Facebook as an Educational Environment for Mathematics Learning

Facebook as an Educational Environment for Mathematics Learning

Nimer Baya'a (Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, Israel) and Wajeeh Daher (Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, Israel & An-Najah National University, Palestine)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch022
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In this chapter, the authors describe four successful experiments in using social networking sites (Facebook and Edmodo) in mathematics teaching and learning, where this use depended on populating the sites with historical mathematicians and/or mathematical phenomena. They describe two models of using social networking sites in mathematics education, as well as the phases of working mathematically with students when implementing each model. The authors emphasize the use of social talk as the first step to involve students with the learning of mathematics, as well as moving to cultural talk as a bridge between the social talk and the mathematical discourse. The experience in the four experiments indicates that social networking sites invite student collaboration, as well as encourage their learning actions and interactions. Teacher's or moderator's sensitivity is a very important factor for the success of the experiment, especially when young students are involved. Other factors which influenced the success of students' learning in social networking sites were the features of the social networking site, the properties of the inter-disciplinary phenomenon or the mathematics produced by the historical mathematicians, the background of the learners, and the activities of the moderator.
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Recently researchers attempted to use the Facebook environment to enable collaborative learning (English & Duncan-Howell, 2008), as well as to treat content knowledge in different disciplines (Schroeder and Greenbowe, 2009; Selwyn, 2007). English & Duncan-Howell (2008) reported that pre-service teachers used Facebook during their teaching practicum placements to facilitate mutual support, encouragement and the sharing of stories and anecdotes. Using Facebook enabled the pre-service teachers to direct their learning through creating, sharing and commenting on others’ contributions, and by allowing them to choose from multiple forms of support. Further, Facebook environment enabled collaboration as the pre-service teachers assisted each other, shared digital artifacts and exchanged constructive feedback. These reports encouraged us to attempt using Facebook for mathematics education through students' collaboration and social work.

Schroeder and Greenbowe (2009) describe an experiment that involved using Facebook as an additional tool for their university students’ learning. They point at the Facebook feature of enabling the upload of images to have an impact on their students’ learning. Their students responded to comments, explanations, or observations with relevant diagrams, figures, or other graphics, while the instructors used the image uploading to draw chemical structures or step-by-step reaction mechanisms, as well as to post spectral data that could be used to discuss questions posted earlier. Another Facebook feature used was the ‘Post Item’ feature which was utilized mostly by the instructors to post Internet links of relevant Web sites.

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