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Social Learning Sites?: Using Students’ Views to Explore the Use and Possibilities of Facebook for Educational Purposes in Flanders

Social Learning Sites?: Using Students’ Views to Explore the Use and Possibilities of Facebook for Educational Purposes in Flanders
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Author(s): Mathias Decuypere (University of Leuven, Belgium) and Steven Bruneel (University of Leuven, Belgium)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 20
Source title: Student Reactions to Learning with Technologies: Perceptions and Outcomes
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Kathryn Moyle (Charles Darwin University, Australia) and Guus Wijngaards (Inholland University, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-177-1.ch012

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Abstract

Social networking sites are extremely popular nowadays – especially amongst students – and are increasingly the subjects of educational research. But there is a sparse research base on students’ willingness to adopt social networking sites in their education. In this chapter we investigate to what extent Facebook is used as an educational tool. By means of semi-structured interviews, we asked students why they use Facebook and whether they allow faculty members into their personal sites, or not. During the period of one academic year 2009-2010, 15 students of different bachelor programs in a Flemish University were interviewed several times. The results demonstrate that students draw a sharp distinction between the ways they use Facebook, and why they do so. Furthermore, they barely use the social networking site for educational purposes. Consequently, students are not inclined to allow faculty members presence (as ‘friends’ on Facebook). These results are interpreted in terms of privacy concerns, and we conclude this chapter with some critical reflections concerning the current research about the effectiveness and the educational possibilities of social networking sites.

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