A series of studies have provided us with a foundation of evidence of how social networks are being used effectively for more than just socializing. ( More than ever, journalists and educators alike must gain a better understanding of how users interact with information in social media.
We synthesize and test accurate, ethical journalism with social media such as Twitter and Facebook groups and measure how younger populations seek, select and share information. Answers to our research questions inform both the fields of education and journalism. How can social media affect perceived credibility or importance and understanding of news? How can social media enhance students’ engagement with and collaboration in courses that blend face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings?
The popularity of social media in education and journalism are no longer novel. What remains limited, however, is the empirical evidence from systematic research of how social media can best be used in formal and informal learning environments. To investigate, we correlate personalization and interactivity in social media content with user engagement and learning.
Our ongoing classroom research that began in 2010, for example, suggests that social media can enhance engagement through significant increases in students’ perceived class cohesion, enjoyment and interest in collaboration. At the same time, however, it is interesting that student survey results (below) suggest that while most think classes with Facebook are “innovative,” not all students think integration of Facebook with BOTH their personal and educational lives is appropriate.
Yaros, Ronald A. “Social Media In Education: Effects of Personalization and Interactivity On Engagement and Collaboration,” In H.S. Noor Al-Deen, J.A. Hendricks (Eds.) Social Media: Usage And Impact, (pp. 57-74); Lexington Books.
This chapter presents evidence collected across two semesters to suggest that both course enjoyment and the desire to collaborate increased after Facebook use. Specifically, after only brief and optional Facebook assignments, statistically significant increases were measured in students’ knowing and liking classmates plus interest in collaborating in both group and single partner projects. Increases were also measured in students’ comfort level sharing in class and feeling as though their opinions were respected. Interestingly, at the same time, knowing classmates in other classes and enjoyment of other courses systematically decreased, even though the Facebook assignments were conducted during periods when no class meetings were held (i.e. spring break).
Yaros, Ronald A. (2009) Book Chapter: “Producing Citizen Journalism or Producing Journalism for Citizens: A New Multimedia Model To Enhance Understanding of Complex News. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.) Journalism and Citizenship: New Agendas in Communication, (pp. 71-90). New York, NY: Routledge.