How can Social Networks be relevant for language classroom interaction?
What are the learner and teacher’s attitudes toward Social networks for language learning?
Research Paper (undergraduate) 2017 75 Pages
List of abbreviations
L/Ls – Learner/learners
LCI – Language Classroom Interaction
SLA – Second Language Acquisition
SNS – Social Network Sites
T – Teacher
UP – Universidade Pedagógica
Just as the Internet has changed the way people interact, in the Digital or Information Age, it can also affect how Language Classroom Interaction occurs. Through the use of Social Network Sites, Language Classroom Interaction is no longer limited in Pedagogical methods. Social Network Sites allow users to exchange and share content and thoughts. Additionally, it allows users to participate in online conversations or discussions (pair or group). Not less important, it allows individual to interact with an extensive range of people, creating good social communication skills, as well as developing language skills.
Taking into consideration that Social Network Sites are used by a large number of youngest, the platform can be taken as an authentic and reliable resource for Language Classroom Interaction. Moreover, considering the applicability of Social Network Sites platforms to promote Language Classroom Interaction, it is possible to think on new ways of having learners interacting intensively in the classroom and consequently having them acquiring the language.
Therefore, this paper gives a brief overview of Social Network Sites and Language Classroom Interaction, by looking at the tools in Social Network Sites that can enhance Language Classroom Interaction. Moreover, by identifying the tools available in Social Network Sites to enhance Language Classroom Interaction; new ways of engaging students in classroom interaction are innovated and developed. For instance, the student exposure into real life language in use is increased what can easily foster language acquisition.
This work is dived in four chapters; description of the research as the first chapter. The second chapter is literature, which is comprised by two parts. The first part presents a brief background on Social Network Sites; history, development and its use. The last part sets an overview on Social Network Sites and language classroom interaction, whereby some considerations are taken to understand the use of Social Network Sites for Language Classroom Interaction.
The third chapter covers the findings: presenting and analyzing the data collected for the research. For instance, where used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The fourth and last chapter contains some considerations, recommendations and conclusion drawn from the previous chapters developed in the work.
CHAPTER I: DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH
This chapters is the description of research; the statement of the problem, the aim and objectives, the rationale and limitation of the study.
Social Network, a platform/site facilitator for communication and social relations, plays a big role in language classroom interaction if used properly. However, teachers and learners access these sites; they do not explore the platforms to enhance language classroom interaction. What takes place; it is the exclusion of using the platforms for language learning purpose and limit language interaction to the classroom. That is the reason why, the level of language interaction is low, and consequently learners do not acquire the language.
Moreover, teachers limit language interaction in pedagogical methods, forgetting to exploit none pedagogical tools that are available in SNS, where interestingly learners feel comfortable, motivated and free to communicate and both learners and teachers access to the sites.
Thus, if teachers and learners have access to Social Network Sites and learners still not develop Language skills and have difficulties to interact in the classroom using the target language;
- Teachers and learners are not aware of the tools in Social Network Sites for Language Classroom Interaction;
- The learners do not use Social Network Sites platforms as a resource for Language learning;
·- Teachers do not take advantage of Social Network Sites to foster Language Classroom Interaction.
The study aims at suggesting the tools of Social Network Sites for Language Classroom Interaction.
Objective of study
The purposes of this study are:
- To demonstrate the relevance of Social Network Sites for Language Classroom Interaction.
- To identify the tools in Social Network Sites to foster Language Classroom Interaction.
- To describe the tools in Social Network Sites to foster Language Classroom Interaction.
- To show teachers and learners attitudes toward Social Network Sites and language learning.
The main research questions are the following:
- How can Social Networks be relevant for language classroom interaction?
- How can Social Networks tools be effective for language acquisition?
- What are the learner and teacher’s attitudes toward Social networks for language learning?
- How can teachers and students interact in class through Social Networks?
