Can spontaneous Internet activity serve the goals of school?
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The culture of the social media, usually engaged out of school, is fundamentally different from that of the school. The differences can be reduced to a culture of spontanity, absence of prescribed learning goals and voluntary participation vs. a culture of goal-directedness, regimentation and involuntary participation. The question arises whether the culture of social media, not just as ICT tools, can become part of school learning while retaining their uniqueness, and while school retains its. The purposes of this study are to explore (a) To what extent do students actively participate in the use of the Facebook, as suggested? and (b) To what extent did their participation affect their prejudices, stereotypes of and attitudes toward the «other side»? Two groups of students were selected for the study – an 11th grade class from a native Norwegian neighborhood school in Bergen and a similar class, as similar as possible, from a new immigrants' neighborhood school. The students interacted a great length of time. Two similar versions of a questionnaire were created, one for the native Norwegian class and one for the immigrant class. The study did not yield any results that support the assumption that the use of Facebook as a spontaneous tool for out of school intergroup elaboration and reflection on school material would lead to significant changes of stereotypes, attitudes, desired social distance or feelings toward the «other side»: New immigrants to Norway. The changes we detected were an increase of negative view of immigrants by the native Norwegian group, and an increase in immigrants' willingness for social contact with native Norwegians. These findings are discussed.