I have been chewing over the brief article at The Chronicle about how a study found “No Link Between Social-Networking Sites and Academic Performance.”
Eszter Hargittai, associate professor of communication studies and sociology at Northwestern, suggests that the benefits of social-networking sites may cancel out the distractions they pose.
Here is a newsflash people: the benefits of reading can also cancel out the distractions it poses. Do you really think spending hours each day devouring the National Enquirer improves academic performance? Nope. Spending time on a social network is about as broad a category as reading now – with good and bad examples of both existing out there.
Someday… just maybe academics will figure out it is not the tool itself that matters but how it is used. Until then we will have to continue performing studies that tell us the obvious.
But I fully recommend that you bookmark the study – it will save you time and energy the next time you have to respond to “I heard that students are failing because of Facebook” for the millionth time.
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.