Creat ive Educati on
2012. Vol.3, Supplement, 82-85
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.38b018
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
A Meta-Ana lysis on the Application of SNS in Education for
SMART Learning: Focusing on Korean Case
Soon-Hwa Kim1, Ki-Sang Song2
1Department of Comput er Education for the Gifted, Korea National University of Educat ion, Chung-wo n, Korea
2Department of Computer Education, Korea Nation al University of Education , Chung-won, Korea
Email: ,
Received 20 12
As the S mart Phone and iP ad type devic es widely sp read all over the world, t he Social Net work Servic e
(SNS) has become prevalent. The SNS deeply penetrates into personal lives, it also affects learning and
education. To evaluate the SNS effects on education, we have analyzed 153 articles from 2009 to 2012
publ ished in Korea to know the c urrent s tatus of t he applica tion of the SNS on educ ation i n Korea. From
this meta-analysis review, we fou nd that the W iki service is t he most wi dely resear ched SNS service ap-
plicable to education in Korea, and information technology subject is the hottest discipline when consi-
dering SN S for educ at ion. Als o, coll ege level educa tion i s the most wel l prep ared s chool t ype to use SN S
for education. This review results suggest that the most appropriate level of applying smart education
education usi ng smart phone or iPad type devices is college level or above instead of K-12 education.
Key words: Socia l Network Service; SNS; Education
Social Network Service (hereinafter SNS) is an online
service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting
of social n etwor ks or soci al rel ations among people (Wikipedia,
2012). Most of SNS are web-based services to in teract over th e
Internet or a mobile device. According to the survey of Korea
Internet Security Agency 61.3% of Internet users are using SNS
(Internet, Security Agency, 2007). The actual membership of
SNS in Korea dramatically increased with the spread of smart
mobil e d e vic es. Acco rd in g to t h e s urv e y fro m e ach S NS co mp an y,
the number people in Korea who have a Twitter membership is
3.5 million, a Facebook membership is 4 million, and Me2day
is 5.7 million. More than 12.7 million people have SNS
memberships. With the wide spread of the Internet and smart
mobile devices, the number of SNS users have been surprisingly
increasi ng in Ko rea. Th ere are man y kind s o f SNS, widel y used
such as wiki, Facebook, Twitter, Me2day, blog, Internet café
and so on in Korea. These services are ranging from individual
communication to group communication and from individual
content production to group content production.
As t he smart dev i ces ar e ra pi d ly a dopted i n eve ry f iel d of socie ty ,
the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology set
the master plan for SMART education (Ministry of Education
Science and Technology, 2011). According to the Ministry
presen tatio n, SM ART educ ation means s elf-directed (S), moti vated
(M), adaptive(A), resource free(R), technology embedded(T)
education. It focuses on activating online education with digital
contents using smart device. It also includes an enhancement
plan using SNS with various smart devices. Nowadays, SM AR T
learning is the key issue i n Korean educational field.
Many of Korean researchers in the education and technological
fields are acti vely research ing SMAR T learnin g with SNS from
2010 till now. K. S. No, etc(2011) established the definitions of
SMART learning through studying previous works on SMART
education. SMART learning is a learner initiated learning which
has various materials for learning and supports learner-teacher
interaction (Noh, Ju, & Jung, 2011) J. H. Kang(2011) suggested
that SNS is an effective tool for enhancing student initiated
learning especially the youth. According to her research, the
Korean government has to support SNS use by revision of law
and social system. In addition, people have to have a changed
perception of using SNS (Kang, 2011) .
SMART is not a notion that suddenly appeared. It is an ex-
tension of e-learning and u-learning. In order to implement the
Korean government’s master plan for SM ART learning, a cl ose
examination of SNS for education research has to be preceded.
Also J. H. Kang(2011) pointed out difficulties in researching
SNS because of a lacking in advanced research. Several char-
acteristics are summarized within the whole body of research
The Basic Frame work o f Resear ch
To understand the main concern of educators and education
researchers i n SNS b ased education , this paper analyzed papers
published last four years (from 2009 to 2012) including jour-
nals, master’s and doctor’s thesis in Korea.
The Main Framework of SNS
General classification has to be preceded before analysis be-
gins, to get a better unders tand of SNS since SNS ’s are emerg-
ing as the technological innovation. The SNS can be classified
with the purpose, to make instant messages or produce contents.
In addition to that, user based standard can be used to make
classifications, such as individual communication as in one-
to-one or group communication. According to these standards,
we can suggest a basic framework to analyze the social media
applications to education as shown in Figure 1 .
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
As we can see in the Figure 1, Kakaotalk1, Nateon2, and
MSN are the individual oriented SNS which mainly focus on
exchange of instant messaging. Also these SNS have functions
to exchange instant messaging among group members. Internet
café and clubs, on the other hand, are the group oriented SNS,
which mainly focus on making communication with people who
have the same interests. Next type of SNS such as Wikipedia,
Springnote, Googledocs, are group oriented, collaborative SNS
to produce contents. Blog, Tistory3, and Cyworld are individual
oriented SNS which are mainly used for producing contents.
