Rey JUNCO have been looking for such a study for a long time : “Today as I was scouring the web looking for resources for a paper I am working on I came across this awesome video hidden deep inside the million videos in YouTube. The video features a study conducted by some university professors on the potential use of social networking sites in higher education. It shows how one of the instructors used Twitter with his undergraduate students to consolidate what they learned in class and helped them when they were out of class. Besides providing some of the ways teachers can use social media to foster their students learning, the results of the study are also amazing. A higher percentage of undergrad students who participated in this Twitter experience were reported to have benefited from Twitter in their learning. I am sharing with you this video below and looking forward to your feedback.”
Despite the widespread use of social media by students and its increased use by instructors, very little empirical evidence is available concerning the impact of social media use on student learning and engagement. This paper describes our semester-long experimental study to determine if using Twitter — the microblogging and social networking platform most amenable to ongoing, public dialogue — for educationally relevant purposes can impact college student engagement and grades. A total of 125 students taking a ﬁrst year seminar course for pre-health professional majors participated in this study (70 in the experimental group and 55 in the control group). With the experimental group, Twitter was used for various types of academic and co-curricular discussions. Engagement was quantiﬁed by using a 19-item scale based on the National Survey of Student Engagement. To assess differences in engagement and grades, we used mixed effects analysis of variance (ANOVA) models, with class sections nested within treatment groups. We also conducted content analyses of samples of Twitter exchanges. The ANOVA results showed that the experimental group had a signiﬁcantly greater increase in engagement than the control group, as well as higher semester grade point averages. Analyses of Twitter communications showed that students and faculty were both highly engaged in the learning process in ways that transcended traditional classroom activities. This study provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilize faculty into a more active and participatory role.