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THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON STUDENTS’ LEARNING ABILITY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
The study examined the influence of Social Media on Students’ Learning Ability among Secondary School Students in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State. Five research questions and five corresponding hypotheses guided the study. The descriptive survey research design was adopted for the study. Employing the method of stratified and simple random sampling strategy, a total number of 250 students (125 boys and girls respectively)) were selected from ten secondary schools in the study population. A 25 item Likert type questionnaire tagged ‘Social Media and Students’ Learning Ability Questionnaire (ISMSLAQ) and Student Achievement Test in English Language’ were used to gather the data used for the study. Hypothesis one, two and three were tested using the Chi Square statistics while hypotheses four and five were tested using t-test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) respectively. Findings of the research shows significant influence of Social Media usage on students’ attitude towards learning in schools; and that there is a significant influence of Social Media usage on students’ writing skills. Other findings of the study reveal significant influence of Social Media usage on academic performances of students in secondary schools; there is no significant gender difference in social media usage among students in the area of study; and that social media usage showed no significant influence on the age of adolescents. On the basis of the research findings, recommendations were made which include among others the need to incorporate social media with academic lesson content in secondary schools, students should follow the formal way of writing in schools, students should not be allowed to waste their time for their reading and personal study on social media content generating sites. Counseling programmes should be put in place for both male and female students in the use of social media. There is also need to design appropriate behavioral change instructional materials to educate students of different age group about social media usage in academic learning.
1.1Background to the Study
Many activities of education in the formal school setting and non-formal setting require the ability to learn. This is so because individual survival, adaptation and adjustment to ever-changing circumstances in the environment will depend on individual’s capacity to learn. A number of leading authorities on learning have declared that learning involves mental activity whether by an individual’s conscious effort or not. It is a complex process by means of which knowledge, skills, habits, facts, ideas and principles are acquired, retained and utilized in order to adapt to one’s environment and also to modify the existing behaviours when necessary. It is to be noted, however, that the learning ability of any individual often depends on the quality of potential an individual has inherited from his or her parents. Although nature provides the raw materials in the form of human potential / abilities, it is the environment that determines the extent to which the potentials are developed (Nwadinigwe, 2004).
However, the work of new media literacy researchers also provides one avenue to better specify behaviours that might lead to learning. Most studies of social media and youth education define learning from literacy perceptive (Greenhow and Ahn, 2011). The literacy perspective focuses on learning practices, such as creating media rather than traditional measures of learning such as grades or standardized assessments. It is important that one understands the concept of literacy practices from this view point. According to these experts, children’s activities in school that is, listening to a teacher’s lesson, practicing problems on worksheets, taking tests to assess learning can be seen as specialized literacy practices; those of creating media serve very disparate functions than expected in the classroom. In any case, learning in the school has measurable goal than that of the social media.
Meanwhile, social media usage is an intriguing platform to study because technology is such an integral part of adolescent students’ life. This is so because students of today are born into a world where computer technology is already well established and thus, it is a common tool student’s use in their everyday life. This includes the way they receive information, communicate and learn. There is no denying the fact that today’s students are hyper-test based generation compared to the chalk and talk based environment that most adults learnt. .One would have expected that the advent of computer, internet and cell phones will enhance students’ capability to learn and improve their knowledge, skill and attitude. It is quite disturbing that students rather than reading and studying to increase their knowledge, skill and attitude are pre-occupied with social media content generating that have nothing to do with their school learning. As a result students are now gradually becoming lazy to carry out normal book reading and study habits to prepare adequately for their examinations. Social media usage among students is alarming and has now become source of concern all over the world that has attracted several researches.
Although research examining the influence of social media usage on students’ learning in Nigeria abound, there is a gap in the research regarding this topic as it pertains to students in the university. A few studies referenced the fact that social media use among students continues to increase which may or not be related to mental, knowledge, experiential, skill and attitude learning. There appears to be little or no reference to the influence of social media on students learning ability in public secondary schools in Alimosho Local Government Lagos State. This study tends to fill the gap in literature.
Most undeniably, social media usage may also be impacting the way in which learners engage with technology in general. Adeogun (2004) noted that information received by students on the computer; television and telephone can modify the behavior of individual student either negatively or positively. The information can generate new responses or change old ones, depending on the degree of observation permitted the socializing individual, and on the type of imitation he or she can have of the behaviours and attitudes exhibited by the models. Granted that the forces of development are primarily within the individual, the environment as mentioned earlier plays a secondary role in the process of natural enfoldment of that which nature has enfolded within the individual in a natural environment free from corruption. In essence, if information is positive and conducive, individual will develop positively and behave rationally but if otherwise negative the development may be detrimental.
Undeniably, social media usage creates students modes to procrastinate while trying to complete homework and assignment which affect their learning ability. The knowledge of Economics on opportunity cost is such that a student who is chooses social media twill trade-off learning in conventional way. It has been documented in the academic literature that social media usage makes students passive during classroom teaching and learning. It also makes students to be lazy and procrastinate doing their assignment or home works. We cannot throw the baby with the dirty water, the good sides of social media are that they create opportunity for students to learn more since the platform allows and encourages students to post their school work thereby increasing their attitude to learn. For lack of space, literature is replete with countless educational opportunities provided by social media.
