Today’s college students are no strangers to social media and all that it can do for our social interactions. 85% of students at 4-year universities have Facebook profiles. However, while populating most of the major sites, many students have not yet embraced the great amount of other social media tools available to them. There are a number of tools that cater specifically to students and new ones are constantly being developed. Here are ten must-try sites that will help you network, collaborate, communicate, and make your daily college tasks a bit easier. Better yet, they all offer free services.
Here are ten Social Networking Tools to Try for Assisting College Students: http://mashable.com/2009/04/16/social-media-college/
But while large numbers of students say they use such tools in their daily lives, many two-year colleges have yet to mine the potential of the technology.
"The uses of social-networking tools are clearly growing in frequency," says Kay McClenney, director of the Texas-based Center for Community College Student Engagement, which released the report. But "colleges are not taking advantage of that particular set of tools for making connections with students to the extent that they could."
The report is based on a survey of more than 400,000 students from 663 institutions that assesses how much effort students invest in their studies, whether they interact with faculty and staff, and whether they are challenged by their academics. Studies show that the more engaged students are in such activities and relationships, the more likely they are to learn.
The survey found higher levels of engagement among students who said they used social media multiple times a day for academic purposes, such as communicating with other students, instructors or college staff about coursework, than students who said they don't use such tools at all.
It also revealed a potential downside for colleges that don't harness the technology: Students who frequently used social-networking tools but not for academic reasons tended to put less effort into their schoolwork.
•95% of students ages 18 to 24 use social-networking tools, including instant messages and texting, 64% multiple times a day. Yet just 18% do so for schoolwork, and 27% never do. Just 5% never use social networks.
•Among older students, 68% used social networking, 41% multiple times a day. But just 10% do so for school; 49% never used social networking for school.
The report stops short of suggesting that social networking is the key to engaging all students, but it urges colleges to "find the right match."
Social networking seems a natural for Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, based in rural Helena.
"We're always fighting the tendency of students to go from the parking lot to the classroom and back to the parking lot and into their jobs and homes and their other life," says chancellor Steven Murray. "A lot of our students do not have computers at home, broadband Internet access, but they all have cellphones with the capacity to text, and ... access Twitter and Facebook."
The Impact of Social Networking: Recruiting-Retention-Socialization