Using Psychology to help Educators Understand the Role of Social Media in the Social and Academic Lives of Students

This source preferred by Jacqui Taylor

Authors: Taylor, J.

Start date: 28 June 2012

Publisher: Europlat Academic Network

Place of Publication: York

This talk will highlight the ways that research from Psychology can help teachers and lecturers understand the role of social media for students and for their learning. The first part of this talk will reflect upon the changes to the psychology student body, in relation to the way technology has affected their academic and social needs, skills and experiences. It is 10 years since Prensky (2001) coined the terms ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’. This talk will consider the differences between students entering FE/HE this year to those entering 10, 20 and 30 years ago, when many current teachers and lecturers began their teaching careers. ‘Millenial’ students have grown up using the internet not just for learning (e.g. VLEs), but for communicating and socialising (social networking), and for entertainment (gaming). The second part of this talk will review research linking these new social media to education. For example, Gee (2004) highlights how video games can be used to help learning and literacy. My own work (Taylor, 2010) has discussed the links between location-independent online learning and emotion and individual differences. Research by Kirschner & Karpinski (2010) showed how SNS could be used in education and how this related to academic performance. Finally, some potential visions for the future will be proposed where I will draw on recent cognitive (e.g. 2011) and neuroscience research (e.g. Greenfield, 2010; Carr, 2010) to discuss how using the internet could be cognitively and biologically changing the way students learn and how an understanding of this can be used to design new learning experiences.

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