Future Directions: Emergent Social Media Technologies and the Potential for Higher Education

Future Directions: Emergent Social Media Technologies and the Potential for Higher Education

Ann M. Simpson (Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5826-2.ch006


This chapter considers future directions for emerging social media technologies and their potential for teaching and learning practice in higher education. While technologies that support social media constantly change, it provides some simple and practical guidelines to assist teachers with their practice and use of social media technologies in their classrooms. This chapter acknowledges the evolving nature of the technologies available in today's teaching and learning context as well as ones that are considered to impact higher educational learning and teaching in the future, including descriptions of augmented and virtual reality and gamification and gamified learning.
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Worldwide use of social media will continue to grow (Chaffey, 2017). Based on the sheer numbers of active users of social media for business and personal use is approximately 24% of the world’s population; growth will continue globally with great potential for use in tertiary settings (Chaffey, 2017; United Nations, 2017). While the digital divide remains an issue, access to the support technologies and infrastructure can be facilitated by governmental programs (Adams Becker, Cumins, et al., 2017, 2017; Unesco, 2016). Underlying infrastructures, technologies and affordances of devices will continue to change creating potential opportunities. A greater number of programs and applications are offering the affordances of Web 2.0 technologies enabling some form of social interaction, e.g. the ability to conduct live chats while editing in a Google Doc. Moreover, augmented reality, virtual reality and gamified learning offer even more social media alternatives and potential for the higher education classroom. The lines are becoming blurred as to where the social meets the media’s purpose; i.e. social tools, such as chats and forums, can be found in virtually any program or application.

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