SNS use is in a very high rate; 2.22 billion people, corresponding to 31% of the world population are users1, especially among learners. This number, suggest that SNS are used at a great range in the world, considering that; these sites can be exploited to enhance language classroom interaction, nonetheless the users do not use the tools within it to learn a language.
So, being a big platform or source that can provide valuable tools to acquire a language and improve skills in language learning, especially English, SNS is a valuable device. This is a reason to research on this topic, supported by the idea that interaction is vital to language acquisition.
My own experience in language learning and social networks has motivated me to carry out this research. During my internship, in 2016, first semester, in a secondary school, I could realize that learners know the meaning of some words in English because they are familiar with them due using SNS (profile, change, account, service, payment, follow, etc.) and some because they have friends and families overseas, whereby SNS becomes the resource to communicate and have some experiences in English (lol -laughing out loud, R.I.P -rest in peace).
Nevertheless, the users are not aware of the tools in SNS and do not take advantage of this platform when concerning to language acquisition, because afterwards the learners limit themselves by; not watching videos that provide language learning, not having classroom/friends English group site and other experiences that provide language communication and skills development during and an interactive moment.
Furthermore, this scope will provide significant insight for learners, as well for teachers, in order to make them aware of the tools in SNS to foster language classroom interaction and that SNS can be used as a resource for language classroom interaction. This will grant that language acquisition can be associated with interaction and entertainment. Moreover, they will see that language classroom interaction is no longer limited in teacher and school. In addition, the results would serve as guide in planning others and future studies in all-encompassing, which would help learners and teachers to have other attitudes towards SNS, by using the tools that SNS provide.
Limitation of the study
This is a modest scope research where the finding could not be universal to a large population. It attempts at gathering a deep inspection of Social Network Sites and Language Classroom interaction. However, this study has few limitations. The findings may not be far-reaching, as the study limits itself in interviews, questionnaires and observations methods in collecting data in Social Network Sites.
CHAPTER II – SOCIAL NETWORK AND LANGUAGE CLASSROOM INTERACTION
This chapter exploits Social Network Sites and Language Classroom Interaction, especially the tools presented by SNS for LCI. This chapter is divided in two parts. The first part brings a brief literature on the scope of Social Network Sites, by providing: concepts of SNS, a short development of these platforms and a description of different types of SNS such as: profile-based and social connections sites, multi-media sharing and micro-blogging. In addition, a narrative table of representative SNS is presented. Furthermore, a brief view is taken in the matter of SNS users activities in the sites. At last but not least, different tools presented by these websites are identified: synchronous and asynchronous communicative tools.
Finally, the last part is about Social Network Sites and Language Classroom Interaction. To begin some concepts are recall on the area of Language Classroom Interaction, followed by the identification of different components of interaction, for instance: collaborative dialogue, negotiation and feedback and co-construction. In addition, it is presented the three different types of interaction: learner-learner, learner-content and learner-instructor interaction. Following, an overview on Teachers and learners (adolescents) attitudes toward SNS is reserved. To follow, tools provided by SNS for LCI are proposed plus successfully ways to use some platforms to promote language classroom interaction. Lastly, benefits of Social Network Sites in education are fixed and a summary of importance of using SNS for LCI is presented.
1. Social Networks
This part reviews literature on recent developments on SNS. In a start point the digital age is considered as the age of information, with the introduction of internet. Internet with a wide number of platforms, like SNS, has shifted the way people interact. Based on the innovations, those taking place on the new age, digital age; social networks sites are playing a preliminary role for people as they have shifted means of communication. Across the general view of changing the ways of communication, social networks present a varied collection of tools that can be used to promote language classroom interaction.
The tools are presented as a resource for language classroom interaction, if we take into account the activities that the users do in these sites, such as; interact, share and look for information, communicate, etc.
