An experiment conducted at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania showed that students who were asked to use Twitter as a means of discussing assignments were more engaged in their classwork than those using more conventional means. Two groups of students in pre-health professional programs were asked to share their experiences during a day spent job shadowing and to comment on reading assignments. The first group served as a control group, while the second group was asked to use Twitter to complete the assignments.
The study used a 19-question survey based on the National Survey of Student Engagement, to measure student participation once at the beginning of the semester and once at the end. All the students were first-years enrolled in seminar-style courses. Not only did the students engaged in Twitter discussions show more engagement, it also improved their grades. The Twitter group on average earned a GPA of .5 higher for the semester than the control group.
Dr. Reynol Junco, author of the study, hopes that the project will illustrate to educators how social networking can be used to foster learning. He has been researching the effects of technology on learning and students for the past ten years.
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