Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

A Case Study of Instructor Scaffolding Using Web 2.0 Tools to Teach Social Informatics

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

A Case Study of Instructor Scaffolding Using Web 2.0 Tools to Teach Social Informatics

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

The rising popularity of social media tools, such as Weblogs, wikis, Twitter, is the result of the qualities that characterise Web 2.0 software. Such digital tools are user-friendly, personalisable and allow for content creation and modification. In addition, they can be 'meeting places' for socialisation, sharing and collaboration. It is predictable then that using Web 2.0 tools to facilitate the learning process is encouraged in the educational literature (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007). In this networked age, the transmissive model of teaching is being replaced with constructivist, e-learning approaches, while the need to make the curriculum more relevant and engaging is imperative (Tapscott, 2009). This changing landscape has been referred to as 'Pedagogy 2.0' and 'learning 2.0' (Lee & McLoughlin, 2010; Downes, 2005) and signals greater use of the affordances of social media to enable connectivity, communication, participation, and networked communities of learning.

For many decades, mechanical knowledge transmission models of teaching and learning have been at odds with participatory and interactive education. Currently, the affordances of Web 2.0--sharing, collaboration, and communication, have given rise to a number of alternative paradigms of learning e.g. personal learning environments (Atwell, 2007) and heutagogy, both of which focus on students as self-motivated, independent learners (Conole & Oliver, 2007; Phelps, Hase, & Ellis, 2005). Theories such as connectivism (Siemens, 2005) help us understand learning as making connections with ideas, facts, people and global communities. In many fields, the life of knowledge is now measured in months and years (Siemens, 2005, para. 2). Thus, pedagogical methods used for years and considered instructionally sound are becoming outdated as students and teachers adopt technological devices to teach and to learn. Although more formal forms of instruction and e-learning persist, many universities now integrate informal teaching strategies and flexible social media tools to accommodate students' desires for flexible study opportunities. In the context of this study, the rationale was to explore how best to support learners to social media into the learning process so that they could integrate Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis and Facebook in specific tasks relating to egovernment, digital citizenship, location of specialized information, data management and conducting research online. The research problem was to how determine the success of teacher pedagogy in developing students' skills in application of social media to understand key concepts in social informatics. The teaching and learning process had to extend beyond use of the technological tools by students to include pedagogical design for effective learning. In this context, the research focusses on evaluating the success of a scaffolded pedagogy to teach informatics concepts using social media such as micro-blogging, multimedia sharing, social bookmarking and collaborative content creation. This issue is of special importance as it is under researched, and further studies are needed to explore how Pedagogy 2.0 can be successfully implemented (Ravenscroft, 2009)

2. SOCIAL INFORMATICS AND GOALS OF EDUCATION

Social Informatics (SI) is an innovative, growing discipline, although few universities offer the subject as a stand-alone course. Social informatics started in the early 1970s, when there was a burgeoning of information technologies in all areas, along with studies on computerization and its consequences for society. While definitions of the term 'social informatics' may vary in different countries and across different contexts, the term is used in this article to denote that social informatics is an interdisciplinary field of study, bringing together insights from various disciplines: sociology, library and information science, education, computer science, economics, information systems and communications (Kling, Rosenbaum, & Sawyer, 2005). …

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