could not give the exact name of sites, forums, online libraries. At the same time, 18% of the respondents did not have such experience at all. This leads to the conclusion that it is necessary to create a special resource for the use of Internet resources for educational purposes, the knowledge base as an additional tool for training in a social network. To such an educational resource, teachers and students could first of all address.

The positive trend in the use of social networks in training is confirmed by the intensity and the length of time they work with. 8% of the survey participants confirmed that they do not use social networks in training, 16% are regular users, 46% often use social networks for training, and 30% use it, but rarely.

To the positive moments of the use of social networks in education, the questionnaires included: time savings – 34%, availability of information – 30%, mobility – 25%. On the other hand, serious fears are caused by the lack of time to use social networks to the detriment of classroom and homework. This circumstance was indicated by 17.5% of respondents. Also, 12% fear that the possibility of a large amount of communication will distract from the original goal. In turn, 8% of respondents questioned the openness of networked educational resources.

Participants in the survey noted that different functions of social networks can be used in teaching: the use of chat for group work (48%); commenting on the work of the teacher and fellow students (47%); viewing and preparing presentations (47%); publication of posts and messages in thematic groups (44%); listening to audiolections (44%); participation in webinars and videoconferences (42%); Execution of coursework and abstracts using Wikipedia technologies or publication of posts (31%); preparation of video works (15%).

Among the negative aspects of the use of social networks for educational purposes, 12% of the respondents attributed the possible lack of reliable information and its reliable sources in comparison with the knowledge received from teachers and the materials they recommended. There is a possibility that a carelessly created, unreliable material will be used subsequently as a source of knowledge.

The use of resources of information and communication technologies, social networks as additional training facilities, forms of its organization creates conditions for the modernization of the national education, ensures its accessibility and democracy, effectiveness and quality of preparation for the professional activity of future bachelors, masters, specialists and scientists.

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