New issue of eLearning Papers on Social networking supporting learning is out!
Internet is a social network. It links people, groups of people, organizations, information and applications made by people. When teaching and learning aims to take advantage of the Internet, activities that foster an understanding of the role and impact of social networks become crucial. Both research and hands-on experiments are needed to explore the possibilities the new platforms and practices social networks provide for teaching and learning.
Social networking is definitely not a new phenomenon in the field of teaching and learning. It could be, however, claimed that at some point in history we forgot the importance of social network in the learning process.
In about 387 BC, Plato founded a new school devoted to researching and teaching philosophy and the sciences. In Plato’s Academy the main working practice was dialogue carried out among the participants. An ongoing reflection and evaluation of beliefs was seen to lead to a critical and deeper understanding of the issues. Plato’s Academy was, in effect, a social network capable of carrying out self-correcting inquiry.
For decades, various methods have been applied in educational research to analyse and study the social networks and social dynamics of educational institutions. The majority of these studies have been undertaken at a classroom or school level. Today, with new forms of digital social networks and increasing computing power, research on social networks in learning is more exciting than ever before. The possibilities to experiment with social network services — to carryout design-based research, gather quantitative and qualitative data and to do social network analyses or build computer models — are endless. Both in terms of practice and research, we are only now taking the first steps with using social networks in teaching and learning contexts.
The new issue features 6 articles, 2 of them are in depth insights on the topic and the other 4 are examples from the field of the implementation of social networking supporting education. We thank all authors for their high quality submissions.
From the field