Can Facebook Really Help Students Focus?
February 29, 2012
Here at Reset we follow developments in education 2.0 closely — which is why a recent news item caught our eye.
Believe it or not, Cal State Dominguez Hills psychology professor Larry Rosen says using Facebook in class actually helps improve learning. Tell us it’s true — could our guilty pleasure also be educational?
Addicted To The Web
Professor Rosen’s research shows what we already suspected — children are increasingly thinking about checking their phones and social media sites instead of focusing on what a teacher is saying. Rosen found fully 82% of 14-17 year olds had a Facebook account in 2009 — a number that’s still growing.
Turning To “Tech Breaks”
Facebook and mobile phones are usually banned during class time because of the distractions they cause. Rosen looked for a solution by fighting fire with fire. By giving students a “tech break” in class, they can check notifications on Facebook or send a text before returning to studying. The hope is that they will no longer be wondering what’s on Facebook and the teacher will hold the class’s full attention. Larry Rosen suggests a 15-minute break for every half hour of work. This amount of time seems to be rather extreme but Rosen says the tech breaks concept "works amazingly."
Whether this concept can play out in practice is another question. But for now, if a tech break in class helps kids to focus on class, perhaps it is worth a shot? What do you think?