What is Social Media?

TUDO has developed an elaborate understanding of “web 2.0 – social media” that has been sharpened in different scientific discourses: We understand social media as internet applications that foster the production of “user-generated content” even by users with low ICT-skills. This definition regards the social media more as a “social innovation” than a technological one. The social innovation – in the understanding of Howaldt/Schwarz (SocialInnovation: Concepts, Research Fields and International Trends, 2010) – is seen in the support of user generated content – as a paradigm that can change the way people in the knowledge society communicate, work and learn.

Examples for such applications are wikis, blogs, communities (like facebook or youtube) and mobile services (such as twitter). They define themselves by easy usage, because they aim at a very broad audience required to produce the content. Even people with low ICT-skills should be able to generate content(see Rissola: “Suturing the digital gash”, 2005). Social media applications are linking the production of content with different communication tools that support content oriented cooperation and communication. They can have an activating effect on the users (see OECD: “Participative Web”,2010). These applications bear great potential for teaching purposes that place the learner in the centre of the teaching process (student-driven learning) and enable distance learning, for example, via mobile phones.

From this background, the specific added pedagogical potentials of social media can be seen as an excellent support of student-driven learning.

But while the pedagogical potentials of ICT (in general, not social media specifically) are widely explored and social media-applications are already integrated in teaching and learning at universities, they are not available at a practical layer for school teachers. There is a gap between usage of social media at universities and schools. The usage of social media for teaching/learning purposes at secondary II level has not spread yet. This is due to a lack of pedagogical concepts and curricula for the concrete use within schools. Up to now teachers have little possibility to employ the potentials of user-generated content for pedagogical approaches. The curriculum created within Learn2Teach will mediate these competences.

Our proposal will build on the products and findings of the Comenius financed project TACCLE (BE-2012-168-001) that helps teachers to develop their own e-learning materials. Whilst TACCLE aims at e-learning in a broader sense (with sidelinks to social media), L2T will concentrate on the pedagogical potentials of the production of user generated content, its pedagogical backgrounds and the competences that are needed to motivate and facilitate the production of user generated content.

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