Social networks in early childhood education – mediatisation of professional pedagogical practice
- Social networks are a new phenomenon in early childhood education centres
- Posts on Facebook and Twitter are part of mediatisation
- Content, relationships and actor’s identities are changed by social networks
- Problems: ambiguous legal situation, technical infrastructure, lack of experience
- Opportunities: more transparency, more feedback, more reasons for conversations
A tweet directly from the daycare; a Facebook post from the outing into the forest – who is looking for it, can find such entries more and more on social network sites (sns). Last year, in an analysis of about 350 posts from early childhood education (ece) centers in Germany and the US, I showed that the clear majority of posts are used to document everyday life in ece centre (Knauf 2015). Another large group of posts in digital social networks serves to inform about appointments, events, vacancies etc. (ibid.).
But what happens in the ece center that are increasingly using digital social networks? With two group discussions in ece centers I looked behind the scenes (Knauf 2016). It turns out that the use of digital social networks is more than just a new communication channel. Instead, the communicated content, the relationships between the actors and even the identity of the institution change. Thus, the posts also help to draw a certain picture of the ece center (for example, as a modern facility that performs pedagogical high-quality work).
As main obstacles in using sns in ece centers the interviewees describe the legal uncertainties and the (lack of) technical equipment. Another problem should be seen in their own little experience in using sns.
Opportunities offered by digital social networks are seen in higher response experienced by the ece teachers – response not only by the parents, but also by colleagues from other institutions. Regarding partnership with parents, growing transparency is seen as an important resource. In addition, the posts can stimulate conversations between adults and children as well as between parents and teachers.
A detailed description of the results (English) is now available in the journal „MedienPädagogik“: http://www.medienpaed.com/article/view/432
Knauf, H. (2016): The Mediatisation of Professional Pedagogical Practice – Social Networks in Early Childhood Education and Care. In: MedienPädagogik 20-36, Dez. 2016. Verfügbar unter: http://www.medienpaed.com/article/view/432
Knauf, H. (2016): Soziale Netzwerke als Instrument der Bildungs- und Erziehungspartnerschaft mit Familien in Kindertageseinrichtungen. In: Merz Wissenschaft 2015, S. 58-69. Link zur Zeitschrift: http://www.merz-zeitschrift.de/index.php?NAV_ID=11&HEFT_ID=151&RECORD_ID=7081
Krotz, F. (2013): Die Mediatisierung kommunikativen Handelns. Wiesbaden: Springer.