Other Issues in Media and Society

  1. My colleague, Nadya, discussed an important issue connected with social networks. In her blog http://nssmedia.blogspot.cz Nadya wrote about the correlation between social media and depression. She describes various reasons why social media can lead to a bad mental state, such as addiction to social networks, constant comparison of yourself with virtual people, cyberbullying. In my opinion, it is a relevant issue, which needs to be discussed.
  2. Tereza touched upon an unusual topic in her blog http://rehaktereza.wix.com/media-and-food. She talked about the influence that media have on what we eat. Mostly, she discusses the negative impact of media on our eating behavior. For instance, media can encourage young girls to be as thin as possible, which, in its turn, leads to such eating and mental disorders as anorexia or bulimia. Tereza also provided interesting articles about the role of media in causes of childhood obesity.

  3. Jessica’s blog https://jessiescolumn.wordpress.com is about an issue, which, in my view, is extremely relevant nowadays. It is how media encourage teenage drinking. There is a significant number of movies, TV shows, video clips, which portray young people drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, this portrayal is not educational, it does not show what the real outcomes of underage drinking can be. On the contrary, media represent alcohol as an inevitable part of «cool» life full of fun.

  4. Akzhan in her blog https://informw.wordpress.com discusses information warfare in media. She talks about how media develop nationalism and hate towards another country. Akzhan mentions the current «information war» between Russia and the West. I agree with her, that this issue is extremely concerning. I myself had a chance to watch and read news in three sides of the conflict: in Russia, in Ukraine, and in the Czech Republic. I was completely shocked by the difference in the representation of information in media in three different countries. This difference occurred due to the reason that governments of these countries wanted to send different messages to their citizens. That made me realize, that we are simply manipulated and confused by news media. Moreover, it encourage hate towards other cultures. To conclude, I find this blog informative and useful, as it provides information on a very concerning issue.

  5. Finally, I would like to recommend Hozan’s blog https://hozanchomani.wordpress.com. Despite the four blogs I write about before, this one exposes some positive effects media can have. Particularly, Hozan talks about what advantages video games have. Video games can have some positive effects on children. For instance, cure against depression, or they can encourage cognitive learning. Overall, as every type of media, games can have both advantages and disadvantages. It depends on what games to play, and whether it is supervised by parents.


How I See It

Initially, social networks were created to communicate with friends, but now they are increasingly being used for the purposes of education and business communication. The term «Personal Learning Network» may seem quite complicated and not so easy to understand. Probably, that is because it is still not so popular with the masses.

Nevertheless, websites are being developed; new smarter  devices appear on the market; the purposes of why people use social media begin to be more varied. Now there is no doubt, that social networks are great platforms for learning and studying. Advanced technologies make the learning process more productive, brighter and more accessible, allow to acquire knowledge easier; it is more understandable for the young generations; such method increases the degree of involvement. Usually education through social networks consists of individual educational activities of a person, which are a part of his daily life, and do not have a purposeful character.

I have already described Twitter and some educational websites. Another important trend on the Internet today is blogging. The authors usually have a number of practical skills, the most important of which is the massive use of hyperlinks to other sources connected with the topic (for example, to other blogs). These relationships between blogs allow you to build your own world, which is called the «blogosphere».

Another popular social software Web 2.0 allows to share online resources in the form of scientific publications (CiteULike), photos (Flickr), music (Last.fm) or video (YouTube). It is based on the same principal: one can find and connect to users, who share same ideas and interests, with the help of content description, hashtags, and so on. As Web 2.0 allows to create and distribute content easily, now there are more and more networks and blogs appearing.

Using social networks for the purpose of education has several advantages. First of all, one can get access to a huge number of credible sources for free. Second, functions of social services make it possible not only to store, but also to create and share digital content, which allows users to participate in the creation and sharing of knowledge. Third, it is easy to present the material in various forms with the possibility to include audio, video, or images. Fourth, learning through social networks helps students of the XXI century develop skills to not only find information, but to edit it and use it to create a new one.

The most important advantage of the use of social networks, in my opinion, is that it develops new teaching styles and strategies. For instance, creation of a social platforms, where students can communicate with the teacher, as well as with each other. Such improvements in the use of social media have brought a change to the whole educational process. Now focus is put not only on the results of studies but on the process too.

To conclude, it is important to look at social media not only from a perspective of communication with peers and entertainment, but to view it as a useful and progressive tool in education.

For Further Research

  1. Mimi Ito, an expert in young people’s use of digital media, shares her research on informal learning in online communities, where students can build technology skills, learn media literacy, and create and share their work.
    Mimi Ito
  2. TeacherChallenge website offers suggests various topics connected with Personal Social Networks. There you can find the definition of PLN. Where and how you can establish your own PLN; description of various platforms used for it.
  3. GettingSmart also offers an instruction for creating your own PLN. There you can find 10 tips/steps for building a personal learning network. They are connect, contribute, converse, request, blog, tweet, join Classroom 2.0, use Google+, be patient, be authentic.
    On the website there are also references and links to interesting readings on this topic.

What the Experts Say II

Another article is called «Building and using a Personal/ Professional learning network with social Media» and written by Tamra Devis. It was published in The Journal of Research in Business Education, (Spring 2013): 1-13. It can be found on proquest.com as well.

