Facebook's Hidden Potential: Facebook as an Educational Support Tool in Foreign Language Education

Facebook's Hidden Potential: Facebook as an Educational Support Tool in Foreign Language Education

Abdullah Saykili (Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey) and Evrim Genç Kumtepe (Anadolu University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8614-4.ch031
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Abstract

As Social Networking Sites have come to play a greater part in our lives, more and more people interact with each other in these environments. Because social networking tools have managed to attract billions of users worldwide, they have also drawn the attention of educators. As the largest social networking site, Facebook has captured the interest of educators and educational institutions, regardless of its desirable or undesirable effects on education settings. However, empirical research on the implications of how Facebook can be utilized in English as a foreign or second language (EFL/ESL) learning and teaching setting is limited. This issue needs further exploration to provide deeper insights and meaningful conclusions. This chapter focuses on the utility of a multicultural Facebook special interest group, FaceLearning, which was created by the authors to support the EFL/ESL learning and teaching. The research attempts to map the potentials and the concerns that arise from the perspectives of three instructors involved in the study to explore the value, role, and educational implications of Facebook for EFL/ESL settings.
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Social Networking Sites

SNS are reported to compose 29% of all online activities, which indicates that 1 in every 5 minutes online is spent on SNS (ComScore Inc., 2011). Among the reasons for their popularity is the fact that in addition to enabling users to construct their own profiles, SNS allow users to contribute to the construction of other users’ profiles facilitating users to further interact, communicate, collaborate and share with each other (Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Smith, 2011; Subrahmanyam, Reich, Waechter, & Espinoza, 2008). SNS, as the leading web based communication and interaction tools in the 21st century, are defined as:

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