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Khadijah Toure Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1103 04/09/2012

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I check my Facebook at least 2 times a day. I am always logged onto my Twitter account with the help of my phone, and I check my email about 3 times a day. I think its safe to say that this is the case for a decent amount of college students who have cell phones. If not, then it applies to my friends because whenever I am online, so are they. There are more than 526 million active Facebook users who log onto the social network (Facebook.com). With the Internet still growing, and online communities expanding on a daily basis, todays society is more electronically involved than ever. Todays most popular generation is my generation - the young adults of today. When a person is very popular, they often acquire many nicknames over a period of time, and my generation has acquired many. Were known the Net Generation, Generation M, Generation Y, the Connected Generation, the Internet Generation and the Digital Natives. All of these names practically mean the same thing: we are the generation of the Internet, technology, and multitasking. Generation Y, consists of those who were born in the 90s until now. Our society depends on the Internet and technology for a lot. Not only do we use the Internet for school and professional purposes, but we also use the Internet for a great deal of communication with our friends online. According to Jessica Moorman and Anne Bowker in The University Facebook Experience: The Role of Social Networking on the

Toure 2 Quality of Interpersonal Relationships, Generations today are experiencing a new wave of interpersonal communication, Currently, with the rise of online communities, communication has shifted away from traditional modes of interpersonal communication

. . . to a more digital approach to maintaining and establishing relationships (Bowker &


Moorman). With the shift in the way that this generation communicates, is it having a greater effect on our generation than we thought? If so, which of the two have a greater effect on the academic and social aspects of this young generation? In an interview with Justin Cary, an English professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he talked about how he thought that the adjustments that students are now making in the classroom with the use of the Internet is better and convenient. The adjustments are convenient because the Internet can be an easily accessible and a user-friendly environment for a student and professor to communicate with each other on a level platform (Cary). Some students may not like to check their email on a daily basis, but they can readily check their Facebook at any time. This is an issue, but its also reality. To address the issue, Professor Cary requires that his students join the online English group on the social networking site Facebook. This is where he gives his students helpful information and has them submit assignments. During the interview, professor Cary concluded, . . . If more teachers incorporated social media and social networking in their courses, academics would improve because more people would begin to see Facebook as a legitimate academic tool rather than a time waster (Cary). Professor Cary also claims, Social media ties greatly into student academic life as well as the social life

Toure 3 and that students and professors would connect better and possibly have grades increase if professors began to use social media. Grades would potentially go up because students would have their schoolwork in front of them in a comfortable environment. (Cary). The Internet also makes it easier for students to communicate with people they dont usually communicate with like classmates for example. Researchers have stated that its easier to communicate with strangers online because of the awkward tension that is usually present when meeting new people in person would be absent. Students that may be shy and quiet in a classroom setting may feel more comfortable with social networks because the whole fear of having to speak in front of a large group is eliminated. Facebook can be a tension free environment, which minimizes pressure that sometimes comes with meeting people in person. It also allows for individuals to openly state whats on their mind. Personally speaking, as having been a part of a private classroom Facebook group, Ive witnessed other students being able to ask and say more in online classroom settings. Not only do the students receive feedback from their instructor, but theyll also receive feedback from their classmates. Sometimes a student can explain instructions and information in a more comprehensive way than a professor can, which results in the student getting a better understanding of their assignments, hence potentially making better grades. Todays society is almost fully submerged in social networks. In the US, 93% of teens . . . and 89% of young adults are online (Jones & Fox). Parents and researchers see this as a window for great potential, and also a window of concern. With students in

Toure 4 this generation being so techs savvy, a lot of kids will have jobs that dont exist yet. Its also mind blowing how students are able to juggle multiple tasks at one time. Todays youth are skilled at being able to listen to music, watch their favorite TV show and work on homework in one setting. Parents worry about the fact that their children are able to complete so many tasks at one time could undermine their learning. Researcher Sherry Turkle warns that exposure to digital media may compromise a youths development of a sense of self-identity, autonomy, and intimacy. People who spend an excessive amount online may lose basic skills such as acknowledging the presence of other people, reading facial expressions and body posture, and also being able to effectively communicate their feelings face-to-face (Turtle.) In researcher Keith Andersons case study, Internet Use Among College Students: An Exploratory Study, the participant Scott, a nineteen-year-old college sophomore, admitted to his addiction to a multiuser dimension, MUD. MUD is an online community that allows for people to communicate with each other. Scott had good grades for his first 3 semesters in college, but after he joined MUD, his grades began to slip to the point of him being threatened with dismissal from his institution. Scotts infatuation with MUD resulted in multiple changes in his behavior; he was not getting along with his parents, he displayed symptoms of depression, his grades were falling, and his real life relationships on campus had changed. He didnt know or try to get to know any of his hall mates for that entire school year (Anderson). This is a good argument, however, this is based on a

