Social Media in Classes, Yes or No?

In their article “Mobile computing devices in higher education: Student perspectives on learning with cellphones, smartphones & social media” Gicas and Grant (2013) present findings on students’ (from three universities across the US) perceptions of learning with mobile computing devices and the roles social media played.In these three cases, teachers had been integrating mobile computing devices, such as cellphones and smartphones, into their courses for at least two semesters. From students’ perspective, the authors found out that mobile computing devices and the use of
social media created opportunities for interaction, provided opportunities for collaboration, as well as allowed students to engage in content creation and communication using social media and Web 2.0 tools with the assistance
of constant connectivity.

“At times the device could be distracting. The allure of
social networking applications that were not being used for class potentially
threatened their concentration” (p.23); however, students also felt that
it was very easy to respond to a text message that was received and
just as quickly return to the task at hand when using the devices for
coursework, demonstrating that they were able to manage their
time on appropriate tasks.

The Lakeshore University students found the participatory nature of their university course more beneficial than their high school experiences. moreover, students spoke of the advantages of capturing information outside of the learning environment and making connections with the material. These experiences point to the advantages of using mobile learning in higher education and reinforce the concept of knowledge
acquisition across contexts and environments.

In conclusion, it is vital to mention that although “mobile learning may look like web-based learning in that mobile computing devices connect different technologies to exchange information,” (Gicas and Grant, P.25)  the mobile device is “a contemporary paradigm for connecting, communicating and getting things done on mass-customized and yet personal relationship level that extends to the devices themselves” (P.25). Therefore, the potential long-term impact  of mobile computing devices on learning in  the higher educational environment is yet to be investigated.


Gikas, J., & Grant, M. M. (2013). Mobile computing devices in higher education: Student perspectives on learning with cellphones, smartphones & social media. The Internet and Higher Education, 19, 18–26.

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