Social media and social networking applications for teaching and learning

This paper aims to better understand the experiences of the youth and the educators with the tapping of social media like YouTube videos and the social networking application of Facebook for teaching and learning. This paper is interested in appropriating the benefits of leveraging of social media and networking applications like YouTube and Facebook for learning and pedagogical purposes. To find out the viability of the uses of YouTube videos and Facebook postings as informative and communicative tools, this paper employs a case study of a qualitative method of informal interviews with tertiary students who are studying Business Communication modules from two polytechnics and interviews with lecturers who are teaching Communication modules in two other polytechnics and a University, in Singapore. The results of the data indicated students’ preference with using YouTube videos and Facebook to make friends, to network with friends and to be able to learn additional knowledge at their own time and at their preferred place. They like to learn informally via the YouTube videos and Facebook postings with the information and knowledge that extend beyond the boundaries of the textbook and the classroom. But, the problems with the leveraging of YouTube and Facebook for learning include the distractions that would “take away the learning time” from the myriad of games and the various social invitation available on YouTube videos and Facebook. The data also indicated that the youth; the students and the lecturers are positive about using Facebook as a “social” platform to build a good relationship with one another, outside of school. According to the data, the connectivity and the communication via Facebook allow for the students’ and lecturer’s ease of being friends with one another and with the ease of sharing information and knowledge beyond the boundaries of the classroom and the textbook. Hence, the Facebook connectivity and communication between the students and the lecturers enable a good relationship and in building better rapport between the students and lecturers. However, both the students and lecturers strongly indicated the necessity of face-to-face lessons for communication and for facilitation of academic and formal learning. In conclusion, the ability to read and write and classroom interactions, teaching and having face-to-face communication are in fact still very vital and important but it is no longer sufficient. Old literacy and old technologies are augmented but not totally replaced. There can be a mix of blending the old and new literacy with the social media and social networking applications in the 21st century for teaching and learning.