A recent study was conducted by Dr. Reynold Junco at Lock Haven University to measure the effects of social media, Twitter in particular, in student engagement. The study was done in a controlled environment with 70 students using Twitter and 55 students using traditional methods, and it followed the National Survey of Student Engagement guidelines to measure the data collected.
Twitter was used for class discussions after class, homework assignments, reminders on activities, exams, deadlines, etc and academic support. Classrooms that used Twitter had greater participation from students than those who weren’t.
Student feedback was excellent. At the beginning, most were hesitant to mix social media such as Facebook accounts with school work because it would interrupt their study time. However, with Twitter they were able to stay on top of their workloads.
In addition, students that were reluctant to ask questions in class or even from other classmates, were able to get the support they needed via the Twitter streams and discussions.
Other results include increase in GPA and grades for the students that were using Twitter as well as student interaction with classmates of different backgrounds.
Another goal Dr. Junco had with this experiment was to encourage educators to integrate social media in their classrooms to continue to engage students in a way that is familiar to them. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning in a November issue. The video below was produced with information on this study.
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