Furthermore, the rate at which students use social media raises questions about the potential effect social media have on students’ mental learning in schools. Several researchers referenced above have reported that social media usage is frivolous, time wasting and distracts from school work. Rather than using social media for academic purpose, students appear to use it for social interaction. Hence, social media appear not to be contributing to students mental or knowledge learning in schools. This is reflected by the way students write and spell words that are not proper way of spelling the English words. Where this texting and short messages used in social media are exported by students during internal and external examinations, it might lead to students’ failure in such examinations. It is against this background information that the research examines the influences of social media on students learning ability in secondary school students in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos state.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem that necessitated the research is the rate at which students’ trade-off academic learning for social media content generating sites such as face book, 2go among others. The use of social media has become so rampant nowadays that leaves so many questions to be desired. The situation is not just disturbing to every stakeholder of education but quite alarming. This calls for the need to address social media challenges to students’ cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. If nothing practical is done to stem the tide at the present, a lasting damage will be done. This will not be good for our country’s education system as the right manpower that will proffer solution to the challenges of our socio-economic development will be far from been achieved.
Presently, it appears that majority of students that come to school with internet connected pay more attention to social media interactions than they do for their academic learning. The time for reading and studying may seem to be devoted to social media interactions that may not have any bearing on their cognitive, affective and psychomotor development. The effect this may have on students’ capability to learn may be devastating. This has tendency to increase poor students’ outcomes among students in schools. This is not good four our country education that is searching a way to redeem itself from its present murky waters.
With the current rate of social media usage among students, one may predict that at a short time, the neglect of textbooks and learned journals is not addressed, more of our library textbooks and journals will be totally forgotten. This is another challenge to the academic survival of our nation.
More so, the popularity of social media and the speed at which information is published seems to create a lax attitude towards proper spelling and grammar. This may be exported to conventional writing that may reduce students’ ability to effectively write without relying on a computer’s spell check feature. Worse still, the poor performance of students in external examination which has been on the increase every year may be connected to students reading and studying time spent on social media interactions among students. This will bring to the fore the need to investigate the influence of social media on secondary school adolescents learning ability in Alimosho Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of social media on adolescents learning ability in secondary schools in Alimosho Local Government of Lagos State. The specific objectives of the study are to;
1. Examine the influence of social media usage on students’ attitude to learning in schools.
2. Ascertain the influence of social media usage on secondary school students writing skills. in secondary schools
3. Determine the influence of social media usage on students’ academic performance in secondary school.
4. Ascertain whether gender differences in social media usage exist among students in secondary schools.
5. Determine the influence of social media usage based on age
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions guided this research study
1. What influence does social media usage have on students’ attitude to learning in school?
2. How do social media influence students’ writing skills in secondary schools?
3. What influence does social media usage have on students’ academic performance in secondary schools?
4. What gender differences in social media usage exist among students secondary schools?
5. How does age influence students’ social media usage in secondary schools?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses guided this research study.
1. There is no significant influence of Social Media usage on students’ attitude to learning in schools.
2. There is no significant influence of Social Media usage on students’ writing skills in secondary schools.
3. There is no significant influence of Social Media usage on students’ academic performance.
4. There is no significant gender difference in social media usage among students in secondary schools.
5. There is no significant influence of age on students’ use of Social Media for learning in secondary school.
1.6 Significance of the study
The study will be significant to students, teachers, parents, educational psychologist’s and policy makers on the current trends in social media world, in the following ways: The study will help the students to know that social media can help them improve their learning ability and school work performance if used judiciously. The study will help the teachers to gain additional knowledge on the current issues in social media usage by the students and find the appropriate measures in helping students to maximize gain on these media for academic attainment. It will also open the eyes of the parents to the challenges encountered by their students in social media usage in relation to their physical and cognitive development and the levels of their performance in education. This study will be useful to the guidance and counselors on how to make adolescent cope with the challenges of social media and social networking that suit education of these adolescent students for educational purpose and control the access to bad social media sites that affect students’ educational attainment. This study will also create a platform for further research in this field. There the research is useful in the following ways:
1. Students will benefit from the study as it will expose them to understand the educational benefits as well as draw backs of using social media.
2. Teachers will gain knowledge in the issues regarding social media and incorporate it in the educational endeavor.
3. Parents will benefit from the research as the will know how to guide their wards in using social media.
4. Guidance and counselors will find the research useful as it will help them plan behavioural change education programme for users of social media in secondary schools
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is on the influence of social media on learning ability of secondary school adolescents in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos state. It focuses on determining the extent to which adolescent (male and female) students make use of social network, the influence such social media platforms have on adolescents learning in the area of shaping their knowledge, skill and attitudes. It also looks at the influence social media have on adolescent school work performance in secondary schools at the study area.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined in the research study
1. Social Media: These are forms of electronic communication which facilitate interactive base on certain interests. Social media include web and mobile technology. It is a group of internet based application that allows the creation and exchange of user generated content. In this study, emphasis is on facebook, whatsapp and 2go commonly used by adolescents.
2. Learning Ability: The learning ability of any individual referred in the study is mental ability of individuals to cope with things around him. This is often associated with the quality of potential an individual has inherited from his or her parents.
3. Learning: The activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught or experiencing something.
4. Attitude: This is individual behavior or reaction to certain action or stimuli which may be positive or negative.
5. Writing Skill: This refers student ability to compose meaningful text of sentence length or longer, communicating ideas, messages and information this is a medium of human Writing is communication that represents language and emotion through the inscription or recording of signs and symbols
6. Academic Performance: this refers to the ability of student to do well, fairly or poorly in an examination.
7. Gender: This is biologically determined and in the context of this research means boys and girl. In general it refers to culturally and socially constructed difference between men and women.
8. Age: As used in the study, it refers a period of human life measured by years from birth, usually marked by a certain stage or degree of mental or physical development and involving legal responsibility and capacity.
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