Social Networking Sites and Adult Literacy: Raising the Issues
This paper explores how educators and adult learners might harness the full potential of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and other social media in the service of adult literacy teaching and learning.
Please note that the paper was revised on December 3, 2011.
Click here to access a podcast, in which the authors, Donna M. Chovanec and Amy Meckelborg, discuss the main questions explored in the paper, reflect on the topic of literacy in the context of their work, and talk about the roles of digital citizenship.
AlphaPlus’ most recently published paper, Social Networking Sites and Adult Literacy Learning: Raising the Issues, explores how educators and adult learners might harness the full potential of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and other social media in the service of adult literacy teaching and learning.
Acknowledging that informal literacy learning is occurring in the process of using SNS, the paper addresses various factors that influence literacy learners' use of these sites such as 21st Century skills, social and civic engagement, marginalization, the digital divide, and digital citizenship. Noting the ubiquity of digital technologies in today’s society, the authors argue that literacy programs have an important role in helping adult literacy learners keep pace with others in society. However, the paper also raises important issues that will need to be addressed if SNS are to be incorporated into literacy programs.
“Social networking sites and adult literacy learning go hand in hand, in our opinion, yet the issues and questions we’ve raised require careful consideration if they are to be brought together in non-formal and formal educational contexts.”