Social media has become a tool that most people and organization use in day to day activities. Oberiri (2017) defines social media as a social structure comprised of people or organizations connected by one or several particular relationship types, including common interest, kinship, sexual relationships, dislike, relationship beliefs, professional interest, prestige, knowledge, and friendship. According to Sivakumar (2020), social media is computer-mediated that enables a student to share, exchange, and create ideas, information, videos, and pictures for learners and virtual communities. Kolan and Dzandza (2018) also define social media as internet-based applications that rely on cell phones to exchange and create content between individuals. Amin et al. (2016) describe social media as technologies that enable discussions between individuals and make social communication easy. Therefore, there are many definition of social media despite similar implications
Most social media platforms continue to have more similar features as they grow. For instance, all social media sites provide users with a direct or private option for messaging. Since social media users are more likely to share a variety of information privately or publicly, they require that their information remain secure (Desmal, 2017). As a result, all of these platforms have a secure login. Another common feature between the social media applications is the networking element (Desmal, 2017). Having an open forum also qualifies as a common feature across all social media applications (Kolan & Dzandza, 2018). These sites enable individuals to share their opinions and discuss their hobbies with similar-minded people (Oberiri, 2017). Messaging System is also a common feature where the applications enable students or individuals to send public and private messages.
Additionally, having a content-sharing method is another common feature between social media applications. This is because a majority of users in social media sites and applications intend to share content with their network (Sivakumar, 2020). Lastly, versatility and responsiveness are other common social media sites features (Borgohain, 2020). This is where they allow their users access to the sites through mobile and desktop and the UI to adapt and respond to diverse screen sizes and devices without a decline in quality.
The Motives behind Students’ Use of Social Media
There are many motives behind then use of social media among students. Kolan and Dzandza (2018) indicated that students used social media to hold group discussions with their course mates or lecturers, especially in the E-learning mode. Students were also motivated to use social media for research purposes, sending and receiving course information that helped enhance academic performance. In addition to using social media sites for academic purposes, others also used to chat and download pictures or videos for entertainment (Amin et al., 2016). Students are motivated to use social media applications to maintain and create relations with peers and their teachers (Sivakumar, 2020). Oberirii (2017) study shows that students use social media sites because they enable them to enrich and emphasize relationships and connections for many reasons, such as sharing their thoughts and ideas. Kolan and Dzandza (2018) and Sivakumar (2020) have the same results; these sites are free of charge or at a marginal cost, making it possible to use social media sites. Social influence is another major factor that drives students to use social media sites (Oberiri, 2017; Kolan & Dzandza, 2018). This can happen when their peers, parents, and mentors introduce them to these sites to interact or improve their academic performances.
The motives behind the use of social media are numerous. Amin et al., (2016) and Borgohain, (2020) study shows that students also use social media sites to form new relationships as they interact. Besides using social media applications for entertainment, the majority of students also use the sites to improve their academic performance as an easy way of obtaining information (Desmal, 2017). Desmal (2017) further explained that 85.3% of respondents consider using social media to share academic resources important. Social media proves to be a significant aspect of students’ life.
Students are also driven to spend their time online because they find learning in these sites far more interesting than in regular classes. According to Borgohain (2020), keeping in touch with friends was the most rated motivation using social media compared to interaction with other people and entertainment. Other students also desire to grow professionally by using social media sites (Sivakumar, 2020). Another vital motive to using social media sites is Institute regulations are forced by college regulations to use social networking sites for their learning activities (Desmal, 2017). Attractiveness also qualifies as a motivation factor in driving students to use social media applications (Sivakumar, 2020). This is the extent to which social media sites attract or influence the intent of the leaner to utilize them in their learning activities. Teacher influence also plays a role in inspiring and motivating students to use social media sites in their education (Kolan & Dzandza, 2018). The teacher can inform on the importance of using social networking sites and encourage them to utilize them effectively to improve their GPAs.
Social Media in Teaching and Learning
Twitter and Instagram as a Tool for Education
Professors use Twitter and Instagram as a way of adapting social media in classrooms to enhance teaching via social media. Sivakumar (2020) supported this by indicating that it makes the work easy and enables professors to build a name for themselves in the community, thereby developing themselves professionally. Additionally, teachers can utilize this tool to obtain feedback from their students on topics they are teaching (Kolan & Dzandza, 2018). The teacher can post a link to surveys for learners to fill or allow learners to tweet comments and questions to their teachers.
Moreover, teachers can create academic hashtags and allow learners to view submissions and tag their posts to determine what the collective has creatively produced. Students can also utilize Twitter as a research tool, following relevant hashtags and searching for topics and subject experts or tutors (Sivakumar, 2020). Furthermore, Desmal (2017) indicated that Twitter can be utilized in extending learning outside classroom walls. This is because it can help encourage further learning by encouraging learners to share their knowledge on Twitter.
Social media applications such as Twitter may provide helpful information to teachers and help them deal well with particular situations. Desmal (2017) stated that Instagram and Twitter are also being used to enhance appropriate communication between peer group students and others outside the class, like subject experts. In addition to this, another study also confirmed that 6.3% of their sample used Instagram, and 14.0% used Twitter for academic purposes (Sivakumar, 2020). On the other hand, social networking enables teachers to enhance reflective analysis and the development of a learning community that goes past institutional walls. This will boost students’ academic performance as they gain confidence towards their teachers and ask questions from anywhere whenever they are stuck in their studies.
