Chemistry interactions in Facebook
Dr. Ron Blonder
Postdocs and students
Shelley Rap, PhD student
Social networks and ICT in chemistry education: Web 2.0 is a term referring to the second generation of internet services. It includes websites and applications that provide a technological platform for users' content: creating and sharing uploaded content by the users themselves. Web 2.0 provides a high level of activity and promotes cooperation among its users. This contributes to creating new social connections, sharing human experiences, and creating new knowledge. Our current efforts focus on learning about the potential of incorporating chemistry Facebook groups into a learning platform. Facebook facilitates group interactions between students and teachers and between student peers. It also promotes active work as well as shared learning experiences and knowledge. The various uses of Facebook groups include comments published inside the group (e.g., post, like), the uploading of files, links to videos and simulations, adding pictures, conducting surveys, sharing and exchanging knowledge, as well as allowing discussions and synchronized dialogue. We study the interactions of chemistry teachers and their students via the Facebook platform. Facebook is a social network that is used by most Israeli high-school students, and using this platform for teaching may help educators to be better connected to their students' life and learning preferences. In the Facebook study I wish to better understand the conditions under which the Facebook platform can support chemistry learning as well as contemporary chemistry learning. We try to identify learning episodes that accrued via the chemistry Facebook groups. The learning episodes were constructed through discussions by the students and their teacher. The theoretical framework for this study is socio-cultural and the discourse analysis is based on Sfrad's commognitive standpoint (Sfard, 2007). Different teachers participate in different ways in the Facebook group and we categorized the variety of uses (e.g., a learning management system (LMS), a learning platform, and enrichment). We examine the development of teachers' TPACK while they use the Facebook chemistry group with their class and follow their self-efficacy.