Social media in classrooms may not improve communication

Updated: May 06, 2010, 13:53 PM IST

Washington: A recent study by the Lab for Social Computing at Rochester Institute of Technology indicates that the use of social media in classroom settings has negligible effect on encouraging communication amongst students.

The results indicate that social media in classrooms may not prompt the same response as on MySpace or Facebook and does little to improve face-to-face communication amongst students.

“Many social media advocates have argued that the use of these tools in classroom settings could greatly enhance interaction and learning and assist shyer, more reserved students in becoming more involved, as has been seen in other online environments,” says Susan Barnes, associate director of the Lab for Social Computing and the leader of the research team. “However, our findings show that the incorporation of social media had no measurable impact on social connections, to the point that students did not consider other members of the class to be part of their social network.”

The research will be expanded to include multiple educational formats with different social media applications to measure how social connections differ from the classroom setting.

The results will aid educational planners to create better social media formats that have a greater impact on student social connections.

“The issues surrounding poor social network construction within online educational environments points to greater opportunities to examine how technology and mediated software can be better designed to suit the types of communication and interactions desired by our students,” says Christopher Egert, assistant professor of informatics, interactive games and media and member of the team.