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SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADOLESCENT LEARNING

Social Media and Adolescent Learning Shahrzad Sadrpour California State University Long Beach

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADOLESCENT LEARNING

Social Media and Adolescent Learning The goal of this literature review is to capture the positive role of social media websites on adolescent learning outcome. Social media is a phenomenal global platform that allows multiple forms of collaboration and learning style become more convenient (Forkosh-Baruch & Hershkovitz, 2012; Friedman, 2005). Social media can be defined as a technology based networking tool that focuses on social aspects of the Internet and creates broader communication, collaboration, and creative expression (Dabbagh & Reo, 2011). More than three-quarters (76%) of social media users have been reported to be children between the ages of 12-17 years old (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, Zickuhr, and Pew Internet & American Life, 2010). Thus, to increase students academic involvement, the educational system educators have a great opportunity to create a better learning practice by using various social media websites that adolescents enjoy and use on a daily basis (Buus, 2011). Using social media sites in education promotes self-regulated learning; replaces passive learning with more interactive academic engagement, and shifts the focus from information to communication (Buus, 2011). As social media websites continue to gain more popularity among adolescents, a majority of users are believed to use the sites for its intended purposes such as finding friends, potential partners, and creating personal or fictional profiles for entertainment purposes (Boyed, 2007). However, researchers have found that majority of students tend to interact and view social media websites quite differently when its used for educational purposes opposed to personal purposes (Forkosh-Baruch & Hershkovitz, 2012).

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADOLESCENT LEARNING

Researchers are learning that integrating social media tools into the curriculum can have a positive impact on academic learning (Buus, 2011); numerous features and applications offered by these sites can create a better teaching and learning format in formal educational settings such as sharing knowledge, collaboration, information finding, and academic achievements (Dabbagh & Reo, 2011; Forkosh-Baruch & Hershkovitz, 2012). One of the important aspects of using social media tools for classroom activities is the opportunity to facilitate student to student and student to teacher interactions (Bradly, 2011). Students learn to actively and collaboratively participate in terms of sharing knowledge, receiving feedback from peers and instructors, and become more engaging in the learning process (Chen and Bryer, 2012). Another positive impact of using social media in education is the learning environment that allows student collaborate on assignments that are placed in real-world situations; it increases the academic engagement, communication, and learning autonomy that can potentially enhance critical thinking and language skills (Buus, 2011; Dabbagh & Reo, 2011). Despite the amount of time most adolescents spend on the Internet on a daily basis, regular usage of social media allows them develop new skills and learn to present their identity in a space that is privately controlled (Palfrey, Gasser, 2008). For instance, educators, educational system designers (Forkosh-Baruch & Hershkovitz, 2012) are learning that integrating social media sites for educationally related activities are ideal tools to engage learners both individually and collaboratively (Buus, 2011). Social media websites are great learning platforms for academic group or individual activities in which the learning setting shifts from teacher-centered approach

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADOLESCENT LEARNING

to learner-centered approach (Buus, 2011). In addition, integrating social media sites with classroom activities not only helps improve students self-esteem and psychological well-being, yet it also helps to link the informal learning to the formal learning environment that promotes collaborative learning (Chen and Bryer, 2012; Dabbagh & Reo, 2011; Suler, 2004). Similarly, Bradly (2011), in support to the educational benefits, conducted a case study where he selected eighty students, between the ages of 14 to 17 years old, to complete a class project using various social media sites. The result revealed that majority of participants had a better learning outcome when the social media site was used. The same researcher noted that interaction with social media websites creates a user centered-environment that increases student involvement in educational content and academic performance. Another similar study supporting social media in educational setting is by Paul and Baker (2012), they suggest that, particular websites such as Blogger and Twitter are great tools for students to improve their grades in educationally related ways; mainly because the dialog and characteristics of these sites allow students to receive instant feedback which can increase the interaction and academic engagement. The authors suggest that it is very important to involve students in an active learning environment to establish academic goals. Despite all the possibilities technology has created for a better learning, the use of social media for learning appears to be quite underdeveloped in the educational field. In a study by Chen and Bryer (2012) the researchers determined that the most effective way to make a better learning environment possible is for educators to integrate social media websites with their curriculum for educational purposes. Much of the research

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADOLESCENT LEARNING

suggests educators and administrators should get into a habit of using social media websites in education. Educators must connect the value of social media sites to education in order to better increase the social context of learning, create a high quality communication, and increase students engagement and achievements (Buus, 2011; Forkosh-Baruch & Hershkovitz, 2012). In conclusion, the emerging research suggests that social media websites are great learning platforms for adolescents to learning and achieve academic goals. However, due to the lack of training, knowledge, and research available to schools, educators avoid social media sites and limit their class format to traditional lectures. One of the most important things for better learning is for the educational system change the teaching and learning strategies. Educators and administrators must learn to integrate various social media sites to class lectures and class activities thus they can engage students into a fun and effective method of learning.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADOLESCENT LEARNING

Reference

Boyd, D. (2007). Why youth (heart) social network sites: The role of networks publics in teenage social life.

Bradly, K. (2010). The use of alternative social networking sites in higher educational settings: Interactive online learning, 9(2), 151-170.

Buus, L. (2012). Scaffolding teachers integrate social media into a problembased learning approach. Electronic journal of e-learning, 10(1), 13-22.

Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating instructional strategies for using social media in formal and informal learning. International review of research in open and distance learning, 13(1), 87-104.

Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal learning environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. Internet and higher education, 15(1), 3-8.

Forkosh-Baruch, A. & Hershkovitz, A. (2012). A research study of israeli education institute. Internet and education, 15(1), 58-56.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADOLESCENT LEARNING

Friedman, T.L. (2005). The world is flat: The ten forces that flattened the world. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

LaRiviere, K., Snider, J., Stromberg, A., & O'Meara, K. (2012). Protest: Critical lessons of using digital media for social change. About campus, 17(3), 10-17.

Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., Zickuhr, K., & Pew Internet & American Life, P. (2010). Social media & mobile internet use among teens and young adults. Millennials. Pew internet & american life project.

Moran, M., Seaman, J., Tinti-Kane, H., & Babson Survey Research, G. (2011). Teaching, learning, and sharing: How today's higher education faculty use social media. Babson survey research group.

Palfrey, J., Gasser, U. (2008). Born digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives.

Paul, J., & Baker,H. (2012). Effect of social networking on student academic performance. Computers in human behavior. 2(2), 24-29.

Suler, J.R (2004). Do boys (and Girls) just wanna have fun? Retrieved February 5, 2013, from: http://www-usr.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/genderswap.html