Toure 5 single persons experience. Scotts experience cant speak for everyone else who is involved with online communities. Researcher Katie Davis explains how some experts have one of two opinions: some researchers and policy makers argue that involvement in social networks is causing todays youth to become antisocial and illiterate. Other policy makers think that Generation Ms involvement with digital media is an interesting and exciting journey (Davis). The world is getting a view of what todays youths are thinking about and what they express online. Now as for Generation Y, some students say that they rely on social networks to keep up with their social life, use the Internet as a medium to keep up with current events, and keep up with schoolwork. Some students, however, argue that digital media, while it is helpful, causes a great distraction in their academic life. During Katie Daviss study, one of her participants said that she relied on digital media to keep up with things in her academic and social life. She would visit blogs of different friends she had that didnt live close to her to see what was new in their lives. Her professors also posted assignments online so shed check their websites regularly to make sure she was on the right track. The student spoke to her about how the Internet sometimes hindered her productivity. She would set aside a specific window of time to get an assignment done and somehow shed end up browsing on a webpage or chatting with friends online and missing her deadline. To make up for it, the student would have to cut down on her sleep so that she could complete the assignment, then later have to shorten the time that shed plan to socialize with friends so that she could catch up on missed sleep. In the Keith

Toure 6 Andersons case study, you can see that the Internet may indeed slow some students down when it comes to completing work. Theres no surprise that researchers, parents, and educators feel the same way about it, but what about those students who exercise self-discipline with their schoolwork? What about the students that claim that digital network doesnt affect their academic life in a detrimental way? What about the students who say that using digital media in the classroom serves as a big help? In a recent study done by a Dr. Amy Martin, a psychology professor at Phoenix College set up an artificial classroom TA (teaching assistant), Cliff, on Facebook. She created a Facebook for the artificial TA and gave him lifelike qualities. She took pictures of a mannequin dressed up as a male and put that up as Cliffs profile picture. She also gave him a personal bio on Facebook and stated that he was in a relationship. The TA posted helpful study tips, classroom reminders and any last minute changes. Students were so impressed by the online teaching assistant, whenever they had a question about an assignment; they began checking online before they checked with the professor. The students became so comfortable with Cliff; he became real to them. The online presence that Cliff had allowed for students with the same major, interest, or classes come together to communicate with each other and help each other out. With Cliffs availability on Facebook, Martin says she received fewer questions from her students, had she just posted the syllabus online. Martin stresses that its important to find common ground with todays student and most of todays students are involved with social media (Martin). From personal experiences, I prefer to have my professors post classroom

Toure 7 assignments in designated online groups such as Moodle because students can go back and check out the instructions or the due dates online rather than having to constantly having to ask the teacher repetitive questions (Martin). Its also convenient because most students have access to the Internet even when theyre on the go. The Internet contains different types of communities for different groups of people with different endeavors. For example, students may visit Pewinternet.com to find different reports on different studies for educational purposes, they may also visit Facebook websites to communicate with friends and finally, if they are like myself, they may play chess online for leisure. Constant access to the Internet allows for people to be incessantly engaged with all aspects of the Internet at practically all times. Because of this, students can always have a way to access classroom materials. When teachers bring education online, not only does it make the student engage more, but also it brings together students and allows them to help each other out. In the TA study, students were more willing to help each other out whenever a student posted a question about the class online (Martin). Many professors on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus prefer to have major papers submitted online rather than having a paper copy. The use of print has decreased drastically since the boom of social media and the instantaneous news thats heard on the radio, seen on television, and seen online. Sherry Posnick-Goodwin, in an article from the California Teachers Association, includes that . . . Most educators agree that todays kids are extremely different from youngsters of previous generations . . . So much has changed in the last 2 decades. We can communicate with

Toure 8 other people on the other side of the world with just the click of a button, and we have electric powered cars. With our generation being the next to step up to the plate, whats in store for the future is uncertain. Theres no telling what type of technological advances will be made. So with our generation being so involved with the Internet and with social media, will traditional classroom and lecture hall settings eventually be changed to accommodate the changes in todays society?

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Works Cited
Anderson, Keith J. "Internet Use Among College Students: An Exploratory Study." Journal of American College Health 50.1 (2001): 21. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. Bowker, Anne and Moorman, Jessica . The University Facebook Experience: The Role of Social Networking on the Quality of Interpersonal Relationships. The American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences Journal 15.1 (2011) 201. AABSS. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. Cary, Justin. Re: A Couple of Questions. Message sent to the author. 28 Feb. 2012. E-mail. Davis, Katie. "A Life In Bits And Bytes: A Portrait Of A College Student And Her Life With Digital Media." Teachers College Record 113.9 (2011): Education Research Complete. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. Fox, Susannah and Jones, Sydney. Generations Online in 2009. Pew Research Center. 2009. Web. 28 Jan. 2012. Key Facts. Facebook. n.p., 2012. Web. 6 May 2012. Martin, J. Amy. Beyond Social Networking: Using Facebook to Promote Student Engagement, Study Skills, and Critical Thinking. American Psychological Association. n.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.

Toure 10 Posnick-Goodwin, Sherry. Meet Generation Z. CTA Magazine. California Teachers Association. 14.10 (2010): Web. 5 Apr. 2012