The introduction and adoption of social media tools has profound impacts and opportunities for students to learn from each other. Traditional learning paradigms have confined students to learning from a textbook, lectures, and study groups. The purpose of any particular study group varies, but includes goals like preparing for class discussion and studying for tests. The current educational technology trend is to use some type of Web 2.0 tool to augment information sharing in the classroom. However, the success of these tools have varied significantly, from abject non-use to extreme effectiveness in encouraging a shared information environment.
We are curious to understand the underlying motivations that drive or discourage students to share information such as personal class notes with each other. To explore these questions, we are conducting a qualitative research project comprised of in-depth classroom observations and student interviews around the topic of information sharing in educational settings. From this rich data we hope to identify design considerations for current and future educational tools and techniques.