Social network sites in formal and informal learning: potentials and challenges for participatory culture

  • Stefania Manca CNR ‐ Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche
Keywords: Social network sites, Participatory culture, Student Voice, Formal and informal learning, Social network, Cultura partecipativa, Apprendimento formale e informale



Social network sites are increasingly becoming instruments for expression of personal identity and collective participation, especially for younger generations. Participatory practices of various kinds are frequently leading to contamination between the different spheres of youngsters’ lives, including areas of formal and informal learning contexts. Alongside the benefits, however, there are also potential risks that must be taken into account. The acquisition of specific skills can help reduce these risks so that young people can make the most of the potential of these digital environments.


I social network stanno diventando sempre più strumenti di espressione dell’identità personale e di partecipazione collettiva, soprattutto per le generazioni più giovani. Pratiche partecipative di varia natura stanno evidenziando contaminazioni sempre più frequenti tra gli ambiti dell’apprendimento formale e i contesti informali in cui vivono i ragazzi. Accanto ai benefici occorre, però, tener conto anche dei potenziali rischi a cui si può andare incontro se non si possiedono delle competenze appropriate. L’acquisizione di competenze specifiche può aiutare a ridurre i rischi e a sfruttare al meglio le potenzialità di questi ambienti digitali.

Author Biography

Stefania Manca, CNR ‐ Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche

Stefania Manca is a researcher at the Institute of Educational Technology of the National Research Council of Italy. She has been active in the field of educational technology, technology‐based learning, distance education and e‐learning since 1995. She is currently investigating the value of social media and social networking sites for formal and informal learning purposes and in the professional development of teachers and faculty staff. She also analyses participatory practices in formal contexts of learning according to the Student Voice approach, and studies the use of social networking sites by persons with disabilities. She has published numerous articles on these topics and has given presentations at major conferences. She is also a member of committees and editorial boards of several scientific journals, and is co‐director of the Italian Journal of Educational Technology.