Here is another interesting infographic. This one comes from Education Database Online Blog. I like this approach. It takes survey results and makes a case for both a positive and negative outcome. I also like that it leaves it up to the student to take this information as input to come to their own conclusion. Finally I like that they boil down the analysis to 3 questions:
- Does it affect student’s grades?
- How will using social media effect your college life experience?
- What effect does social media have on the emotional health of students?
Second, care must be given to the problem of multi-tasking. Look at the first topic, grades. Grades are better in classes that use Twitter with the note that 75% of students want to collaborate online. The bad side shows students that check Facebook while studying have 20% lower grades, with 79% not believing this. This is consistent with the studies on multi-tasking as found in my post titled, Digital Natives. The brain loses efficiency when it changes from one activity to another (studying to Facebook). It's called Task Switch Cost. And what's amazing is that the students who do the most multi-tasking think they are the best at it with tests indicating they are the worst. So the results above are consistent. One way to fix this is for the universities to implement some discipline through their wireless LANs. The technology exists such that they could limit access during certain hours while not limiting access to emergency sources. It may be extreme but if, for example, all social media access is prevented from 7 to 9 PM every weeknight, this would force on-campus students off social media sites. It wouldn't force them to study but would give them an opportunity. The other remedy for the multi-tasking problem is long form writing such as a blog or paper.
Third, I think the universities need to develop more sensitivity to social media cries for help. In their depression findings 25% of college students show serious depression in their status updates. Why not leverage this reality to help those with depression. College is a difficult transition but in the past the signs were not known until after it was too late. Helping students look out after each other with regard to depression AND bullying could turn social media into a remedy. This is school and not professor solution but given the extensive online presence of most colleges, shouldn't be an issue.
My point is that social media, like television, is a method of communications. If education uses these user-generated content tools to increase learning, then they have done their job. If they take a hands-off approach then these tools will generate junk like the television equivalent of The Housewives of New Jersey. I am not optimistic that this will happen quickly. Nor do I think the university environment fosters innovation based on delivering higher quality to the customer: the student. But at some point someone will start and eventually it will take off.
To see the article that lists the Top 100 Social Media Colleges click on this image. You can even see their social media sites and follow your favorites if you wish.
What do you think? Should education attempt to reduce social media use or embrace it? Or is this one more distraction that is moving the focus from what students should be learning?