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Educational Benefits Of Social Networking Sites Uncovered

June 13, 2011

An article published in the ScienceDaily back in 2008 focuses on a study by the University of Minnesota. Although it’s been a few years since the publication of this article, I think it’s an interesting piece that has relevance today.

“In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered the educational benefits of social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. The same study found that low-income students are in many ways just as technologically proficient as their counterparts, going against what results from previous studies have suggested.

The study found that, of the students observed, 94 percent used the Internet, 82 percent go online at home and 77 percent had a profile on a social networking site. When asked what they learn from using social networking sites, the students listed technology skills as the top lesson, followed by creativity, being open to new or diverse views and communication skills.

Data were collected over six months this year from students, ages 16 to 18, in thirteen urban high schools in the Midwest. Beyond the surveyed students, a follow-up, randomly selected subset were asked questions about their Internet activity as they navigated MySpace, an online forum that provides users with e-mail, web communities and audio and video capabilities.

“What we found was that students using social networking sites are actually practicing the kinds of 21st century skills we want them to develop to be successful today,” said Christine Greenhow, a learning technologies researcher in the university’s College of Education and Human Development and principal investigator of the study.”  More…

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