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Social Media in English Language Teaching and Learning

Voyce Li
English Language Centre, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Abstract—This study first shares our case of using social media in English language teaching and secondly, explores students’ use of social media for English learning and the relationships between six possible frequent learning activities through social media. In this case, YouTube, Blogs, Forums and Wikis have been widely used in teaching. The findings, with a sample (N=122) of 16.5% of respondents, revealed that YouTube (M=3.65, SD=1.33) is the most prominent tool being used both daily and weekly, and Wikis (M=2.52, SD=1.42) were mainly used on a weekly basis. As the unofficial learning tools, Facebook (M=2.60, SD=1.62) and WhatsApp (M=2.40, SD=1.68) could possibly reflect students’ preference of tools for English learning. Apart from that, the most frequent activities through social media among six were required (M=3.97, SD=1.05) and non-required (M=4.15, SD=0.88) course-related materials acquisitions in terms of constructive informal learning. Students were found to favor using social media with classmates (M=3.62, SD=1.20) over teachers (M=2.76, SD=1.26); in other words, those platforms induce more student-student than student-teacher interactions. Moreover, the high correlation (r=.804, p<.01) between students’ sharing with and obtaining materials from each other to complete assignments explains a high connection of social exchange activities among students. Educators are advised while endeavoring to promote knowledge sharing in terms of collaborative learning, simultaneously, to raise students’ awareness of academic integrity and also provide proper training. 
Index Terms—social media, YouTube, facebook, wikis, WhatsApp, English learning, materials sharing, informal learning, peer interactions

Cite: Voyce Li, "Social Media in English Language Teaching and Learning," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 148-153, June 2017. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.3.2.148-153