Authors: Dr. Charles Kivunja
Abstract: Whereas the advance of social media was warmly embraced for application in recreational and conversational contexts, mainly for fun and humour, their penetration in orthodoxy learning where the rigors of academia are shrouded in competition and survival of the fittest, has been much slower. Instances abound of censorship and prohibitive surveillance whereby students were blocked from accessing social media while in the computer lab. The thought of year 12 students accessing ‘social media’ sent shivers down teachers’ spines as they sought to protect their students from what were considered potentially distractive sites. As a result, students were denied access to resources, which could have been helpful in their construction of knowledge. This phobia of social media seems to sustain the gulf between, on one side, academics (and teachers) who advocate reliance on orthodoxy textology and (on the other) those inclined to towards embracing digital nativity. This paper is of the view that this is an unwarranted phobia that needs to be eradicated.
The paper comments on the lived experiences of an attempt to overtly introduce social media in pedagogical curriculum of doctoral students. The experiences indicate that with well-structured participation strategies and properly planned introduction, social media have potential to reduce the solitude that is often experienced by doctoral students. It can help to enhance professional conversation and to promote Bruner’s Five E Pedagogical Model of Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration and Evaluation; and to extend the digital footprint of doctoral students.
Keywords: Social media, orthodoxy learning, pedagogical curriculum, professional conversation, technophobia, digital nativity.