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All of us are busy at work. We can’t get everything done.
So the thought at the forefront of most everyone’s mind is, “Why should I care about social media.”
It is time consuming. Faculty wonder if it will positively impact students or simply be another temptation for distraction.
Will the time spent on social media pay off in improved student learning outcomes and retention?
If social media makes a difference, which social media platform should you be on?
Can Social Media Improve Student Learning Outcomes?
Social media is too new to have conclusive research to demonstrate that these tools will improve student learning outcomes. Yet, there is an abundance of research to suggest that engagement does have a positive impact on student learning.
The richness of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogs, YouTube, and LinkedIn can be used to increase faculty-to-student, student-to-student, and student-to-content engagement.
Engagement is what gives social media tools the power to impact student learning outcomes.
Can Social Media Improve Retention?
Again, the research is not there to demonstrate that social media tools can improve retention. However, social media tools can be used to influence many factors that have been shown to have an impact on retention. These factors include but are not limited to learning communities, faculty mentoring, institutional commitment, social support, and social involvement.
Students are Already Using Social Media to Enhance Their Education
Research suggests that students use social media to enhance their education. Social media are used and loved by both the traditional and non-traditional students. Generation Y, also known as the Millennial generation, (those born in the 1980s and early 1990s) feel that it is their right to use social media tools.
Social Media Can Be Used to Break Down the Walls of the Classroom
Facebook and Google+ are great tools to help build community and institutional commitment. Twitter, Blogs, and YouTube can be used to build learning communities and strengthen writing skills. All of these tools can help students collaborate on projects.
Faculty know that students are more likely to communicate with them using social media than they are to visit them in their closet/office. If you haven’t noticed, young people do not use the phone or email as their preferred method of communication.
Social media is not a fad, but a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.
Thank you for your comments.
You may also be interested in reading:
Faculty Should be on Facebook
Will LinkedIn Replace the Resume?
The Hazards of Being too Public in the Age of Social Media (Steve Tobak)