While faculty and staff at higher education institutions have experimented with the use of social media, there has not been a concerted effort to integrate these technologies in educationally-relevant ways. Emerging research in the field of social media, student engagement, and success shows that there are specific ways that these technologies can be used to improve educational outcomes. This presentation will focus on reviewing and translating research on the effects of Twitter on college students into effective and engaging educational practices. Background research on the psychological construct of engagement will be provided and will be linked to engagement in online social spaces. In addition to presenting cutting-edge research on how to create engaging and engaged communities, the presenter will review specific ways that Twitter can be used in the classroom and the co-curriculum. The presenter will discuss how academicians can hack existing technologies, specifically Twitter, for educational good and will present the results of his latest research on the effects of Twitter on student engagement and grades.
Rey Junco is a social media scholar who investigates the impact of emerging technologies on college students. His research concentrates on how social media affect student psychosocial development, engagement, and success. His research has focused on informing best practices in technology use with students in the areas of advising, student affairs, and teaching. Through research findings, Rey has shown that technology, especially social media like Facebook and Twitter, can be used in order to improve educational and psychosocial outcomes. He is especially interested in examining the digital divide-- differences in the ownership and use of technology by members of underrepresented groups. Rey has recently published papers on: the academic effects of multitasking, the digital divide in cell phone ownership and use, using social media to promote civil discourse on college campuses, and how Twitter can be used for academic purposes in order to increase student engagement and improve grades.
Best known for his innovative research on how students use technology, Rey conducted the first large, multi-institution survey of student technology use, which he wrote about in his book, Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Higher Education Professionals Need to Know about Today’s Students. Rey further explored students’ Internet usage in his second book, Using Emerging Technologies, in which he conducted a comprehensive analysis of social media’s role in student engagement, technology’s potential to improve retention, and blogs’ potential to improve students’ writing and marketing skills.
Rey earned his doctorate in education in counselor education and his master’s in clinical psychology from Penn State University. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Academic Development and Counseling and the Director of Disability Services at Lock Haven University.
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