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).
(Created on piktochart.com)
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” https://altc.alt.ac.uk/blog/2014/07/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: http://www.socialnomics.net/2013/03/11/how-can-social-media-be-used-in-education/