The benefits of using Social Media for Education are well-known (Clark, 2016). However, although many educational practitioners have used main-stream Social Media (MSM), there are some barriers such as:
- Some students perceive their MSM as ‘personal’ and do not want to use it for ‘work’.
- A negative impact on a users’ digital identity (Brown & Addison, 2015)
- MSM can be distracting since it has many personal references and links.
- Some students have experienced bullying on MSM and do not wish to use it
This session will present Study-Space and how it overcomes these barriers by providing a safe learning space that is private to the student cohort. Participants will gain an understanding of how the app enabled active learning. For example, the app allows students to ask questions and for the teacher to elicit feedback from students via polls and voting competitions.
For the Italian Mafias programme unit, the app was used to facilitate teacher/student and student/student communications, both inside and outside of the classroom:
- Students were able to think, reflect and discuss, thereby enhancing the learning process, the quality of their research, and scholarship in the unit. During the role-play games it enabled a running commentary to events being played out in class. It added suspense and perhaps because it allowed for greater anonymity, people had more freedom to act independently and do as they felt was best.
- From an academic’s perspective, the communications prompts questions, ideas and perspectives which enables the teaching to be altered and adapted. The nature of the topics changed dynamically, thereby facilitating improvements in the teaching output.
The app was used by 35 students from a cohort of 37. Quantitative evaluation was conducted using a paper-based questionnaire including free-text and Likert items (Cox & Cox, 2008). The results (n = 29) showed that students thought the app was: useful to support learning, that it facilitated a community of students and academics working together, and that it improved the quality of teaching and learning.
From an academic perspective, although there is a need to monitor the ongoing communications, Study-Space has added a new, extra and exciting dimension to teaching. It has given students and lecturers alike, a new and virtual learning space for engagement.
Clark, D. (2016). Social media as powerful method of learning – the evidence [viewed 6 June 2017]. Available from: http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Social+media+as+powerful+method+of+learning+%E2%80%93+the+evidence
Brown, A. & Addison, B. (2015). The role of social media in undergraduate pharmacy education. Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference [viewed 6 June 2017]. Available from:https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/socmedhe/files/2015/12/aly_brown_SP1.mp3
Cox, J. & Cox, K.B. (2008). Your opinion, please!: How to build the best questionnaires in the field of education. Corwin Press