Also they have somewhat closed characteristics compared to
group oriented SNS like Wikipedia. The final category is one of
the most emerging classes, such as Facebook, Twitter, and
Me2day in Korea. This type of SNS is individual oriented,
which can communicate or share contents and message with a
person or gr ou ps. The us er can take ad vant a ge o f it s charact er is ti c s
for their own purpose.
Based on the above framework of SNS, this paper selected
commonly used SNS as research objects. In this paper compre-
hensive researches have searched related to the application of
SNS in education including Facebook, Twitter, Wiki, Blog,
Me2d ay and other specific SNS.
Literature Source
Research Information Sharing Service (RISS) which is
supported by Korea Education Research Information Service
(KERIS) has been used to find articles about SNS based educa-
tion. RISS is widely used and it has comprehensive information
about current education in Korea. K eyword search is the effective
method to select related researches about research object s .
From 2009 to 2012, hundreds of articles with “social network
service” and the specific SNS for keywords were retrieved fro m
RISS (www. The Articles that have no relation with
education were excluded. Finally, 153 articles were selected
which clo sely related to t he research su bject, the app lication of
SNS in education.
Gr oup
Figure 1.
Basic framework in analyzing SNS res earch in education.
Analysis on the Application of SNS for
The Overall Situation of SNS Usage in Education
There are 153 categorized articles with the type of the SNS
that i s used for research ( see Figure 2).
In the distribution graph of the type of SNS, 38% articles are
abou t research es on Wiki based educat ion . This can b e explain ed
by ICT advancement in Korea. With the well organized computer
facilities in public school and students’ owning PCs, students
and teachers can access the Internet conveniently. Also Wiki
may support group collaborative work, and therefore educators
and researchers have more concerns in cooperative tasks with
Wiki co mpar ed to o th er so cial media. The n ext hi ghl y res ear ch ed
area is about Twitter on education, 18% of the analyzed papers
were published on this subject. Wide spread smart mobile
devices stimulate the research on Twitter based education,
especially for online. On the other hand, only 9% of articles are
about Facebook. It is not easy to explain this phenomena, but it
may be du e to th e recen t int roduced so cial media fo r m in Ko rea
compared to other SNS types. The main purpose of Facebook
usage is usually building relationships with friends, thus
educat io nal research ers may ha ve li tt le concer n abo ut Faceb oo k
and edu cation yet.
Also, the multimedia delivered by the service may affect to
the SNS application to education research. For example, Nateon
and Kakaotalk mainly focus on real-time chatting are not easy
to use in education. As the Figure 2 shows, researches on the
applications are very few, and despite of the popularity of
Nateon and Kakaotalk in Korea, little research has been done
yet. P resumably the lack of usefu lness in edu cation is the main
cause of the result.
We also analyzed the yearly distribution of 153 articles
through 4 years from 2009 to 2012 (see Figure 3). As we can
see above Figure 3, SNS for education has been widely used
since 2010. Before 2010, almost of articles are about wiki or
blog. 24 articles were retrieved in 2009, the frequency of re-
search has dramatically increased since 2010. 43% of articles
were distributed in 2011. The total number of articles about
SNS based learning is still increasing taking in consideration
the retrieved date (April 2012). The rising number of Facebook
is quite notable.
In concl usion, SNS have b een widely used and became a ho t
issue in education since 2010 within Korea. This is closely
related to the spreads of smart mobile devices from students to
teachers, thus the familiarity of SNS has been increased among
Korean people.
Figure 2.
The type of SNS distribution (%).
Kakaota lk is a free short mess aging servic e provided Kaka . It can
deliver not only text but also multimedia data, and can be used as smart
mobile device application.
2Nateon is a chatting program available for smart device an d PC.
Tistory is a blog site ope rated in Korea.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Figure 3.
Annual distribution of article.
To figure out which level of school types are more applicable
to SNS and education, we analyzed papers according to the
school level; primar y, secondary, college level (see Figure 4).
As the Figure 4 shows, 31% of the articles research college
level students. Th e ages 20-30s are the most widely SNS using
group in Korea which closely links with the use of smart
mobile device. Next, 19% of the articles are about secondary
school students. However, compared to college and secondary
school level, Primary school has the smallest amount of article
This may due to the difficulty of treating smart mobile device
for the primary school students. In addition, there are few
primary school stu dents have smart mobile d evi ce.
To deter mine r esearch ers st ud y the ap plicat ion o f social medi a
within education, we investigated the research method applied
to each ar ticle; empirical research and non-empiri cal research .
