Children First: Social Media use in the classroom - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Social Media use in the classroom

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98 percent of 18 to 24 year olds utilize some sort of social media.

So that begs the question- would it be beneficial to integrate those tools into higher education learning?

Professors at Black Hills State University set out to test that theory and add another dimension to the traditional classroom style learning environment.

"Social media websites are changing how the game's played really," said Greg Stagner, a Junior at Black Hills State.

He adds it used to be a way for people to simply waste time but social media use has evolved.

"It's taken a huge step especially in these last couple years," said Stagner.

A huge step into the working world and the classroom.

"We don't want to add it just to be current. It has to have a purpose, it has to a solid base in instruction, it has to add materially to what we're covering. That's an important qualifier," said Dr. Barbara Looney, Assistant Professor of Management at Black Hills State University.

Dr. Looney, Professor Gina Gibson, and Dr. Mary Caton-Rosser joined together to research the use of social media in the classroom.

"We're trying to teach them how to approach social media in a logical and smart way as well as professional," said Professor Gibson.

All three professors say integrating social media such as Face Book and Twitter has changed their classroom dynamic.

"If there's a space there made for the class, they can participate and have discussion any time of the day," explains Dr. Caton-Rosser.

"It kind of opens the door to conversation and I've seen people kind of blossom and verbalize when they realize 'oh my ideas are valuable and important'," said Professor Gibson.

The professors say the use of social media in the classroom also helps prepare students for its use in their future careers.

"The working world has embraced it. So I think our gift to them is awareness that in a business setting you're going to be posting a different type of things," said Dr. Looney.

A move Stagner understands and has already embraced.

"I have an artwork album on my face book. I can pull it up on my phone, and I can pull it up where ever I want to. I don't necessarily have to my solid portfolio with me," said Stagner.

The professor's research paper will be presented at the Fifth Annual International Conference of Education, Research, and Innovation in Spain in November. They'll use the conference to discuss their paper, as well as network with other colleagues from around the globe.

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