Learning uses within education

Educators and advocates of new digital literacies are confident that social networking encourages the development of transferable, technical, and social skills of value in formal and informal learning.[48] In a formal learning environment, goals or objectives are determined by an outside department or agency. Tweeting, instant messaging, or blogging enhances student involvement. Students who would not normally participate in class are more apt to partake through social network services. Networking allows participants the opportunity for just-in-time learning and higher levels of engagement.[49] The use of SNSs allow educators to enhance the prescribed curriculum. When learning experiences are infused into a website, students utilize everyday for fun, students realize that learning can and should be a part of everyday life. It does not have to be separate and unattached.[50] Informal learning consists of the learner setting the goals and objectives. It has been claimed that media no longer just influence our culture. They are our culture.[51] With such a high number of users between the ages of 13-18, a number of skills are developed. Participants hone technical skills in choosing to navigate through social networking services. This includes elementary items such as sending an instant message or updating a status. The development of new media skills are paramount in helping youth navigate the digital world with confidence. Social networking services foster learning through what Jenkins (2006) describes as a "Participatory Culture."[52] A participatory culture consists of a space that allows engagement, sharing, mentoring, and an opportunity for social interaction. Participants of social network services avail of this opportunity. Informal learning, in the forms of participatory and social learning online, is an excellent tool for teachers to snea in material and ideas that students will identify with and therefore, in a secondary manner, students will learn skills that would normally be taught in a formal setting in the more interesting and engaging environment of social learning.[53] Sites like Twitter provide students with the opportunity to converse and collaborate with others in real time. Social networking services provide a virtual “space” for learners. James Gee (2004) suggests that affinity spaces instantiate participation, collaboration, distribution, and dispersion of expertise, and relatedness.[54] Registered users share and search for knowledge which contributes to informal learning. Digital literacy is the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies. It requires one "to recognize and use that power, to manipulate and transform digital media, to distribute pervasively, and to easily adapt them to new forms". Digital literacy does not replace traditional forms of literacy, it builds upon the foundation of traditional forms of literacy. Digital literacy is the marrying of the two terms digital and literacy, however, it is much more than a combination of the two terms. Digital information is a symbolic representation of data, and literacy refers to the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently, and think critically about the written word. Research around digital literacy is concerned with wider aspects associated with learning how to effectively find, use, summarize, evaluate, create, and communicate information while using digital technologies; not just being literate at using a computer. Digital literacy encompasses all digital devices, such as computer hardware, software, the Internet, and cell phones. A person using these skills to interact with society may be called a digital citizen.