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Identity profiles and metaphors for understanding the educational potentialities of social networks


Analysis of Social Networks (SNs) can help us to understand their potentialities for learning. Accordingly, this research study aims at defining user profiles in order to exploit the educational possibilities of SNs. In doing so, it adopts a general socioconstructivist theoretical framework and uses specific concepts concerning cultural artifacts, I-position, and metaphors. A purposely-made questionnaire comprising 28 questions inquiring into four thematic areas (personal information, tendencies and preferences, modes of use, metaphors) has been devised and administered to 327 participants, mostly aged between 16 and 27 years old. The three profiles that emerged from the data analysis (Interdependency/Sociality, Dependence, Individuality) make it possible to go beyond the three levels found by Wartofsky. A fourth level is proposed, characterized by artifacts allowing construction of personal worlds within collective abstract and symbolic ones. Finally, three guidelines are proposed for designing educational activities supported by fourth level artifacts.


Educational Technology; Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL); Social Networks and Learning; Social Network; Profilo; Metafora; Artefatto; Identità;

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Italian Journal of Educational Technology (IJET) | ISSN (print) 2532-4632 | ISSN (online) 2532-7720