Alternatively, Instagram and Twitter can be used to remind students of a field trip, project, and due assignments, especially during the holidays as well. According to Sivakumar (2020), these social media sites can also encourage learners to work with other learners. It was also supported by Talaue et al. (2018) where the teacher can create a Twitter handle to tweet or comment to and fro with learners all over the world. Additionally, they can also aid students in keeping up with current trends where teachers can send an interesting article with their students if they find one and instruct them to give their feedback.
Another way to use Twitter and Instagram is to develop a classroom hashtag that parents and learners can follow to be up-to-date with every event happening in the classroom. Increased learning productivity can also be made possible using Instagram (Desmal, 2017). Teachers can utilize audiovisual features to save time, leading to increased productivity in the classroom. Students can also form online groups on Twitter and Instagram and share information concerning a specific subject prior to the lesson.
The Impact of Social Media on the Academic Performance: Negative Effects of Social Media on Students’ Academic Performance
Social media can have adverse effects on the student’s academic performance due to addiction which distracts attention and concentration towards learning. 82.5% of students in a study reported that they mostly use social media to download videos or pictures and chat, while the remaining 17.5% utilize it for academic purposes (Kolan & Dzandza, 2018). Desmal (2017) and Barton et al. (2018) concluded that social media causes loss of attention among many students, which may lead to the decline of their academic performance. Social media also leads to poor grammar as students use short-handwriting as they chart, which causes errors during examinations.
Late submission of assignment and students not studying well is associated with social media. Amin et al. (2016) pointed out that late assignment submissions and less study time because a majority of students spend almost over two hours on social media on a daily basis negatively impacts their academic performance. This also causes less study time which greatly impacts students, academic performance. Borgohain (2020), added that 159 respondents reported that participating in social media sites caused less time for their studies. As a result, this led to a significant drop in their GPAs. According to the study done by Oberiri (2017), students preferred to chat on social media instead of reading their books. The study also found out that learners’ exposure to social media sites negatively impacts their academic performance. They mostly depended on social media sites without referring to other sources to do their assignments. Additionally, most of the students spent 4-5 hours at least on social media sites daily.
Positive Effects of Social Media on Students’ Academic Performance
Contrast to a negative impact, social media also has a positive impact on the academic performance of students. Among the positive effects is that social media can help build relationships, offer personalized course material, enable students to develop collaborative activities, share information, participate in group discussions online on different topics, and improve learning motivation (Desmal, 2017). Oberiri, 2017, Sivakumar, 2020 and Kolan and Dzandza (2018) supported this view from their study where 68% of respondents utilize social media to participate in academic discussions with course mates and lectures. Furthermore, they showed that 50.7% use it to obtain information for assignments, and 86% to obtain and disseminate information associated with class activities. This shows that social media has a significant impact on students academics.
Students can also use social media sites for research which helps enhance what they learned in class and improve their grades. Alamri (2019) also indicated that social media sites also help students connect with their teachers, thereby encouraging a flexible learning mode such as E-learning. According to Sivakumar (2020), social media applications improve learners’ learning opportunities, allow real-time communication outside the classroom and promote creativity. The findings also indicated more academic performance in students who used WhatsApp compared to the other social media sites. He also revealed that students who used 5-6 hours every day in social media applications reported higher academic performance than those who spent less time.
Additionally, students that utilize social media sites for academic purposes report a higher GPA. Borgohain (2020) conducted a study, and 249 participants reported to be active regularly on social media sites. Out of the total number of respondents, 153 utilized 1-3 hours daily on social media sites, 18 used them between 7-12 hours, and 12 utilized them more than 12 hours daily. Additionally, 273 participants indicated that social media positively affected their academic performance. In the same study, 270 participants indicated that their academic performance was greatly impacted, and their GPAs improved due to the influence of social media sites. Additionally, 50.1% of the respondents reported that social media learning is more interesting compared to classroom lectures. Thereby, social media is a great tool for learners because of its virtual environment.
In conclusion, social media continues to pose positive and negative impacts on students’ academic performance. Social media contains common features that ensure its effective operation. These features are direct or private options and secure login to protect user information. Another common feature is that most social media sites have customized settings that help users keep their content private from the public. Having a networking element and an open forum are also common features found in different social media sites. The social media sites also have a messaging system, content sharing methods, and responsiveness and versatility.
Additionally, learners are driven by different motives that make them use social media sites in their daily lives. These factors include improving students’ academic performance entertainment and creating relationships with their teachers and peers across social media sites. Students also find social media at a free or marginalized cost making it easy to utilize it. Peers, mentors, teachers, and parents can also influence students to use social media sites to improve their academic performance. Another common factor is that students find learning on social media sites interesting compared to classroom lessons. The attractiveness of social media sites also motivates students to use them.
Among the social media sites, Instagram and Twitter also play a role in teaching and learning. One of the ways that they enhance teaching and learning is because it makes work easy and saves on time as students are informed of particular topics before the lesson. Additionally, teachers can obtain feedback from students easily by posting a link and creating academic hashtags for students to follow. The sites can also be used for research purposes, following trends, communication, and holding discussion groups.
Furthermore, social media has both positive and negative impacts on students’ academic performance. Social media sites impact academic performance positively by enabling students to develop collaborative activities, participate in group discussions, offer personalized materials, and improve learning motivation. They also make classes interesting, thereby maintaining learners’ attention, which improves academic performance. Lastly, students that used most of their spare time on social media sites for academic purposes reported improved GPAs.
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