In the last decades parents and teachers have been concerned about the influence of internet on student academic performance. These concerns have been acknowledged by people around the world. For example an American Educational Research Association conference In San Diego, California (2009) did a research where they illustrated that users of SNS (social networking service) study less and grades decreased among them1. One of the major impacts is effect of social networking services. This research created my interest for internet issue and is one of the reasons for the choice of topic for this study.
Due to my personal concern, one of the most exciting topics in Global Perspective has been about the problems and benefits which today internet created. This is a vital issue, especially as there has been a growth of SNS users among students. Statistics illustrates that students who have 3.0 to 3.5 GPA (grade point average) generally use social networks for entertainment.2 Moreover, in my previous school more students spend most of their time using the social networks, even in school, when teachers talking to them and similarly they have less GPA scores. In this time it was interesting to me to search negative aspects of social networks on educating. This is second reason why I choose this topic.
However, due to my personal experience, consequences of social sites are also can be useful for education. During the time of doing homework in more situations I and my classmates found that social networks are effective way to get knowledge. For example, in VK we have communities were we may put materials which we should read or which teachers gave and we can ask what the homeworks were if we did not remember or even ask teachers something if we did not understand some materials. So, doing the research I wanted to know what are the percentages of problems and benefits of SNS and compare them.
From my perspective, it is important to research social networks effects to education because this research can show positive impacts of SNS to students and teach them how to use SNS properly, be safe from negative influences.
Social networks are service of internet where all people have chance to share their ideas, to communicate with new “friends” and to reconnect with old friends. SNS allow people new and varied ways to connect via the internet, whether through their mobile phone or personal computer. For example, it can be MySpace, Facebook, Skype, VK etc. Moreover, SNS users around the students are increasing and it affecting to their process of acquiring knowledge. The University of New Hampshire believes that current student grew up in technology decade and social networks are only one of the parts of technology. Also, in this research Kirschnera showed that students who have not social networking site have 20% lower grades than students who have social networking site.3
This issue also affects Kazakhstan as SNS student users are growing. For example, laboratory of “Saparphannoe radio” research of social media had illustrated statistics where Kazakhstan is in the second place by using VK and in fifteen by using Facebook around the world. 4
According to University of Science and Technology of China and the City University of Hong Kong main benefits of SNS to students’ education are:5
§ SNS can be used as educational tool (discussion, create significant dialogue, exchange ideas, increase student interaction, educational applications to arrange learning activities)
§ it increases student engagement
§ develop communication between students and teachers (post homework tasks or lesson plans, send messages and updates, share interesting, educational web sites, project management, course scheduling)
§ SNS can be helpful to students to become academically and socially integrated
§ can improve learning outcomes6
Also, many researchers found that students, who used SNS frequently scored higher on reading abilities and had higher grades (Linda et al., 2006).7
Moreover, Christine Greenhow, a learning technologies researcher for the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development, mentioned that social networking sites empower students to practice and increase 21st century skills which will help them to get success. “…By understanding how students may be positively using these networking technologies in their daily lives and where the as yet unrecognized educational opportunities are, we can help make schools even more relevant, connected and meaningful to kids.”
However, research showed that many students and teachers are unaware of the educational and professional occasions that social networks can offer
On the other hand, using SNS can negatively influence on education system. According to, Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (WCER) researcher, Mark Connolly it is significant to use SNS prudently because they create negative aspects to students’ education. Researchers have found that SNS use may result:
§ as a distraction from education;
§ as a discouraging face-to-face Communication between students and teachers.
§ in greater impulsivity
§ less patience and less tenacity
§ weaker critical thinking abilities and weaken an individual’s skills to control their focus 5
American Educational Research Association in San Diego, California (2009) demonstrated that users of SNS study less and created lower grades eventually.8 Likewise, Banquil et al. (2009) found a lasting fall of grades among student users of social networking sites.9
The research was therefore designed to investigate the concern of impacts of social networking to student academic performance and students, teachers, parent’s opinion about it.
The purpose of this research was to explore public opinion (parents, teachers, students) about the impacts of SNS on student study in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. The aim was to find out about how much parents and teachers know about the advantages and disadvantage of SNS to students and their opinion about the necessity to respond practically. This includes their beliefs to affecting academic performance of students attending and taking actions.
Moreover, in this research the basic objectives were:
· To investigate how SNS affects students’ academic performance.
· To evaluate why students use SNS.
· To determine how much teachers and parents know about the impact of SNS to student’s educations process.
The results of the research were intended to increase teachers and parents understanding about SNS influence and to show drawbacks and benefits of SNS to students.
The research project involved numerous different methods such as surveys, and interviews. This allowed information and data which collected by surveys to be checked and established by interviews. Displacement or mistakenness in one method was verified by another. Varied methods were used to make strong total quality of the research and to increase assurance in the conclusions.
