Will Social Media Cause an Intellectual Divide?

Students are Connected

Students are Connected.

Approximately 95% of teens ages 12-17 are online, 76% use social networking sites, and 77% have cell phones.  (Pew Internet Project)

Why are Students Not Prepared for College?

Many instructors feel that students coming into the college classroom are not ready for college. They believe  that technology is at least partly to blame. Students are distracted from their studies by the continuous use of social networking.

Others feel that students are not prepared for college because  teachers rely on outdated models of pedagogy?

The Learning Styles of Millennial Students Do Not Match the Old Methods of Instruction.

Jeniece Lusk, a researcher and PhD in applied sociology at an Atlanta-based information technology company states,

Unless the educational paradigms used in our schools are changed to match the non-academic world of the Millennial student, I don’t foresee an increase in students’ abilities to analyze and use critical thinking.

Teachers are Frustrated.

College teachers continually express their frustration with students using cell phones in the classroom. Policies are written to prevent the use of cell phones and instructors attempt to enforce those policies. Yet, some students try to hide their cell phones in the classroom even at the risk of facing discipline or being withdrawn from the class.

What Should Teachers Do?

Teachers cannot continue to teach using the old methods of instruction. School cannot simply add social media into the curriculum, the education system must be completely redesigned to accommodate the learning styles of students who are accustomed to being connected to technology throughout their day.

 The Intellectual Divide.

Tin Tan Wee, an internet expert based at the National University of Singapore predicts that after 2020 more-enlightened educators will start developing curricula designed to tap a post-internet era. He predicts that smart young people who grow up with technology will become smarter while the majority of students will decline in knowledge.

All Young People are Not Digital Wizards.

Contrary to what the statistics might suggest, all young people are not digital wizards. When I surveyed a group of about 20 students in a rural community college, most students could not define social media. The majority used Facebook, only a few used Twitter and no one knew how to use  Google+ or LinkedIn. About half the students had cell phones, or maybe because of the cell phone policy, they would not all admit to owning a cell phone.

 What Do You Think?

What do you think? Will the intellectual divide increase? Do you find that students are continually distracted?

You Can Read the Full Pew Report Here:

Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

The Social Media Revolution


Social Media: The Tools of the Connected Generation

C is Not for Cookie any more

C is NOT for Cookie anymore

How do we get students in the community college more deeply engaged? Most community college students live at home rather than on campus. Many have jobs and families leaving little time to participate in college activities outside of class.

Social media can be a powerful force used to engage students in the community college.

We know that the traditional college students are more connected than ever before. Once called Generation Y or the Millennial student, some are now referring to Americans in the 18-34 year range as Generation C. The C is not for “Cookie” like it was when my children were growing up watching Sesame Street. C is for “connected.”

Their ownership of smartphones and other connected devices such as the Ipad or Kindle gives this generation of students the enhanced capability of engaging inside and outside the classroom walls. Faculty members are experimenting with these powerful social media tools to find new and exciting ways to raise the level of student engagement.

As social media becomes integrated into normal life, it will be a natural step to incorporate these tools into the college classroom.

There are some faculty members who resist social media in the classroom. They see this type of activity as nothing more than a distraction. Instead of spending time to learn how to effectively use social media to engage students, they are busy writing policies to prevent students from having access to their mobile devices in class.

Generation C students view social media as their God-given right.

There are challenges involved in grasping the benefits of social media in higher education. Social media tools have the potential to be much more than a fad. Yet, realizing the full benefits of social media will require research over an extended period of time.

Forget Generation Y: 18- to 34-Year-Olds Are Now ‘Generation C’ (Zoe Fox).

Five Social Media Lessons From the Cutting Edge(Dr. Layla McCay)

Is Social Media a Fad or a Fundamental Shift in the Way we Communicate: Why Should you Care?

Students use Social Media to Enhance Education

Image by Royalty-Free/Corbis

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)

Faculty in the Community College Should be on Facebook

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
Mark Twain

Why Should I Care?

The question that may be front and center on the minds of busy faculty members is, “Why should I care?” Why should faculty members take time out of their busy schedules to learn to use Facebook?

This short video demonstrates that Facebook and other forms of social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are not a fad but a fundamental shift in the way students communicate.

When I say Facebook Page, most faculty members are thinking of their personal profile. But this blog will discuss the benefits of having a Page in Facebook separate from your personal profile.

To create a page, you must have a personal profile in Facebook.

What is the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook personal profile?

The Facebook page that you have is a personal profile and you use this for sharing with your friends and family. You may also engage with students on your personal profile.

The Business or Fan Page allows other people to become Fans. Business Pages do not give you the ability to add friends like your personal profile page.

Business or Fan Page

Personal Profile

Maintains a fan list Maintains a friend list
Open Pages Open Profiles
People Like your Page Must ask people to be your “friend” and they must “accept.”
Update your status which gets shared with your Fans Update your status which gets shared with your friends
Can represent an individual, group, or company Meant to represent a single person

Why? Why should I care?

It is beneficial to you and to your college to have a strong web presence.


  • Optimal way to communicate with students.
  • Great way to distribute information to students. Just in case you have noticed, they are not nearly as likely to be on Blackboard as they are on Facebook
  • Possible to capture the attention of new audiences. Others will see our pages, and we might stir up some outside interest in what we are doing on campus.
  • Besides boasting over 800 million participants, people from virtually every demographic are on Facebook.
  • Your Facebook page is a way to engage students. We all know what the research has to say about engaging students. Students who are engaged are more likely to be successful and complete their education
  • According to a survey conducted in June by Educause, a majority of students (58%) felt that Facebook is “valuable” or “extremely valuable” to their college success.
  • Social media tools give a new energy to social learning.
  •   Millennials (born 1977 – 1998) thrive on social learning.

Will Social Media Replace LMSs in Higher Education?

Engaged College Students. Photo by Fotolio

More and more students use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to collaborate with their peers and instructors. Social media is reshaping the lives of students and faculty both inside and outside the classroom.

Students use Facebook to connect with each other to discuss homework, projects, and exams.

The lines between social lives and academic lives are becoming blurred. The classroom walls are crumbling and students expect educational opportunities to expand traditional time and space.

According to a survey conducted in June by Educause, a majority of students (58%) felt that Facebook is “valuable” or “extremely valuable” to their college success.  Social media tools give a new energy to social learning.  Millennials (born 1977 – 1998) thrive on social learning.

Most colleges use Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard, Edu 2.0, or Moodle. But students are more likely to use Facebook because it is a natural part of their lives. Faculty report that while it is hard to contact students through school email or LMS, students respond almost immediately when contacted via Facebook.

So will social media replace the LMS?

LMSs are beneficial in tracking student learning. The gradebook feature, attendance feature, and assignment sections provide the formal documentation that is necessary.

The social media networks give the informal communication and collaboration that young people love. Social networks are an extremely important addition to the LMS but not a replacement.

LMSs will continue to be enhanced to look more and more like a social network, but the LMSs will not replace the informal networks that students use outside of the classroom.

Instructors need to know how to engage students by combining the best features of the LMS with powerful social media platforms.