Bridging the Gap Between Social Networks and Education

Maycock, Keith and Meaney, Jonathan (2014) Bridging the Gap Between Social Networks and Education. In: The 15th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA). May 29th and 30th, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.


It is well documented that the traditional approach of lecturing in third level institutions does not suit each learner. The misconception of lecturing while presupposing domain expertise is a very inefficient strategy to build domain competence, especially when the cognitive ability and pedagogical preference of each individual within a lecture hall cannot be catered for during a typical lecturing experience. This paper is involved with bridging the gap between social networking trends and education. The paper introduces a novel social collaborative learning environment, called TwoBrains. TwoBrains enables the learner to become self directed and instantiate new communities of learners. The environment is delivered through a social network environment which provides learners with typical social networking functionality, such as creating profiles, discussion forums, adding friends ...etc. In addition to providing traditional social networking functionality, TwoBrains also offers intelligent functionality which yields new learning objects to the learner, for example TwoBrains contains functionality to automatically summarise students notes and recommend suitable external content. This paper is involved with evaluating the effectiveness of TwoBrains, as a social collaborative learning environment for first year computer architecture students, to determine the effectiveness of the application in enhancing the learning experience of each student. In addition, the paper investigates the potential for TwoBrains to automatically create suitable groups based on the cognitive ability, pedagogic preference and location of each student.

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