Greenhow, C. (2011). Youth, learning and social media. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 45(2),139-146.
In this journal article, the author discussed the uses for and the impact of social media on both formal and informal learning for youth. The introduction is built through discussion of the growth of social networking sites and the different platforms available at the time. Greenhow also specifically points out the potential benefits of social media, including positive effects on cognitive, social, and emotional skills, but notes that because research was lacking in this area, it was still unclear if SNS for learning could be beneficial or detrimental. Then, the author discusses five articles that have recently explored the effects of youth’s social media use in both informal and formal learning constructs. Studies range from exploring the connection between teens’ use of SNS and their reported social capital to the impact of media multitasking and video content on reading comprehension ability. The author concluded by noting the important aspects that the mentioned studies investigated and by stating that many possible complications concerning the use of social media in education remain still to be explored.
In a brief introductory article, Greenhow offers a well-varied view of the uses of SNS in both formal and informal contexts. Though only five studies are mentioned, they are reviewed in sufficient detail to give the reader a perspective of the many uses of SNS and their potential academic, social, and emotional gains. The studies also range across a variety of disciplines such as Language Arts, sub-groups’ perceptions and uses of SNS, and exploring if predictors such as internet access and parent use effect SNS participation for youth. This review of studies, as well as Greenhow’s assertions on the lack of research, help to give a thorough introductory understanding of SNS and youth education and endeavors for future research.
This article connects to my current research interests because it discusses the potential impact of SNS for education for youth. I am interested in the uses of technology for classroom differentiation, particularly at the middle school level, and social media could be a useful tool for offering different ways that knowledge can be constructed in order to meet the needs of all students.