Social networks and education

The advent of social networking platforms may also be impacting the way(s) in which learners engage with technology in general. For a number of years, Prensky's (2001) dichotomy between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants has been considered a relatively accurate representation of the ease with which people of a certain age range—in particular those born before and after 1980—use technology. Prensky's theory has been largely disproved, however, and not least on account of the burgeoning popularity of social networking sites and other metaphors such as White and Le Cornu's "Visitors" and "Residents" (2011) are greater currency. The use of online social networks by school libraries is also increasingly prevalent and they are being used to communicate with potential library users, as well as extending the services provided by individual school libraries. Social networks and their educational uses are of interest to many researchers. According to Livingstone and Brake (2010), “Social networking sites, like much else on the internet, represent a moving target for researchers and policy makers.”[38] Recent trends indicate that 47% of American adults use a social network.[39] A national survey in 2009 found that 73% of online teenagers use SNS, which is an increase from 55% three years earlier. (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010)[40] Recent studies have shown that social network services provide opportunities within professional education, curriculum education, and learning. However, there are constraints in this area. A digital native is a person who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technologies and through interacting with digital technology from an early age, has a greater underst

nding of its concepts. Alternatively, this term can describe people born during or after the latter 1960s, as the Digital Age began at that time; but in most cases, the term focuses on people who grew up with the technology that became prevalent in the latter part of the 20th century and continues to evolve today. Other discourse identifies a digital native as a person who understands the value of digital technology and uses this to seek out opportunities for implementing it with a view to make an impact. This term has been used in several different contexts, such as education (Bennett, Maton & Kervin 2008), higher education (Jones & Shao 2011) and in association with the term New Millennium Learners (OECD 2008). A digital immigrant is an individual who was born before the existence of digital technology and adopted it to some extent later in life. A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on facilitating the building of social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections. A social network service consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web-based and provide means for users to interact over the Internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Online community services are sometimes considered as a social network service, though in a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-centered service whereas online community services are group-centered. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks.