Social Constructivism Meets Social Media

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Social LearningDirect instruction is still and amazingly popular method of teaching. This holds true even though the majority of the student population requires dynamic, modern teaching methods.  A complete opposite to traditional pedagogy is social constructivism, which proposes that students learn best about a given topic when interacting with other learners.

This idea, also sometimes known as social learning theory, has recently been bolstered by Dr. Richard J. Light of the Harvard School of Education.  Although many might believe teaching style may be the primary factor of student success, Dr. Light has a different contention, at least in regard to college students.

According to Dr. Light, the ability of college students to participate in small study groups is the most important determinant of academic success.  Furthermore, students who study with other students at least once per week are more engaged and better prepared than students who study solo.

This has deep implications for social media and its application inside and outside of the classroom walls.  Discussing curricular topics via social media is the modern version of face-to-face study groups at a library or home.  But unlike traditional study groups, tech-savvy teachers can join in and geographic limitations are erased.

Although Dr. Light’s research on social constructivism’s significance is focused on higher education, the benefits are not likely to be confined to only college-age students.  I’m hopeful teacher will engage in their own Action Research projects and share their results.

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