Social Media & Learning in the Digital Age

Greenhow, K. (2011) Youth, learning and social media. J. Educational Computing Research. Vol. 45 pp. 139 – 146.

This article discusses how 21st century learners in the digital age are experiencing a paradigm shift in learning acquisition. Prior to the popularity of the internet, computers and mobile devices, students primarily learned in traditional brick and mortar classroom settings. However, many current learners are immersed in digital technology and are much more technologically savvy than their predecessors. Digital learning has provided more robust and flexible learning options that should be leveraged by educators, students and stakeholders to maximize learning in the digital age. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are becoming prevalent technological mediums to engage students in learning and networking with other learners with similar interests. Educational researchers must address these modes of learning to discover the best pedagogical strategies for implementing them into instruction. Social media can be especially beneficial in the domains of reading and language arts sense it provides students with a platform for discussion forums, analysis of different perspectives and cyclical learning. 21st century learners also have an abundance of visuals and video in social media to assist in reading comprehension.

Social media learning is multifaceted and should be researched accordingly to benefit learners. Greenhow synthesized various social media and learning articles in the following quote. “The articles have linked these practices to cognitive, psychological, and social factors of adolescent development that educational researchers, educators, parents, and administrators presumably care about, such as learners’ development of self-identity, self-confidence, reading, writing, civic engagement, and social capital.” (Greenhow, J., 2011, p. 144) All of these factors should be taken into consideration with new digital paradigm shifts and technological pedagogical techniques.

This article is pertinent to the field of educational technology research. It highlights useful social media learning strategies that should be leveraged in the field of education. It is important for educational researchers to build on these strategies to broaden pedagogical strategies for learners.

As an educator, I believe that it is pertinent to leverage the learning acquisition that can occur through social media. I am interested in researching more best technological pedagogical strategies that can be incorporated into learning to promote engagement and higher levels of cognition for learners.

Related Article: Greenhow, C., Hughes, J. E., & Robelia, B. (2009) Learning, teaching and scholarship in the digital age: Web 2.0 and classroom research: What path should we take now? Educational Researcher Vol. 38 pp. 246 – 259.