Use of Social Media by Students Explored at Seminar
UKZN’s Teaching and Learning Office (UTLO), in partnership with Dr Angela James of the School of Education, hosted a seminar which examined the use of social media by students.
The seminar was presented by the Head Researcher at Šiauliai University in Lithuania, Professor Vincentas Lamanauskas, who is Director of the Scientia Socialis and Chairman of the Scientific Methodical Centre Scientia Educologica.
Lamanauskas also serves as Editor-in-Chief of eight international journals, is a member of the editorial boards of 10 international journals, has presented numerous seminars and workshops, and has worked collaboratively with international colleagues on various topics and projects.
Social media dominates the technology landscape with most, if not all, students engaging on the plethora of social media platforms available. These platforms, while aimed at connecting individuals, presented immense potential for teaching and learning in Higher Education.
During the seminar, Lamanauskas explored the use of social media by students, and the perspectives of academics on the use of social media for teaching.
Based on these results, he outlined imperatives for the effective use of social media in Higher Education, arguing that central to social media use in Higher Education was an understanding of the lifestyles of students, taking into account differing ICT literacy and contexts. He also discussed the possibility of academics and students perceiving social media to be an intrusion of their personal space.
He spoke about challenges academics faced in using the medium saying that on social media platforms, information was transmitted in short snippets which students had become accustomed to. This posed challenges in presenting academic content to students, which now required a shift in pedagogic approaches.
Lamanauskas also reflected on the influence of social media on academic writing and critical thought, highlighting the significance of guiding students to transform from passive consumers into critical engagers on social media through discussions and augmented reality. He recommended that specific guidelines be communicated to students within social media learning spaces.
‘I really enjoyed presenting the workshop, and more so the questions and collaboration,’ he said. ‘I am glad that the academics are interested and willing to engage around social media.’
A video recording of the seminar will be available soon on the Teaching & Learning TV, YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/utlotv Subscribers will be notified as videos are uploaded.