MyNotes - Using Social Media to Support Student Engagement

What a fascinating article! Definitely check out the findings...essentially that engaged students are going to give their all in "Web 2.0" enhanced environments, the power of learning communities to help students feel connected rather than isolated, and the ability to create differentiated learning paths that blend "text" and multimedia.

JOLT - Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
    • MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
      • Vol. 6, No. 4, December 2010
        • Using Online Social Media to Support Preservice Student Engagement
          • Camille Rutherford Brock University St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1 CA
            • The Web 2.0 moniker has now been applied to a plethora of social media websites that rely heavily on the active engagement of their users to create, manipulate, and share content.
              • a new era of teaching and learning is on the rise as student-centered, technologically and socially rich resources promises to change both pedagogy and andragogy (Baird & Fisher, 2006). The 'social' element of these social media resources supports the development of learning environments that offer learners the ability to connect, interact, and share ideas in efficient and effective ways. The educational use of these resources has the potential to foster a radical and transformational shift in teaching and learning as we know it (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007).
                • Social media is characterized as Web 2.0 resources that emphasize active participation, connectivity, collaboration , and sharing of knowledge and ideas among users (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007).
                  • Social media resources can be divided into three distinct categories
                    • content sharing
                      • and organizing
                        • content creation and editing websites
                          • social network sites
                            • that serve as online communities that enable users to connect with old or new friends, and share ideas and resources.
                              • Social network sites are defined as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).
                                • there is a growing body of research that indicates that students have integrated SNS into their academic life as a tool for communicating with classmates about course-related topics, coordinating study groups , and collaborating on assignments (Salaway, Caruso, Nelson, & Ellison, 2008).
                                  • Using social media to support educational endeavors leverages the benefits of in-person learning communities with the benefits of using technology to support student engagement.
                                    • learning communities can have a positive impact on student learning and the level of university student interaction and cooperation (Tinto, 2000).
                                      • there is a positive relationship between academic uses of technology and the occurrences of active and collaborative learning, and the frequency of student-faculty interactions (Laird & Kuh, 2005). Both of these benefits are considered to contribute to the level of student engagement, which has been determined to significantly impact student success (Kuh, 2001a, 2001b).
                                        • The dynamic nature of these social media tools allow learners to become active participants or co-producers rather than passive consumers of content, so that learning is a participatory and social process (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007)
                                          • the effective use of social media resources can result in a constructivist learning environment which allows students to share their interpretations of the course content, and utilize their individual life experience and multiple intelligences, while working as a part of a collaborative team (Baird & Fisher, 2006).
                                            • By selecting multiple social media resources, instructors can create differentiated learning paths that can be bundled together to create dynamic learning modules. These personalized and customized learning experiences may be better suited to address the diverse needs of today's learners (Baird & Fisher, 2006; Christensen, Horn, & Johnson, 2008).
                                              • remaining in the public sphere allows learners to benefit from the contributions of other learners outside of the confines of the course, as well as with noted experts and practitioners within these content areas.
                                                • when students are engaged there is a greater likelihood of increased rates of student persistence and improved academic achievement (Kuh, Kinzie, Cruce, Shoup, & Gonyea, 2007).
                                                  • by institutionalizing practices that increase the time and energy students spend engaging in these types of activities, student engagement may increase. This increase in student engagement may also increase the likelihood that students will persist in their academic coursework. Increased academic persistence would inevitably have a favorable impact on their continued progress toward degree completion and promote academic success in comparison to the low engaged student (Kuh et al., 2007; Umbach & Wawrzynski, 2005).
                                                    • Chickering and Ehrmann (1996) note that technology can also create a less intimidating means of student-faculty interactions than asking questions in front of a large lecture hall of classmates.
                                                      • Student engagement is enhanced when students have the opportunity to work with their peers, share ideas and resources, and reflect on the different perspectives their fellow students bring to class (Chickering & Gamson, 1987).
                                                        • social media can be used to support the creation of supportive social networks and learning communities. The perception that a student is a part of a caring and supportive campus environment not only reduces feelings of isolation, but has been identified as a factor that contributes to increasing persistence rates and academic success for at-risk students (Kuh et al., 2007).
                                                          • Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves (Chickering & Gamson, 1987)."
                                                            • With a greater number of students using social media to interact with their classmates outside of class to prepare assignments rather than using these same resources to discuss or complete assignments, the results highlight the 'social' nature of social media resources. These findings support previous research that indicated that students tend to use the Internet to communicate with other students (Hu & Kuh, 2001; Laird & Kuh, 2005) more so than to actually complete their coursework.
                                                              • engaged students will take advantage of all of the available resources, including technological and social media resources (Kennedy, 2000), to enhance their educational experience.
                                                                • low engaged students may fail to capitalize on the opportunities that social media provides to increase their level of engagement. Regardless, student-faculty interaction is noted as one of the key contributors to high student engagement (Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Kuh, 2001b; Kuh et al., 2007) and using social media to enhance student-faculty relationships can have positive educational consequences (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996).
                                                                  • The results indicated that there was a correlation between the frequency of use of social media resources and how the participants described the quality of instruction and overall program quality.
                                                                    • the creation of learning communities that has been shown to have a positive impact on student learning (Tinto, 2000).
                                                                      • The results may have even been influenced by the impact of the active and collaborative learning experiences that social media supports (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996) that previous research has demonstrated to have a positive impact on student engagement (Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Kuh, 2001a; Kuh et al., 2007).
                                                                        • The benefits of using social media to support teaching and learning will not be fully realized until there is a better understanding of how the social nature of these social media resources can be used to entice low engaged or disengaged students to interact in educationally purposeful ways with their high-engaged peers and instructors so that it contributes to the success of all students.

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