Let’s Face(book) It: Analyzing Interactions in Social Network Groups for Chemistry Learning

Shelley Rap, Ron Blonder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined how social network (SN) groups contribute to the learning of chemistry. The main goal was to determine whether chemistry learning could occur in the group discourse. The emphasis was on groups of students in the 11th and 12th grades who learn chemistry in preparation for their final external examination. A total of 1118 discourse events were tallied in the different groups. We analyzed the different events that were found in chemistry learning Facebook groups (CLFGs). The analysis revealed that seven types of interactions were observed in the CLFGs: The most common interaction (47 %) dealt with organizing learning (e.g., announcements regarding homework, the location of the next class); learning interactions were observed in 22 % of the posts, and links to learning materials and social interactions constituted about 20 % each. The learning events that were ascertained underwent a deeper examination and three different types of chemistry learning interactions were identified. This examination was based on the theoretical framework of the commognitive approach to learning (Sfard in Thinking as communicating. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008), which will be explained. The identified learning interactions that were observed in the Facebook groups illustrate the potential of SNs to serve as an additional tool for teachers to advance their students’ learning of chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-76
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • Education


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