«Using a mixed-methods, cross-sectional survey research method, this study was designed to be the first in a series of research projects to investigate how educators are using the framework of a PLN to support and enhance classrooms to meet the needs of the learners. Specifically, this study addresses the definition of a PLN, positions social media as one avenue in building a PLN, and describes how educators are using a PLN in the educational environment».

«In the networked community of learning, not only students seek connections; educators are also seeking connections and support. Both groups utilize various tools to network with their peers around the world».

What the Experts Say I

I would like to recommend a reading on Personal Learning Networks, which focuses on factors that influence online learning and how the learners perceive that process.

It is an article in the academic journal Educational Technology & Society, 16 (3), 59–75. The article is called «Goals, Motivation for, and Outcomes of Personal Learning through Networks: Results of a Tweetstorm». It can be found on proquest.com

The article «reports findings of a study that examined factors impacting professional learning through networks. A personal learning network identification session and a brainstorm via Twitter (Tweetstorm) regarding goals, motivational factors and outcomes of learning through networks were conducted. The article concludes that seven factors play a pivotal role in professional learning through networks: sharing, motivation, perceived value of the network, feedback, personal learning, trust and support, peer characteristics and peer value. Also, different perspectives, motivation, social media and collaboration, reciprocity, intrinsic motivation, innovation, status and reputation and networking strategies play an important role in motivation».

Current Events II


Nowadays educators quite often use Twitter to share ideas and involve their students with those from other cities or even countries to broaden their learning experience.

Twitter is a social network that allows to make short publications (maximum 140 characters) — «tweets». Twitter is a place that you can just lurk, by reading others’ tweets, or contribute to, by sending out your own tweets. (Morris, 2014)

Here is a video about how Twitter can be used in education.

«One example of this social media connection is the series of Skype video chats that Techman set up between fifth grade and high school students to discuss usability when downloading ebooks from the public library. The high school students shared their frustrations and difficulties with the downloads. She wanted to help her fifth grade students form their thoughts and feel comfortable sharing their opinions on how the downloading process should change».

«Social media shows students that learning isn’t limited to their classroom, but that the world is their classroom, and it has been a strong connector for Albemarle County Public Schools. Here, social media has broken down classroom and district walls, creating a venue for discussion and shared ideas without boundaries». 

«I like to think of social media as being somewhat like the bees that go from flower to flower to flower and take a little bit of pollen from here to there, and the next thing you know you’ve got daylilies you’ve never had before because the bees have cross-pollinated plants,» says Pam Moran, superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools.

Michael Thornton, a fifth grade teacher at Agnor Hurt Elementary School, documented his students’ paper tower challenge on Twitter. It turned into a worldwide Twitter campaign of teachers posting pictures and videos doing the same challenge. Here is a video about it: Making Connections Through Twitter
(Source: http://www.edutopia.org/practice/social-media-making-connections-through-twitter)


Morris, K. (23 September 2014 r.). Using Twitter to Build Your PLN. Retrieved December 2015 r., from Edublogs Teacher Challenges: http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-3-using-twitter-to-build-your-pln/




Current Events I

“To have thousands of fellow minds in your pocket via a mobile
is to have an immensely unfair advantage over humans
who think alone”
(K. Honeycutt, personal communication, August 26, 2012)



TeachingChannel is a website, where teachers share videos of their lessons. Basically, one can attend any class just sitting in front of a computer screen.Through the site, educators can watch videos of teachers working in their classrooms as a way to learn from, and provide feedback to, peers in their profession. The site’s platform also gives teachers a space to share lesson ideas and strategies across a fairly broad range of subjects and grade levels.

The site’s platform also gives teachers a space to share lesson ideas and strategies across a fairly broad range of subjects and grade levels.The video library of actual classroom teaching offers tons of practical and inspirational resources for educators and students. Q&A forum gives an opportunity to have a chat with teachers from all over the world.


KQED Education is another educational website. It is divided into four main topics: Science, News&Civics, Art, Post-Secondary ESL. The website states: «KQED is for everyone who wants to be more. Our television, radio, digital media and educational services change lives for the better and help individuals and communities achieve their full potential». KQED serves people with a community-supported alternative to commercial media.

KQED produces high-quality digital learning objects–video and audio clips, interactive tools. With its rich, thought-provoking content on a variety of subjects, KQED Education is not only great for lessons, it’s a solid resource for professional development too. It is a kind of media for those, who value life long learning and self-development. It encourages people not only to learn something new from others, but also to share their own ideas and to find co-thinkers.

Personal Learning Networks: learning through social media

The advantages of social networks are quite often underestimated. We are used to the idea that social media are mostly for entertainment. But it comes down to Uses and Gratifications Theory: «the experience and effects of media depend on the uses one is putting those media to and the gratifications one is receiving from them» (Harris, 2009). So, if the majority use social media to connect with friends and have fun, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the sole purpose of usage of social networks.

The word “PLN” stands for “Personal Learning Network”.Having a PLN is about making connections and building personal relationships with teachers, school administrators, university professors, and experts around the world. No matter where you are in the world, there’s always someone online available to answer questions, share their expertise, and simply chat about what’s happening in their lives and classrooms.You are able to collaborate with others, teach or learn, share ideas by using various tools and media.

Mostly PLNs are used by teachers to share their experience or learn some new methods of teaching. In two further posts I will discuss how educators use social media both to teach and to learn.

Here is a video, whereWill Richardson (an educator, blogger and author) talks about what PLN is:Will Richardson


Harris. (2009). A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication (5 edition). New York: Routledge, p. 37