As the Table 1 shows, the empirical research method occu-
pied 70% of the papers. The ratio comparing to non-empirical
research seems relatively high. However, considering the im-
port ance o f th e empirical method and the non-empirical metho d,
further research is required using the non-empirical metho d. As
you can see in Table 1, the empirical researches are using ex-
perimental method more than any other. Case study method is
relatively rare in S N S for educational research.
Domain of t he SNS Applica tion in Ed uc ation
1) Subject related articles
The distribution of subject that SNS used is shown Figure 5.
As shown Figure 5, the distribution leans too much towards IT
and l angu age. 44% o f the ar ticl es are ab ou t IT, such as teach in g
programming, cyber ethics and so on. This is due to the main
too l of teaching bein g an IT device. Becau se co llabo rati ve work
is effective when teaching IT related subjects, SNS based
educat ion in IT subj ects has widely been r es earched.
38% of th e articles are related to language edu catio n, such as
foreign language learning, especially, using Twitters and Face-
book. It is may be due to the main characteristics of Twitters
and Facebook being more appropriate for teaching language w ith
short sentences.
Since both Twitter and Facebook are easy to create individual
contents and delivering news just adding a few sentences along
with communication with short sentences, thus exposure time
of language can be increased through students using this SNS.
Only a small pr oportion o f articles are related to other subject s,
so further studies are needed to find an adequate way of
applying of SNS.
2) The remainder but in domain of education
From this meta-analysis, we found t hat there exist ar ticles no t
directly related to any subject but focus on teaching and learn-
ing. These articles can be classified as collaborative learning,
social relationship with students, learning strategy and so on.
As you can see i n Figure 6, 49% of the arti cles are relat ed to
learning, latent learning among people to people using SNS,
smart education, learning satisfaction level and collaborative
learning are the specific topic of this field. It reflects the
emerging concern about SNS for education among Koreans. In
fact, arti cles i n this domain were intensively distributed in 2011
and 2012. 32% of the articles are about social relationships,
considering online relation affects to offline relation, interaction
case study, building a relationship through SNS is the main
Figure 4.
Dist ribution of school level.
Tabl e 1.
Resear ch me thod d i s tr ibution.
Empirical method
Experim ent Su rvey Literature review Acti on research Case study
36% 19% 19% 20% 6%
Non-empirical method
Figure 5.
Distribution of subject related SNS articles.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Figure 6.
Article distribution not related to subject.
topic of this field. Through the fact that online friendship can
affect offline friendship (Kim, Choi, 2012), we can realize that
collaborative learning can be effective with the application of
SNS in education.
Conclusion and Suggestions
Summary of Characteristics
1) Rising types of SNS in Korean education
Many teachers and researchers have more concern about
SNS’s application in education. As you can see Figure 2, the
aspect of each SNS article’s annual distribution change has a
different pattern . The article rel ated with T witter and Faceboo k
is incr easing, bu t Wiki and Blog’s are d ecreasing. I t reflects th e
effect of Twitter and Facebook on education. Korean govern-
ment’s mast er plan, S MART learn ing can be eas ily accepted t o
the subjects who are in the educational field such as teachers
and students.
2) Biased article distribution in subject and school level
There exists uneven pattern in research of SNS for education.
For example, subjects are seriously biased to IT and language
education. Little research has been done in the other subjects
such as math, science, art, music, and so on. Definitely, SNS
can be used to teach another subject. Also, there exists little
research on the application of SNS at the primary school level
(see Figure 4). In order to accomplish the master plan for SMART
learning, primary schools have a concern for researchers.
Effective ways of applying SNS to primary school students has
to b e r es ear ched and d evel oped.
3) Lack of microscopic view reflecting each characteristics
of SNS
Each SNS has its own characteristics. Articles seldom con-
sider i ts detailed characterist ics. In other word s, researcher s are
taking a macroscopic view when applying SNS on education.
Therefore, thorough analysis needs to be preceded before ap-
plying SNS on education.
Suggestions for Further Research
1) Tak ing microsc opic view w he n applying SN S on e duc a ti on
Continuously improve teacher and researcher’s digital literacy
so that they can find out the effective way of applying SNS. If
they have detailed knowledge of the characteristics of each
SNS, they can take advantage of SNS and more conveniently
teach students. Furthermore, an adequate education model can
be developed when teaching students with SNS.
2) Collaborative learning model using SNS
Online relationships can affect offline relationships as well
(Kim, Choi, 2012). Considering the positive relationship among
group members affects team efficacy (Johnson, Johnson, 1992).
Twitter or Facebook based col laborative learning model can be
an in teresting sub ject for educators.
3) Balancing the research level and s ubject
Primary education is the core of education. Though it is dif-
ficult, because primary students are too young, finding an ef-
fective wa y to appl y SNS can b e a cri tical pr obl em for the ed u-
cators and researchers. Also, finding effective ways to apply
SNS to vari ous subjects can be a task for researchers.
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