1.1. The digital age
Since the beginning of technological world, with the advent of internet, platforms of communications are ever-increasing for a better interaction between its users and the whole world. According to Rogers (1995:8) “technology is a design for instrumental action that reduces the uncertainty in the cause-effect relationships involved in achieving a desired outcome”.2 Technology is the extension of the human capability in order to satisfy our needs or wants3. Additional Rogers (1995:9) says that technology usually has two components: “(1) a hardware aspect, consisting of the tool that embodies the technology as material or physical objects, and (2) a software aspect, consisting of the information base for the tool.”
It is important to mention that because of these tools presented by technology, it has “fundamentally shifted the way humans communicate with each other and their environment” as concluded by Mishna (quoted in Berzin et. al. 2015:5). As the world becomes progressively more dependent on technology to transmit information and interact, in an essence to communicate, the 21st century is basically called the information age because of this wide world of contact and relation due to the easy socialization created by media platforms provided in the current century by technology, (Rogers 1995).
Most scientific authors consider the information age as the stage of innovation due to the network diffusion. For example, Kincsei (2007) considers networks diffusion as the dissemination of innovations, of technologies too, that takes place within Social Network Sites. Additionally, Kincsei (2007:6) affirms that, innovation, in this stage of globalization and socialization, is believed as the “key of society information” (society information is basically considered as communication by Rogers (1983:16), in his definition of innovation dispersal: diffusion is “the process, by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system”. A social system is defined by Rogers (1995) as a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal.
Moreover, Rogers (1995) considers Innovation as an especial type of communication that takes the advent of technology, especially social media channels, to increase information and connect people. Additionally, Alberts & Papp (1997:2) state that these channels are based on the widespread proliferation of emerging information and communication technologies and the “capabilities that those technologies provide and will provide humankind to overcome the barriers imposed on communications by time, distance, and location and the limits and constraints inherent in human capacities to process information and make decisions”.
In addition, the information age has a strong correlation with intermediate to highly skilled people and it offers significant models of communication exploiting technology overcoming impediments for communication. For Rogers (1995), communication is a process in which participants create and share information with one another in order to reach a mutual understanding.
In its etymological meaning, innovation is the act of introducing, adapting, producing or adding something new. Basically innovation means changes. Considering that, Alberts & Papp (1997) reflect on information age as the period of complexity and change. Complexity, defined by Rogers (1995) is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as difficult to understand and use. Nevertheless, according to Castells (1999:2) “information technology is not the cause of the changes we are living through”. Though, without new information and communication technologies none of changes would be possible. That is because technology provides information in a large extent and it has the power to change minds and connect them to promote innovations through communication tools, then it does not control how the “innovation” as such is perceived and used when communicated.
Furthermore, Stewart (quoted in Alberts & Papp, 1997: 2) concluded that the Information Age is placing a premium on “the ability to adjust and learn”. It should be noted that the ability of individuals to adapt depends on the cohesion of these networks, Kincsei (2005). For instance, the diffusion of information and communication technology is extremely uneven as argued by Castells (1999) because of these two characteristics, complexity and change, of the information age. Undoubtedly, the processes of information production take place in the minds of individuals naturally; making the information not controlled. It is not certain that the person perceives, understands and transmits the information adequately as produced. However, individuals use this advent of not “knowing” to adjust, by improving or changing when needed and learn, becoming informed and aware of the new information.
Moreover, Rogers (1995:8) defines “innovation as an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption”. So, innovation does not consist only on complexity and changing; it has to do also with adoption and rejection as pointed by Rogers (1995). Adoption is a decision to make full use of an innovation as the best course of action available and rejection is a decision not to adopt an innovation, Rogers (1995). This means that, the individuals that adapt, add or produce something new must adopt or reject other individuals change so that the process of receive and produce follows the role of communication that is to inform adequately and connect people for a certain purpose and have them interacting and creating social relations, rather than to disconnect users when none makes a decision.
Considering the potential of technology, particularly in the digital age, human interaction and information share is immeasurable, as tools, especially social networks are increasing more and more; because when more innovations are presented to a human mind, more innovation are required too in order to adequate the new information. This natural rotation of learn to adjust and adjust to learn will make what we call human dependence on technology.
