Web Use in Public Relations Education: A Portuguese Example

Web Use in Public Relations Education: A Portuguese Example

Sónia Pedro Sebastião (Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal & Center for Administration and Public Policies, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2851-9.ch011
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The chapter relates several of the difficulties associated with public relations as an academic subject. Bearing these obstacles in mind, a public relations academic program has been defined, along with, a teaching strategy using Web-based social media (blog and Facebook profile) to communicate with students. The main purposes of the research are: to understand how university students see public relations as a subject and to ascertain their attitude toward the importance of using web-based communication tools in the assessment of public relations disciplines. The results have shown that students understand that the use of Web-social media is important to their academic life and to their relationship with the teacher. Nevertheless, it is also admitted that the use of technological tools must be followed by motivation, interest in the subject of public relations, and in general, academic work.
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1. Social Media In Education

Technology is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Yet, and according to Abreu’s K12 study, most schools lag far behind when it comes to integrating technology into classroom learning (Abreu, 2011). Many are just beginning to explore the true potential technology offers for teaching and learning. Since, and as recognized by Abreu (2011), it is an opportunity to use what students know, enjoy and are entertained by to create dynamic lessons, develop critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication among students. Properly used, technology help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy. Authors, such as: Griffith, & Liyanage (2008); DeSchryver, Mishra, Koehler, & Francis (2009) and Holcomb, Brady, & Smith (2010) have demonstrated that the benefits and drawbacks of using safe and secure social networking sites (SNS’s) in an educational setting outweigh the costs.

Technology changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways of reaching different types of learners and assessing student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the student-teacher relationship. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach. Technology may help to make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun. While the creation and collaboration within social networks provide opportunities to bridge informal and formal education, stressing new uses for web social media (Abreu, 2011, p. 52).

As stated by Boss (2011), Seymour Papert was the first to recognize the potential of technology in the learning process. During the 1960s, after collaborating with Jean Piaget, Papert developed the Logo programming language and began introducing it to children, who were able to gain a deeper understanding of geometry concepts, gaining programming expertise, as well as showing an engagement in learning rare in more traditional classroom activities.

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