Nearly all students with online access—96 percent—use social networking technologies such as chatting, text messaging, blogging, and online communities such as Facebook, MySpace, and Webkinz, according to a new study released by the National School Boards Association and Grunwald Associates LLC.
The study report, “Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking,” shows that nearly 60 percent of online students reported discussing education-related topics such as college or college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. A total of 50 percent of online students said they talk specifically about schoolwork.
Students reported spending almost as much time using social network services and Web sites as they spend watching television. Teens using social networking sites said they are online approximately nine hours a week and watching television about 10 hours a week.
Students reported that they are engaging in highly creative activities on social networking Internet sites including writing, art, and contributing to collaborative online projects, whether or not these activities are related to schoolwork. Almost half of students—49 percent—said they have uploaded pictures they have made or photos they have take and more than one in five students—22 percent—reported that they have uploaded video they have created.
Nearly all school districts—96 percent—said that at least some of their teachers assign homework that requires Internet use.
While most schools have rules against social networking activities, nearly 70 percent of districts reported having student Web site programs. Nearly half reported their schools participate in online collaborative projects with other schools and in online pen pal or other international programs. More than a third said their schools and/or their students have blogs, either officially or in the context of instruction.
The study was funded by Microsoft, News Corporation, and Verizon.
The complete report can be found online at http://files.nsba.org/creatingandconnecting.pdf.