1.2. Social Network Sites
Today with the attendance of technology and with the advent of internet; tools for communication and interaction are accessible in Social Network Sites. As Matthews eatl. (2000) consider that social implies two-way interaction, so included in “sociaml edia is any medium of communication that allows interaction and network a set of relationships” as argued by Kadushin (2004:6). Therefore, Wasserman & Faust (quoted in Katz eat l 2004:308) say that, SNS consist of a set of actors (“nodes”) and the relations (“ties” or “edges”) between these actors. Aggarwal (2011:6) adds more saying that a “social network is a network of interactions or relationships”; where the nodes consist of actors, and the edges consist of the relationships or interactions between these actors.
In essence SNS represent one feature of social media, which has an extent purpose of; creating and transmitting information to others, interact and create relations with others, basically to have people communicating easily.
In the view that SNS is a platform or site facilitator for communication, interaction and social relations; Aggarwal (2011) states that SNS is more about the tools used to make that content available to others and to allow users to connect, engage with it, and to build communities. Considering the definition of McBride (2009), Social-networking sites (SNSs) are websites built to allow people to express themselves and to interact socially with others; Social network refers to an outsized services tools and practices. Therefore, Social networking services can be broadly defined as “Internet based social spaces designed to facilitate communication, interaction and collaboration and content sharing across networks of contacts.”4
Hence, since Social Network Services allow users to manage, build and represent their social networks online and the services usually (but not always) include other individuals; they might also include the profiles of events, companies, even political parties. They may let you add anyone in the network as your friend or contact, or they might ask both parties to agree all connections.5 In addition, Coyle & Vaughn (quoted in Flad, 2010:8) state that SNS has become an activity that is done primarily on the Internet, with sites like Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Friendster, and YouTube.
Moreover, it is important to understand that an online social network can be defined much more generally than an online site such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn which are formally advertised as social networking sites proposed Aggarwal (2011). Aggarwal (2011:4) adds more stating that, anyweb-siteoar pplicationwhichprovidesasociaelxperienceintheformouf ser- interactions can be considered to be a form of social network: for example, media-sharing sites such as Flickr, YouTube, or Instagram are formally not considered social networks; yet they allow for social interactions in the context of information exchange about the content being shared.
Furthermore, Aggarwal (2011:4) states that sites which are used for sharing online media content, such as Flickr, YouTube or Instagram, can also be considered indirect forms of social networks, because they allow an extensive level of user interaction. Therefore, Boyd & Ellison (2007: 1) concluded that, SNS may be defined as: Web-based services that allow individuals to “(1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system”.
Conceivably, there is no single definition of social networks. Bank (2014) clarifies it, saying that there is more of a kind of description what is the process of social media by underlying the interaction among people in which they are creating, sharing, exchanging, modifying their ideas in virtual communities or networks: supported by the idea that “Social Media is a group of Internet based applications that build on the ideological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content”, (Kaplan & Haenlein quoted in Bank, 2014:1186).
Furthermore, the idea of SNS is to have society communicating, building relationships and interacting. In these cases, the interaction is centered on a specific service such as content sharing; yet many fundamental principles of social networking apply as confirmed by Aggarwal (2011).
1.2.2. History of Social Networks
Social networks are not new at all, Coyle & Vaugh (quoted in Flad, 2010:8) say that the idea of “Social Networking” has existed for several decades as a way for people to communicate in society and build up relationships. According to Smith eat l. (2010:6) although, building on technologies that surfaced in the 1970’s and 1980’s, “social networks emerged in the late years of the 20th century”. Furthermore, Peter & Valkenburg (2009) states that online communication technologies were introduced to the public in forms such as email and chat rooms, in the early 1990’s.
