What is most effective?
A 2007 study found that 94% of first year college students spent time on social networking sites in a typical week. (Abe & Jordan 2013) While social media can be considered disengaging or distracting, some professors have found that by incorporating the social media as part of their discussion, students are more likely to be engaged in class, thereby "exploiting disruptive technologies to induce
tremendous changes to pedagogical delivery by instituting student-regulated, collaborative learning
environments." (Rambe 2012) It also provides a way to keep all students accountable, especially in large lecture classrooms. (Abe & Jordan) In fact, one study, developed to determine how both male and female students perceive social media used within the course, found that both sexes, “perceived social media favorably, with no significant difference in perception between the two.” (Abe & Jordan)
Some argue that social media can blur the lines between personal and professional communication, but it also has been argued that social media can also be beneficial by blurring the lines between face-to-face and online interaction. If a student does not feel comfortable speaking in front of a large classroom, they might feel more comfortable tweeting their response during the class, for example. (Abe & Jordan) Social media also provides an outlet for teachers to take students on virtual field trips (see the Second Life case study) without any actual financial commitment, and can allow students to interact with people despite geographic barriers (see the YouTube and Skype case study).
Integrating outlets like twitter can offer students a "low-stress way to ask questions, share class and campus event reminders, provide academic support, and help students connect with one another." (Abe & Jordan) Also, simply interacting with students in a social networking site they are familiar with (like facebook), has been shown to help students relate to their teachers, almost like building a virtual rapport, which in turn "may lead students to higher levels of anticipated motivation and affective learning." (Abe & Jordan)