How Does Social Networking Enhance Learning and Teaching?

Learning Theories:

Behaviourism asserts that learning is a “black box” activity, in that we do not know what occurs inside the learner, focuses its efforts on managing external, observable behaviors, and finds much of its existence in objectivism.
Cognitivism spans a continuum from learning as information processing (a computer model) at one end, to learning as reasoning and thinking on the other, finds much of its identity in pragmatism.
Constructivism is a philosophical position that views knowledge as the outcome of experience mediated by one's own prior knowledge and the experience of others.
Connectivism (George Siemens) states that knowledge is distributed across networks and the act of learning is largely one of forming a diverse network of connections and recognizing attendant patterns

Howard Reingold
According to Rheingold, these literacies work together and are connected, not separate. Our focus should be keeping up with these literacies and to not get distracted by the technologies. The power has shifted from the hardware, software, services to the “know how” around these things.

In 2010 Rhinegold's keynote outlines what he considers to be the five key literacies:
  1. attention literacy (fundamental)
  2. participation literacy
  3. cooperation and collaboration
  4. critical consumption (Crap detection)
  5. network awareness

Visit video below by Keynote speaker Howard Rheingold

networkteacher.JPGWIIFM (What's in it for me ) to become a Networked teacher

Understanding ‘How Learners’ make sense of all that information in the ‘knowledge era’ ...............

George Siemen’s Connectivism theory in learning raises much awareness about the ‘How’ more than the ‘What’ regarding content information and pedagogical approaches we use in education today. How students retrieve, archive, share, collaborate information and repurpose this content in a meaningful way for further networking is more important skills than the ‘what’ the content is, in that moment in space and time. His theory reflects on the rapid decentralization and distribution of most of society’s channels of communication—newspapers, television, radio, and, more recently, and academic publishing (Brown, Griffiths, & Rascoff, 2007), Siemens raises concerns of ‘how learners are to make sense of information’ in a field that is fragmented and distributed, rather than well organized and coherent (such as a traditional textbook). Ideally he suggests what skills do students today need for the future.

Read: George Siemens Jan,2008 paper called: ‘Learning and Knowing in Networks: Changing roles for Educators and Designers’pdf

Visit this video to find out what one University thinks with its current students. Networking Literacy Skills Digital Media Literacy. From: NMLstaff08 | November 11, 2008 | Members of the research team at Project New Media Literacies discuss the social skills and cultural competencies needed to fully engage with today's participatory culture. Featuring Henry Jenkins, and produced by Anna Van Someren at Project New Media Literacies. See more NML


Having watched the video on networking literacy skills and read George Siemens paper please blog a 100-150 word post about it and your thoughts . Setting up a blog will be one of the activities later so dont worry too much about posting this straight away. Try and relate it to your subject area and current student cohorts, as to how you can change or at least improve the way you can connect with the tool s your students use in your subject and /or course.


Question: Do you teach students the way you learn?

Have you done a VARK test lately? Visual, ,Audio, Read write, Kinesthetic (VARK) Read more...Visit time2learn VARK and Pedagogy 2.0

Have you given your current students the VARK test. Often we forget about the diverse learning styles of students and how today we are dealing with the Nintendo generation and above. The latter, who basically are multimodal in learning styles and require greater motivating activities. Maybe these can be networking challenges in their learning activities so as to be engaged with what they do to make it relevant to the real world with real outcomes. Give them a project to group work with and tell them to build you something that constructively aligns to the learning outcomes. Stand back and facilitate or mange their learning to give them a much more autonomous self directed approach to their learning.


Neomillennial Model

Dieterle et al, propose adding a media based or mediated learning style, the “NeoMillennial learning style” which results from new technologies, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, the vast volumes of information constantly developed and propagated; and the collaborative nature of the emerging technologies.
Dieterle,Dede & Schrier describes the following:
1. Fluency in multiple media, valuing each for the types of communication, activities, experiences, and expressions it empowers.
2. Learning based on collectively, seeking, sieving, and synthesizing experiences rather than individually locating and absorbing information from a single best source.
3. Active learning based on both real and simulated experiences that includes frequent opportunities for reflection


Strategy 1:
Use the tools that they use to teach the knowledge you wish to impart then they will connect and learn the tools that you wish to teach

Learning theory: First Connectivism , followed by behaviourism then constructivism with online blended learning

It would seem that today Education faces an equally frustrating challenge of overlaying new opportunities on top of limitations that no longer exist. Physical classrooms and campuses are designed with the assumption of a central instructor or teacher “powering” the learning experience. The previous limitations of geography still influence teaching and learning today. While it is no longer necessary to require a one instructor to 30 (or sometimes many more) students relationship, the design of classrooms and university continues to perpetuate this model.

Ongoing development of communication technologies (email, Skype, instant messaging) and digitization of curricular resources creates new opportunities for learners. Learning can now be increasingly “autonomous and self‐directed” (Annand, 2007, 2). Rather shifting control of the parameters of conversation and access to learning materials from educator to learner would influence the roles of each.


Siemens states that , Networks have altered much of society, enabling access to content, experts, and global connections with fellow learners. While expectations rise of education’s central role in preparing learners capable of innovating society’s capacity to compete on a global scale, uncertainties exist. Before education can lead in meeting challenges requested by society, it must first rethink and reconsider its view of learning and knowledge, as well as its approach to teaching.

When knowledge is seen as existing in networks, and learning as forming and navigating these networks, many existing aspects of academia are subject to change. First, teachers interact with learners and content in a different manner. The internet has caused a power shift in classrooms, as learners now have greater access information, experts, and peer learners. Secondly, instructional designers, due to the developing complexity of tools and availability of open education resources, play an educational role of directing educators to tools and resources. These two foundational changes, while presented here as a conceptual discussion and in need of additional experimentation and evaluation, may serve as levers for broader changes within the academy.(Siemens, 2008)


Dede, C. (2005). Planning for neomillennial learning styles. Educause Quarterly, 28 (1). Retrieved January 10, 2008, from

Downes, S. (2006). Learning networks and connective knowledge. Retrieved January 10, 2008, from

Conole, G., de Laat, M., Dillon, T., & Darby, J. (2006). Student experiences of technologies. Retrieved January 10, 2008, from

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for a digital age. International Journal of
Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1). Retrieved January 10, 2008, from
Siemens, G. (2007). Networks, ecologies, and curatorial teaching. Retrieved January 10, 2008, from


ASCILITE Auckland 2009

Social Network Learning Theory in Action

Collaboration is not a 21st century skill it is a 21st century essential

Collaboration is part of tertiary education. The ability to collaborate is a skill employers value. Students spend much of their time collaborating and communicating. They are developing fluency in a variety of media; instant messaging, txt with cell phones, chat in embedded chatrooms on their facebook or bebo pages, twittering and working collaboratively on google documents; students constantly collaborate.
In the UNESCO report “The four pillars of Education, Learning: The Treasure within” Collaboration and communication are identified within each of the four pillars.

    • Learning to know
    • Learning to do
    • Learning to live together
    • Learning to be

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Ian Jukes, David Warlick, Marc Prensky and many other 21st Century Educationalists emphasise the importance of collaboration.
The question of equitable work contribution is raised as a reason not to do collaborative projects or assessment purposes. However self and peer assessment can overcome issues around this. Interestingly, students are brutally honest in their appraisal of their own performance and that of their peers.

Visit E Learning Strategies A-Z

More Resources:
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**Jukes - Understanding Digital Kids.pdf**
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**Developing Pedagogic Skills for the Use of the Interactive Whiteboard in Mathematics.pdf**