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Abstract

Higher education institutions are increasingly using social software tools to support teaching and learning. Despite the fact that social software is often used in a social context, these applications can significantly contribute to the educational experience of a student. However, as the social software domain comprises a considerable diversity of tools, the respective tools can be expected to differ in the way they can contribute to teaching and learning. In this review on the educational use of social software, we systematically analyze and compare the diverse social software tools and identify their contributions to teaching and learning. By integrating established learning theory and the extant literature on the individual social software applications we seek to contribute to a theoretical foundation for social software use and the choice of tools. Case vignettes from several UK higher education institutions are used to illustrate the different applications of social software tools in teaching and learning.

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