Social Media and 21st century Learner!

In my culture, we have a traditional proverb tells us that:

“One stick is easy to break, but sticks in a bundle are unbreakable”

I believe this is a perfect metaphor to the power of social media, particularly in the relation to the positive impacts of these tools in education and learning around the world.

The above proverb strongly presents the manner of collaborative learning and sharing. We can interpret the saying, as “None of us is as smart as all of us”. As the power of social network is more fully available today than in any other point in history, it is not surprising that we – the new generation adopt the use of digital media in developing learning styles that are heavily dependent on social media and the web. We can see that, our university and in particular the unit of Science and Media have embraced a variety of social media tools in their academic teaching, such as: podcast, digital movie, media release and blog.

Let’s look at this video about “A Vision for 21st Century Learning”

In the past few years, the boom of social media has grown from a phantom to an undeniable power of collaborative learning and sharing. During this time, new concepts like class blogs (e.g., WordPress) and micro-blogs (e.g., Facebook) together, help to achieve social learning. Plus, it is obvious that social network has become the central role in the daily life of our generation and so the next generation.

Let’s see how many of these social networks you can recognize!

It is undeniable that social media tools provide communication dynamics that offer new ways to create, interact, collaborate and learn new concepts. Therefore, schools and universities should consider implementing social media to improve efficiencies in the delivery of learning, as these new technologies might help to spark creativity, excitement, interaction, learning and sharing by students.

It’s not that I abandon traditional learning in favor of the new digital media, but it is about striking the right balance of both. When one learns basic manners, such as patience and self-discipline first, then the technology and social media can kick in to maximize its potential.

In my country, which is Vietnam, our teaching and learning techniques are different (or may I say behind) compared to Western societies. The main reason is because of passive learning (e.g., course lectures, papers, and the reading of a textbook) without interacting much with the digital media as well as the social media. For such thought, I have chosen this topic for the blog post.

So do you agree with me that educators should utilize social media in the right manner to deliver a more engaging style of learning that can accommodate digital learners?

Betty Bui Do

Reference: Wankel, C. (2011). Teaching Arts and Science with the New Social Media   Retrieved from


5 comments on “Social Media and 21st century Learner!

  1. I like the vision, and incorporate collaborative learning when possible in my own teaching. However, I have tried to introduce a number or the web 2.0 ideas into the classroom with some of the students rejecting the ideas. The You Tube video takes a very simple view with the idea everything appears seamless. We need to teach young students the merits of social media, blogging and virtual worlds and separate learning from the everyday relationship feuds which we associate with Facebook.

    The virtual world is not a substitute for the real world, and considering some of the problems experienced in schools with social relationships and interaction, we need to address these first. I am all for the technological revolution in education but until we overhaul the department and drag it into the 21st century. Particularly, the social media does not stand a chance.

  2. I think we should definitely utilize social media to enhance our learning! I was completely blown away when we have a very successful skype lecture earlier this semester. I’m still continually amazed with technology and the way we can communicate with each other.
    I think facebook is also very handy when it come to group assignments and you need to contact eachother or pass on photos etc. Social media has been great for my education and I’d recommend harnessing it to anyone.

  3. Umm, very inspiring post, thank you Betty.
    Let me say, I’m bit suspicious about the effectiveness of those “new media” in education.
    The most thing I worry is that, when learning something, it is not always good to find the answer immediately. When we learning something, sometimes, we struggle. We may stuck, or we may lost the way. but I believe that is also a part of learning. those experience gives us more deeper understanding.

    I know, web is useful, and handy, but its not always credible. everyone can provide the information each other, that’s great. But before looking into Wikipedia or asking your friends in Facebook, I believe we should try everything by yourself.

    I know its old fashioned view. but as I was librarian, I insist on the quality (or credibility) of information. frankly speaking, I had negative feeling for the video you embedded in your post, because it was very one-sided view, and too optimistic about use of new media. and said nothing about themselves. it also leads my next point, measuring a credibility and responsibility in the web, or so called web literary.

    I experienced the dawn of the Internet. I was a kind of “early adapter”, and I had several difficult experience. so I stress when we utilise those new media in educational field, we must provide enough training for this issue.

    Thank you for great food for thought, Betty!

    • Hi Kohei, thanks for your reply.
      I agree with you that nowadays technology in education might provides “too much” convenience for the young, resulting them to be less active in seeking for answers. This shortens the learning process and might not necessarily be a good thing in term of deep processing of information.Therefore, educators should be careful regarding in using new technology in their teaching and they should “reveal” or educate the students the pros and cons of high tech.
      Regrading to the video, I admit it is biased to one-sided view, my attention was to show a vision of a 21st learner (that is a general view of the target audience -21st learners).
      Thanks again, Kohei.

  4. I like the idea of using digital media in a school setting. I was a nanny for a group of three primary school children, and I noticed that homework which used new technology, was warmly welcomed by these kids. They participated in an online program called Mathletics and they loved it, to the point where they would fight over the computer. The oldest boy coaxed me into trying it one afternoon, I think he just wanted me to get his score up but anyway, it was really fun… PLUS I actually learnt something!

    However, I don’t think digital media should replace all forms of learning. I think teacher-student interactions are particularly important throughout school. Not just to learn the curriculum from them but to also teach interpersonal skills that are needed throughout life. You can’t get those skills from a computer program.

    I think digital media does play an important role in education (especially when it comes to homework) but it shouldn’t take over.


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