Adoption of Online Network Tools by Minority Students: The Case of Students of Ethiopian Origin in Israel

Meital Amzalag, Nelly Elias, Yael Kali
Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning  •  Volume 11  •  2015  •  pp. 291-312
Students of Ethiopian origin belong to one of the weakest sectors in the Jewish population of Israel. During their studies they have to deal with social alienation, cultural gaps, economic hardships, and racial stereotypes which reduce their chances to successfully complete their academic degree. In this respect, the present research asks whether online social media could provide those youngsters with tools and resources for their better social integration and adaptation to the academic life. For this purpose, the study was conducted in one of Israel’s largest academic colleges while adopting a design-based research approach, which advanced gradually on a continuum between ‘ambient’ and ‘designed’ technology-enhanced learning communities. The interventions applied for this study aimed at examining how they may encourage students of Ethiopian origin to expand their activities in the online social learning groups. The findings indicate that the main pattern of students of Ethiopian origin online participation was peripheral and limited to viewing only. Nevertheless, the level of their online activity has been improved after a series of two interventions, which also led to a slight improvement in indicators of their social integration and in a change in their usage of online learning groups from social to academic uses.
students of Ethiopian origin, immigrant’ social integration, social media, online learning groups, peripheral participation, Israel
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