TOPIC 4: The importance of authenticy of voice in using social media for education

Social media has only recently been adopted in education, with supporters promoting their use as part of connectivist learning (Friesen and Lowe, 2012). The PowToon I have created below helps to explain the role of the most popular forms of social media in education.

Obviously however, social media was not initially built to facilitate use in the classroom and because of this it poses a number of ethical issues for educators (Henderson, Auld and Johnson,2014). The most significant for me is authenticity of voice. In my opinion it paves the way to potentially many more ethical issues, which I have demonstrated in the poster  below (Click on the link for larger image).

pikto 3

(Created on

In topic 3 I reflected on how, many people now knowingly or unknowingly have different identities online to offline. This is not unknown but it is often underestimated and has the potential for ethical dangers. Especially in education, authenticity of voice is crucial to trusting the information and therefore learning. Many people, including educators and learners adapt their identity on social media to give themselves a more fitting profile to the role they are portraying. The educators themselves may portray false claims of knowledge but the learners may do the same if they are learning collaboratively, through each other. It is very easy to do this on social media, especially on those designed to mediate interactions with people, such as twitter. Secondly, it also gives people anonymous security that allows them to behave in a way that is not respectful or even lawful towards others..

Where are the particular dangers?

By creating a less authentic voice you have the potential to breach other ethical barriers as demonstrated in the poster. Where this is particularly important is in education in under 18’s where there is particular concern for cyberstalking. This is likely why currently not many educators are using it here, although a recent article by the BBC showed that three quarters of children aged 10-12 had social media accounts so there is a right to be concerned about the potential dangers. And also there are dangers for those who are new to social media, who set up it just for educational purposes- they need to be correctly informed of the risks (Fire et al. 2014).

However it’s not to say social media shouldn’t be used in education. Certainly, this module  has proved to me that using social media is an effective, innovative learning technique but it has also made me more aware of authenticity of voice; it is very easy to create false information and therefore it is very easy to take this information away as true, which as highlighted in the poster can lead to many ethical dangers.


Fire, M., Goldschmidt, R., & Elovici, Y. (2014). Online Social Networks: Threats and Solutions. IEEE Commun. Surv. Tutorials, 16(4), 2019-2036.

Friesen, N. and Lowe, S., 2012. The questionable promise of social media for education: Connective learning and the commercial imperative. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(3), pp.183-194.

Henderson, M., Auld, G. and Johnson, N.F., 2014. Ethics of teaching with social media. In ACEC2014. Now It’s Personal. Innovating Education (Trudy Sweeney 30 September-3 October 2014) (pp. 221-227). Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE).

Mackinnon, T. ( 2014)‘Social media in education: ethical concerns” [Accessed 19/4/16]

Wankel, C., 2009. Management education using social media. Organization Management Journal, 6(4), pp.251-262.

Header image retrieved from:




10 thoughts on “TOPIC 4: The importance of authenticy of voice in using social media for education

  1. Hi,

    I love your post. Social media in education is a very debatable topic. I think age is a large factor! In universities with students over the age of 18 I agree there are certainly less concerns. This module (as you say) is a great example of how social media can facilitate education, along with providing more real world skills. However, children in primary and secondary schools certainly need a lot more safe guarding. Even teachers/ educators need some systems in place to protect their privacy from students. With social media becoming more important in the modern world for collaborations and finding employment, I do feel it is important that students are taught how to correctly conduct themselves in these domains. Perhaps a social media site exclusively for educational use should be created? Similar to university’s Blackboard but designed more specifically for younger users. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea.

    Haley xoxo


  2. Hi Haley, thanks for your comment! I definitely agree with what you are saying and I particularly liked your point about teachers/educators perhaps needing to protect their privacy, I think this is often undervalued but is actually very important. In regards to a social media site exclusively for educational use, I think that is a great idea. I was always a fan of BBC bitesize, perhaps implementing discussion boards onto there or a comments sections would be the next step.


  3. Hi abby ,
    I like how you concluded that social media can be important to education but I was just wondering if you thought this was only true for the older age group. I know this module has been extremely helpful for us and I enjoy some lecturers who allow us to tweet in questions but do you think children age 12 would be able to concentrate using the same methods. I know in my school all social media was blocked to prevent us from using it in lessons and not focusing on our work. How would you suggest they teach about social media in schools? Should it be something only the students are taught or do you think teachers need to be warned about what they say online too? I know you briefly touched on cyber bullying I was wondering if you felt like the high school age group was the one most affected? And if this is was the main one to be targeted?
    Overall such an interesting read x


  4. Hi Hannah, thanks for your comment!
    I think it is important to all age groups but at the moment it has only really been implemented in older age groups because people are worried about the ethical dangers that it can represent, plus it is much easier to implement in older age groups because these people are more likely to already have social media accounts. I liked what Haley said in her comment (see above) perhaps a special website is needed for social media education for younger people, I suggested implementing it into already popular websites such as BBC bitesize. This way it can be monitored and therefore it is more safe. In regards to age, I’d say secondary school age would be most appropriate as this is when people have more likely got social media. But that say, i do think high school age is the group most affected by cyberbullying, although this is probably because this is when people are most active on social media but the most unaware of the dangers.


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