Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Developing 21st century skills through the use of student personal learning networks
by Miller, Robert D., Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2009, 191; 3383118
Abstract (Summary)

This research was conducted to study the development of 21st century communication, collaboration, and digital literacy skills of students at the high school level through the use of online social network tools. The importance of this study was based on evidence high school and college students are not graduating with the requisite skills of communication, collaboration, and digital literacy skills yet employers see these skills important to the success of their employees. The challenge addressed through this study was how high schools can integrate social network tools into traditional learning environments to foster the development of these 21st century skills. A qualitative research study was completed through the use of case study. One high school class in a suburban high performing town in Connecticut was selected as the research site and the sample population of eleven student participants engaged in two sets of interviews and learned through the use social network tools for one semester of the school year. The primary social network tools used were Facebook, Diigo, Google Sites, Google Docs, and Twitter. The data collected and analyzed partially supported the transfer of the theory of connectivism at the high school level. The students actively engaged in collaborative learning and research. Key results indicated a heightened engagement in learning, the development of collaborative learning and research skills, and a greater understanding of how to use social network tools for effective public communication. The use of social network tools with high school students was a positive experience that led to an increased awareness of the students as to the benefits social network tools have as a learning tool. The data supported the continued use of social network tools to develop 21st century communication, collaboration, and digital literacy skills. Future research in this area may explore emerging social network tools as well as the long term impact these tools have on the development of lifelong learning skills and quantitative data linked to student learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Peterson, Amy
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 70/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Pedagogy, Educational technology, Science education
Keywords: 21st century skills, Connectivism, E-learning 2.0, Facebook, Personal learning networks, Social network tools, Social networks, Theory of Connectivism
Publication Number: 3383118
ISBN: 978-1-109-44773-6
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