Many authors considered that the highest social networks penetration in the world rate in the digital age. It is with the advent of the 21st century, the information age, that the explosion of SN took place. Impressive growth of SN tendency was recorded when Facebook was launched, in February 2004. Facebook is considered as the largest network across the globe. Before the historical diffusion of SNS, with Facebook launch, there were launched other SNS platforms. According to Boyd & Ellison (2007), the first recognizable SNS launched is SixDegrees.com, in 1997. It allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and, beginning in 1998, surf the Friends lists, Boyd & Ellison (2007).
Preceding this historical diffusion of Facebook, SNSs like: AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet, MiGente, LiveJournal and Friendster were launched and re-launched. This process of adding features and innovating the platforms, supplied as an advantage for the development of Facebook, as well as for the progress of the large number of SNSs used actually, such as: Twitter, Skype, E-mail, YouTube and Flicker. In the beginning of 2005, as pointed by Boyd & Ellison (2007), with the large attendance of SNS platforms, SNS became a global phenomenon. In addition, SNS have changed the way people interact and communicate. Furthermore, these Web platforms provide tools, with open services, that facilitate the interaction, information sharing and online communication.
Moreover, in the digital age, with the advent of internet, people are becoming more and more dependent of SNS to interact and create social relations in addition to communication. This dependence is due to the tools that SNS provide that allow users to have social relations easily without any kind of constrains or fears created when comes to a direct interaction and social relations with the society.
1.2.3. Types of Social Networks
Types of Social Networks can vary according to different functions and objectives of such site. However, it’s important to say that there are SNS that combine some functions, so they can be accommodated in different categories. Researchers on the scope, types of SNS, divide SNS in 3-7 different types. The list below is a combination of these groups of SNS.
18.104.22.168. Profile-based and social connections sites
Profile-based SN are primarily organised around members' profile pages – pages which primarily consist of information about an individual user – including their interests, pictures, likes and dislikes. Facebook, Gmail, Bebo, and MySpace, are all good examples of this.6 This category of SN is the most used; here people create personal profile, add friends and each user develop the own space, being able to share: feelings, information, pictures, send messages to the circle of friends and see others profiles and updated content. It is important to mention that in this type of SN users develop social relations as they are able to tag other users (subsequently they can have the focus people that are asked to see the new information, those that can find the content easily). Additional, here users are able to comment on others information and build social connections online.
22.214.171.124. Multimedia Sharing
Multimedia sharing is a Social Networking Services that allows users to upload and share various media such as pictures and video content online easily. The most popular are YouTube and Flickr. In this type of SNS users are not asked to create a profile to use the sites, but they can share the content in profile-based and social connection sites.
Micro-blogging is a broadcast system that exists in a form of blogging. A micro-blog is different from the traditional blog due to; its content is typically smaller in both actual and collective file size.Micro-blogs “allow users to exchange undersized content elements such as short sentences, video links, or individual images”7. Micro-blog sites users publish short (200 characters maximum) messages within contact groups.
In addition, SNS engage users in constantly updated conversation and contact with their online networks. Basically, these types of SNS are based on short updates those just allow subscribed users to receive the content. The most popular sites are: Twitter and Tumblr.com.
1.2.4. Representative Social Networks Sites
From the types of SN presented, the following list presents the representative sites of social networks used all over the world. Apart of the name, we have a description of the site and the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of it accesses.
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Table1: Representative Social Network Sites
1.2.5. What do people do in Social Network Sites?
By looking at the listed table previously presented, it is impossible to have an imagination on what users of these sites do in SNS. The following list of action of users in SNS is not complete as those sites provide a wide variety of activities, but this has taken into account the topic presented on the paper to select the activities.
- Contenvt iewingorinformationfindingandinformationuploading - people use social networks to find information as well as update the information;
- Connectingwithpeoplaen developingfriendships - social networks provides users tools to create social relations and to be connected with other people all over the world. By creating and customizing profiles, users allows others to know personal issues that open a door for friendships developments;
- Postingmessage – some social networks platforms provide users with a wall for instant message, allowing the users to have a private communication with friends.
