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Abstract

While there has been a commitment in Higher Education (HE) to the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in formal education in the Irish Republic, little is known of the use of social-networking sites (SNSs) in informal learning by students in the Irish Republic, particularly at secondary-school level. Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence on how these choices compare with how Irish students are electing to use other Web 2.0 tools to informally assist their learning. This paper presents research from a survey of Irish students on their informal use of ICT/Web 2.0 tools, with a particular focus on Facebook, in preparation for their Leaving Certificate examination (state exams taken by Irish students at the end of their secondary-school cycle). The literature review looks at research that points to a preference by learners to demarcate SNSs from formal learning spaces, not as a simple desire to keep SNSs as separate from their academic activities, but to use these platforms in an identity-formation role as learners.

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