Monday, 15 July 2013

1.2 E-Activity Selecting a Research Topic

Having thought about the research topic I come back to something I am interested in - social media. I am amazed almost on a daily basis of how students are drawn to the variety of social media that is available to them and how they access it, how they use it and what satisfaction - or dissatisfaction occurs. As a teacher I am continuously learning and using web tools in the classroom which makes for very interesting and lots of fun lessons. So I have outlined my thoughts on this for selecting social media as a research topic.  

STATE the research topic.
What is the advantage or educational potential of using social media in the classroom (specifically Facebook).

WHY choose the topic?
Students who are in our classrooms today are often labelled Digital Natives. This label highlights the digital age in which we find ourselves living in and within this evolution inevitably comes change. So how can we use this (social media) to an educational advantage?
Social media offers exciting opportunities for a classroom environment, but I think it should be used based on sound pedagogical principles and driven by empirical research and evaluation, in order to produce effective meaningful learning outcomes and experiences for all students.

WHO are the information providers on this topic?
Students use social media regularly, some even obsessed with it. They are at the forefront of using social media as a form of communication. Some teachers have grasped the concept of using social media in the classroom environment but are they using it to improve student learning or is it just another web tool to use/try? (Maybe this last sentence should be in the next category – what questions).

WHAT are the major questions for this topic?
The way we teach and the way we learn is inevitably changing with technology. How can we adopt and use social media in an educational setting? What are the advantages/learning outcomes for our students? What can we use it for eg collaboration, feedback?How can it be advantageous without stepping out of the boundaries (refer to the 'when' heading topics).

WHERE is your topic important: local, national, international?
It seems that this topic is local, national and international. It also seems, from the research I have come across so far, is secondary and tertiary based where social media has been researched and reported, not as much primary.

WHEN is/was your topic important?
To Friend or not to Friend, Educational tool or distraction, the fine line between exploiting opportunities and unwelcome imposition – these are just some of the research topics which I have come across in the interest of this subject ‘social media – a place or not a place in education’.
It has recently been the ‘hot topic’ of colleagues to investigate social media in the classroom and the advantages of using it. Senior management have also some interest but at this stage is in the early stages of investigation/development/implementation.

I'm interested in any thoughts, comments, refinements.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sandra - Apology for missing this post. I think you may have added the tag some time after the original post, hence the delay in the feed.

    I think this is a relevant topic -- but needs to be refined for research purposes. For example:

    1) Social media is a broad concept and usually incorporates a range of technologies, eg blogs, microblogs, wiki's, FB, Google+, Photo sharing sites etc. Be more specific regarding which social media technologies or narrow it down to a subcomponent of these technologies (eg collaboration)

    2) You've covered the what and they why but the how in the context of Change with digital technologies needs a little more thought. See my blog post for more info:

    3) With reference to the question: "Who are the information providers?" - this refers to the sources of research on the topic. It's important to refine your topic in a way that there is a reasonable amount of published literature which you can consult. Our time is restricted - so best to avoid a longitudinal study of original research breaking new ground that may take a few years ;-).

    In short - zoom the focus so you consider the adoption elements -- eg challenges for the school and teachers regarding the integration of identified social media technologies. Hope that helps.