Integration of social media in Thailand higher education

Most Thai people use social media technology' daily to communicate, share information with others, and catch up with the news or interesting, trending information. The top three social media tools for general use in Thailand are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They are also often used to support teaching and learning. Line (an instant messaging application), Skype, Web blogs, YouTube, and Google are also used widely' in Thai education (Bunsong, 2018).

Most Thai undergraduate students are digital learners who grew up with digital technology'. They are comfortable using technology. They' learn online via technology' application and social media. They like to express their opinions, and share information and experiences with others. Through social media, they can see the views of others from differing educational cultures. They communicate on a 24/7 basis in short messages and respond to messages quickly. They like to learn in new and challenging situations, solving problems by doing. Therefore, it is often suitable to use social media technology' to assist educational practice and enrich the learning experiences of this generation of students.

Regarding the use of social media to support higher education in Thailand, the most frequently used technologies are YouTube, Facebook, and Slideshare. Most Thai students have positive attitudes and enthusiasm to use social media in their learning practices (Seechaliao, 2014). For example, Thai undergraduate students who studied at Kasetsart University' in Thailand demonstrated positive attitudes and opinions toward social media’s impact on learning, especially in the communication aspect (Sarawanawong et al., 2017). In Sarawanawong and her colleagues’ (2017) study, most students mentioned that they had previously used social media tools for more than seven years. The tools they used most often were Line, Facebook, YouTube, and Linkedln. These students always accessed social media via smartphones. They used social media to support their learning processes in various ways, such as communication for group work interactions with friends and instructors, downloading learning materials, and submitting homework. They also frequently watched movies and listened to music via social media tools (Sarawanawong et al, 2017).

Wannaphapha (2017) advocated that social media is very' good for teaching and learning in Thailand as a communication tool between teachers and students. Students can communicate with teachers and get timely' responses when they' encounter problems. It helps reduce the relationship gap between teachers and students and also helps build trust between teachers and students.

In Thailand, instructors’ behaviors and beliefs influence what social media is used in the classroom and how it will be integrated into their courses. Seechaliao (2014) indicated that social media could be used as an instructional tool to teach, enhance collaborative learning, and improve project abilities. In Seechaliao’s (2014) study, the instructors believed that social media was easy to use and saved time and money' for online courses. Seechaliao also suggested that the most suitable blended learning ratio between an online setting and a classroom should be 70% in the classroom and 30% online.

Hemprakan (2016) studied undergraduate students’ use of social media for course-related learning at Chulalongkorn University' in Thailand. The study results revealed that most undergraduate students used media (i.e., YouTube) to share facts and learning-related materials because of its ubiquity. Also, most of the students used Internet search engines, particularly Google, for their academic and personal use. The information found from the Internet was often integrated into their class presentations. However, students may' not have adequate knowledge and skills to assess whether the information they find online is trustworthy' and credible. Often, students cannot discern what information is true or false (Hemprakan, 2016). Hemprakan (2016) also pointed out that students had a severe lack of knowledge about copyright issues. Even though they' used social media in their everyday practices to access information, students may be unknowingly in violation of copyright when they access and use information from online sources.

In general, Thai people are comfortable and knowledgeable about social media technology'. Social media technology has become more widely' accepted and used to support teaching and learning in Thai higher education. Although there are numerous benefits of social media use for higher education, educators and instructors have the responsibility to teach students how to safely adopt social media and foster students’ critical thinking skills during the process of implementing social media in higher education.

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