- Collaborativeservices – being a social networks user, it is considered as requirement collaboration with others; since a unique user cannot make full use of the tools presented by the social networks, because even the information is updated for someone else.
- Interact – although interaction in social networks at first is presented as an entertainment issue, these sites also allows users to interact for academic issues, by providing reliable material for language use.
These activities are in general online communicative features presented by different SNS platforms. These tools allow users to interact in an extensive manner, what will contribute to the language acquisition; in the view of SNS tools can foster language classroom interaction if these tools are used properly by languages teachers and learners. Thus, if these activities are complemented by language content, learners are luckily to acquire the language.
1.2.6. Tools in Social Network Sites
Considering the features presented by SNS, in education, two different types of communicative tools of Social Network Sites are proposed: synchronous and asynchronous. Furthermore, Mick and other researchers state that the two communicative modalities are usually combined to integrate the needs of both learners and teacher.
126.96.36.199. Synchronous tools
Social Network Sites platforms with features that allow real time communication, such as Twitter and Facebook present Synchronous tools. Ashley (quoted in Sthhirak, 2013:2) defines synchronous tool as a device which “enables real-time communication and collaboration in a "same time-different place" mode”. Furthermore, synchronous platforms offer: immediate interaction (with the opportunity of face-to-face communication), additionally immediate feedback and comments are presented. Moreover, the synchronous platforms present: audio- video conferencing, chat and instant messaging (individual or in groups), which offer spontaneous reaction from the two parts.
188.8.131.52. Asynchronous tools
Differently from the synchronous tools, Ashley (quoted in Sthhirak, 2013:2) states that asynchronous tools “enable communication and collaboration over a period of time through a "different time-different place" mode”. In other words, asynchronous tools are communicative tools that available in platforms that offer streaming audio-video, e-mail, such as: Instagram, YouTube, Gmail, etc. which offer interaction (but not immediate) and the information is not updated, perhaps the users do not have real time communication.
Interestingly, “Synchronous and asynchronous communication tools are used to facilitate collaboration between individuals and groups of people, and are particularly useful for e-learning environments”.8 Nevertheless, the selection of synchronous and asynchronous depends on the purposes of correspondence between senders and receivers, hereby; the teachers and the students whether they want to communicate in real time (synchronously) or share information for later use (asynchronously).
On the other hand, Oztoka etal. (2012) propose that synchronous and asynchronous communication tools should not be evaluated in isolation, but rather how they can supplement one another.9 For instance, when using synchronous tolls we have real time communication, and consequently a less time to think, when using asynchronous tool we have not real time communication, but the users have time to think; firstly the corresponded, learner, can be supplemented with a material for a certain activity asynchronously, then present the activity synchronously. Therefore, a prepared learner will interact in real time communication in a good manner and have a feedback.
1 Information provided by the following website. www.statista.com retrieved on 23/11/2016
2 This definition is based upon Thompson (1967) and on personal communication with Dr. J. D. Eveland of the National Science Foundation. Both stress the uncertainty- reduction aspect of technology, and thus the important role of information, a view of technology that has not been very widely recognized. Rogers (1995:8)
3 Unesco – science and technology teacher: available at http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/file_download.php/e4a401dc5db3bafdb675cdab775cd305Technology+Guide+ Unit+1.pdf retrieved on 04/01/2016
4 Young People and Social Networking Services: A Childnet International Research Report by www.Digizen.org retrieved on 21/01/2017
5 Young People and Social Networking Services: A Childnet International Research Report by www.Digizen.org retrieved on 21/01/2017
6 Young People and Social Networking Services: A Childnet International Research Report by www.Digizen.org retrieved on 21/01/2017
7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microblogging retrieved on 24/01/2017
8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronous_learning retrieved on 28/01/2017
9 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronous_learning retrieved on 28/01/2017