Firstly, information connected to the topic was designed about patterns and trends about social networks to increase general understanding about topic. The majority background research was done on the internet because information about social networks is few in the libraries. As the concern of impacts of social networks is internationally significant there was more information available, which was reliable. However, finding statistics or date about Kazakhstan was hard because of lack of information. This could have created incorrectness and bias into the data.
To avert this problem the background research focused by globally respected sources, recent researchers and was used some reliable sources in Kazakhstan. For example, the United Nations was a mainly beneficial and facts about Kazakhstan are taken from statistics agency in Kazakhstan. Therefore, these resources were used in the content of ‘Context’ section of this study.
Information about parents, students and teachers’ opinion and potential teachers’ responses to social networks effects illustrated in the two primary research methods.
The first method was face-to-face questionnaire with a goal of finding about teachers, parents and students opinion about impact of social networks. Questionnaire’s target audiences were teachers from the age of 26-46, parents from the age of 35-46 and students from the age of 14-18 and conducted in one local school. The reasons for selection of these age groups in school were:
§ Purpose of the research was to recognize what teachers and parents know about SNS impacts on students’ academic performance and because of this questionnaire was taken from parents and teachers
§ Questionnaire was taken from parents who are between 35 and 50 because their children’s age are between 14 and 18
§ Questionnaire was taken from students who are between 14 and 18 because majority of SNS users in Kazakhstan are students between these ages
§ Other purpose was to identify reasons on students using SNS and because of this questionnaire was taken from students
§ Agreement to give the questionnaire to students, teachers and parents was accessible
§ Students, teachers and parents could decide to participate, making the research ethical
§ The sample was available and safe to get access to
Representative of sample was Nazarbayev Intellectual school in the city and each target audience had the same people to keep balance between opinions. Respondents from students were 60, from teachers 60 and from parents also 60, so 180 questionnaires were completed. Because of this results can be generalizable to all students, parents and teachers in the city and Kazakhstan.
Questionnaire had three different parts. In first part questions planned to know about the respondents’ ages and gender, because these materials gave an opportunity to compare results. The second part included questions about the effect of SNS. The third part involved questions which can recognize the respondents’ own solutions to the problem or views about positive impact on SNS to students.
The questionnaires papers were given to respondents and they accomplished it in writing. Each of them took about seven minutes to complete.
To check the results from questionnaires and to get in depth information about influences of social networks to student academic performance some unstructured interviews were designed. The interviews were with four teachers and two of them were young, two of them older and they were from different gender (one young female and one male, one older female and one male). These interviews were conducted from these people because:
§ Young people’s views about effects of SNS to students could compare the older people’s opinion about it
§ Perspectives from different gender can be compared to each other
§ This made the research ethical and safe
During the interview checklist about topics in discussion was used but the conversation
The interview was directed by a checklist of topics but the conversation was unstructured, because this type of interview is a good way to gain in-depth information about people’s principles, views and reasons for behavior. The interviews took place in school when was a holiday and it created for the 25 minute in a relaxed environment. It enabled respondents to talk openly to advance the value of the data collected.
The results recorded using a tape recorder and the interviewer took notes during the interview.
The data collected was analyzed and used to the study questions. The results from the research are described below.
The results from the questionnaire were very beneficial. The investigation of data for each question is set out in Appendix 3. The main findings from the questionnaire can be described as:
§ From the respondents of 60 student it showed that all the student who answered the questionnaire applies more than one of the social networks which provided in the questionnaire.
From the sample of 50 student it shows that all the student who answered the questionnaire uses more than one of the social network site provided in the questionnaire. From the result, it shows student uses more of Facebook, Skype and Youtube, while Wikipedia, Google+ and Linkedin are the least used among the respondent. Out of the 50 respondent 57% are male while 43% are female.
To summarise, the main findings were that global public awareness about environmental issues is increasing but that it is still at low levels in most parts of the world. Past research on barriers to changing lifestyles suggested that lack of education and poor access to ethical and environmentally friendly goods and services were the main difficulties to overcome in getting people to change their lifestyles.
The results from the questionnaire were very useful. The analysis of data for each question is set out in Appendix 10.3. The main findings from the questionnaire can be summarised as:
4. Which social network sites do you/ your child/ student use? (Chose two of them)
· Any other
5. Is it impact on you/ your child/ student study time?
6. How much times do you/ your child/ student spent on social networks?
· 30 minutes
· 1 hour
· 2 hour
· More than 2 hour
7. Do you think social network sites helped to improve your/ your child/ student’s academic performance?
8. Please list five positive impacts of social networks to student education.
9. Please list five negative impacts of social networks to student education.
10. Please read the following list of actions that you/ your child/ students might do in social networks.
§ Academic purposes (exchanging materials and ideas, discussion with classmates, educational applications to arrange learning activities, asking questions from teachers)
§ Listening/downloading music
§ Watching videos
§ Playing online games
§ Instant messaging
11. Some parents and teachers do not know about social networks effect on student’s education. What do you think is it important to know about social networks for parents and teachers? Explain your answer.