According to a new study conducted by the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and Economics, social networks do not have bearing on school grades. This news should offer some reassurance to parents concerned about their childrens’ exposure and use of social networking sites; especially, in terms of the effects social networking sites have on children’s academic performance. As you might already know, this has been a topic of concern in two of my previous blog posts.
The research found that heavy and light users of social networks in general has the same ratio of “good” and “bad” grades – roughly translates into two-to-one. The research which surveyed 1,127 UNH students across disciplines indicated that their patterns of graders were noticeably similar regardless of whether students were heavy or light users of social media. What all of this boils down to is, college students – young adult Millenials, who have grown up with the social networks, primarily use it for interacting with each other. Because they are among the early adopters of social networking, they have integrated its use into their academic lives which would explain why its use has very little impact on their academic performance.
The research findings should be positive news for the National School Board Association which has be promoting the concept of online education long before google and wikipedia were household names. According to Ann Flynn, director of education technology for the National School Board Association, incorporating social networking tools into educational curriculum is the way forward. We need to use the Internet to involve students in project based assignments in the real world, taking place around the world. Children today are using social networking sites to talk about education, not only inconsequential topics. Of the students, ages 9 to 17, who participated in an online survey conducted by the National School Board Association, 60 percent reported that some of the most popular social networking topics were college planning, learning outside of school, careers, and schoolwork. They also report posting writing and art projects that may have nothing to do with schoolwork.
Borrowing Johanna Sorrentino’s words, the next time your child says her blog is educational, get curious; sit down and check out the blog with her. You might just learn something new yourself.