The Writing Is on My Wall: Engagement and LearNING through Social Networking

By Janette Michelle Hughes, Stephanie Thompson and Anne Michelle Burke.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper, we chronicle our experiences using a social networking site (Ning) to engage and promote collaboration between a class of grade 7 and 8 students, preservice teachers at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and graduate students at memorial University in Newfoundland. As part of a digital media project exploring the effects of the media on adolescents, students engaged in discussions about literature and the issues that relate to their reading while interacting on the site with one another, with preservice teachers and with graduate students. We focus specifically on the activities involved in this project, the challenges and benefits of using a Ning, and Ning’s pedagogical potential for collaborative knowledge construction, and the creation of a community of practice, which fosters social presence, multimodal communication, and student engagement in learning.

Keywords: Digital Literacy, Social Networking, Multimodality, Community of Practice, Social Presence

International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.107-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 504.162KB).

Dr. Janette Michelle Hughes

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Janette Hughes is an associate professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, where she teaches in the Initial Teacher Education and Graduate Programs. Her research is in the areas of new literacies and multimodal literacies, and she has a particular interest in digital literacies and learning with mobile devices. She has published her research widely in Canada, and internationally, and she has presented her work at conferences across Canada, and in the U.S., Europe, China, Israel, Brazil and in the U.K. She is the 2011 recipient of a Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researchers Award.

Stephanie Thompson

Graduate Student, Faculty of Education, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Stephanie Thompson teaches grades 7 and 8 students in the Durham District School Board in Ontario, Canada. She is currently completing her M.A. in Education in Digital Technologies at UOIT and is exploring the use of social networking systems and mobile devices, such as tablets, as learning tools for literacy. She is the recipient of the International Reading Association Technology in Reading Award for 2013.

Dr. Anne Michelle Burke

Associate Professor, Department of Education, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Anne Burke is an associate professor of literacy education and early learning at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland. As a Canadian classroom-based researcher, her work is in the areas of digital reading practices, assessment of new literacies and multimodal literacies, with a particular focus on the digital play worlds of young children. She has published widely in books and international journals. Her research has been disseminated at conferences in Canada, the U.S, Europe and in the UK. She is a Canadian SSHRC research grant recipient.