How Social are Social Media Technologies ?

This study investigated how 20 university students described their collective and individual learning experiences using social media technologies (SMTs). Data consisted of transcribed focus group discussions, which were analysed for students’ use of first person singular and plural pronouns as well as for the kinds of verbs they used to describe their learning. Findings indicate that none of the participants used first person plural pronouns more frequently than first person singular pronouns to describe their learning experiences. Students also used possessive, stative and passive verbs in addition to verbs denoting more traditional learning behaviours associated with cognitive, psychomotor, affective and conative activities when discussing their learning. We conclude that, although evidence of a clearly definable ‘collective intelligence’ was lacking, co-occurrences of both group-oriented and self-oriented utterances were evident. Students’ use of verb types highlighted issues of ownership, identity and control as additional features of their SMT enabled learning experiences.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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