The Creative Uses of Facebook by Undergraduate Students

Among many social networking websites, Facebook has become an effective learning tool in many institutions. Apart from educational purposes, Facebook can be employed for other purposes that benefit users who learn to use it creatively. The objectives of this research were to examine how creatively Thai university students used Facebook and investigated how gender and type of university had an effect on their usage. This was exploratory research where a questionnaire was used to collect data from 1,080 undergraduate students in Thailand. The data were then analyzed using frequency, percentage, Mann-Whitney U tests, and Kruskal-Wallis tests. It was found that most Thai students used Facebook for more than five hours a day. They creatively used Facebook to follow up on news, contact friends for study, and keep pictures. Creative usage was more common among male students than female students. In addition, public university students had a higher mean score of creative uses than those from other types of university. Significant differences were found in nearly all items except sharing personal experiences with others.

Exploring the Limitations of Face-to-Face Instruction through Blogging: An Emergent Exploration in a Teacher Education Program

Despite a very successful first four years as a teacher educator, it became clearly evident that face-to-face learning had limitations. Of particular note was the vacuum of isolation that existed in between weekly class sessions, where students and instructor had limited opportunities to discuss and explore course issues. Hence, the world of online blogging, a form of asynchronous communication in between classes, organically developed as an attractive pedagogical tool. Through emergent research designs rooted in action research, reflective practice, and self-study of teacher education practices, this paper will explore my experience incorporating online blogging while teaching twelve courses in a Canadian teacher preparation program over a two-year period. Through numerous communication mediums with my students, I discovered that online blogging cultivated (a) student engagement and motivation for learning, and (b) the building of relationships through interactive virtual communities. In sum, I believe that an online blogging component in any face-to-face course creates an inclusive model of education that affords both teachers and students a blended curriculum that is dynamic, flexible, and engaging.

Experiential Media and Disabilities in Education: Enabling Learning through Immersive, Interactive, and Customizable Digital Platforms

Emerging experiential media platforms are enabling persons across a diverse array of disabilities to increasingly engage in customizable, interactive, immersive and multi-sensory globally connected and mobile learning environments. The purpose of this paper is three-fold. First, we seek to outline the nature and parameters of experiential media and their implications for learning for persons across a broad array of disabilities. This articulation of a model of experiential media will builds prior research and lays the foundation for future investigations. Second, as a preliminary framework for testing this experiential media model, we employ a case study methodological approach. The case studies offered are based on an examination of a pilot project examining persons with disabilities who engaged immersive, multi-sensory, and interactive media prototypes. These case studies are re-examined in the context of the recent development of commercially available virtual reality platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and the Oculus Rift (Oculus Virtual Reality 2016). Finally, we conclude by offering a framework for assessing the potential effectiveness of emerging experiential media platforms for learning among differently enabled users.