Social Media and Centennials in the Classroom
Concurrent Session 1
This session will provide results of a case study exploring the use of social media tools such as Instagram and SnapChat in the online classroom. Results of interviews, surveys and observations will be presented. Models will be presented for discussion as well. The future of social media use in the classroom with the Centennial population will be discussed.
Social Media and Centennials in the Classroom
Sue Y. McGorry, MBA, PhD
Millenials have been the focus of much attention from a demographic, business, and education perspective for the last decade and rightfully so. Millennials are not only the largest generation in U.S. and world history, they command tremendous wallet power as well. They spend $200 billion annually and most likely will spend $10 trillion over their lifetimes (Fromm, 2016).
Individuals born between 1997 and 2015 fall in to a new demographic labeled the Centennials or Gen Zers, iGens, or Founders. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Centennials account for almost 26% of the population in America and comprise the largest percentage of the United States population. Why are they worth paying attention to? This group easily contributes $44 billion to the American economy, and by 2020, they will account for one-third of the U.S. population (Vespa, 2017).
As the Centennials differ from Millenials in a myriad of ways, this impacts their use of technology and how they acquire information. Post secondary educators must explore ways to engage and motivate these learners in their classrooms whether online or in a traditional classroom setting. Researchers have identified favorite forms of social media for Centennials: Instagram and SnapChat top the list (McGorry and McGorry, 2018; Contreras, C., 2017). This study will explore methods to apply these and other social media tools in the higher ed classroom.
Some instructors have incorporated social media into their courses to engage students. Others are reluctant to embrace social media, citing privacy concerns, social media being more of a distraction than a useful tool, and the challenge of keeping up with social media developments, among others (Abdullah, 2017(a); Abdullah 2017 (b)). Indeed, social media may create new opportunities to engage students, however, the type of tools and the methods by which these tools are introduced may play a significant role in their efficacy (Lumby, Anderson and Hugman, 2014). Most of the existing research on the utility and effectiveness of social media in the higher education class is limited to self-reported data (e.g., surveys, questionnaires) and content analyses (Tess, 2013). This will be one of the first studies to apply and measure the efficacy of social media applications to the classroom.
Data will be collected from 32 students during eight weeks of the fall semester during which time the students will be required to use a variety of social media tools in order to complete course requirements in an undergraduate Principles of Marketing course. Interviews, observations as well as survey research will be used to explore students’ learning and perceptions of social media in the classroom.
Models will be presented with examples. Results will be explored, and outcomes as well as recommendations for future research will be discussed.
Abdullah Al-Bahrani, Darshak Patel, Brandon J. Sheridan. (2017a) Evaluating Twitter and its impact on student learning in principles of economics courses. The Journal of Economic Education 48:4, pages 243-253.
Abdullah Al-Bahrani, Darshak Patel, Brandon J. Sheridan. (2017b) Have economic educators embraced social media as a teaching tool?. The Journal of Economic Education 48:1, pages 45-50.
Contreras, C. (2017). 7 Ways to Engage Gen Z on Social Media in 2018. Social Media Week.
Fromm, J. ( 2016, Dec). What Marketers Need To Know About Social Media And Gen Z Forbes December. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffromm/2016/12/19/what-marketers-need-to-know-about-social-media-and-gen-z/print/
Lumby, C., Anderson, N., & Hugman, S. (2014). Apres Le Deluge: social media in learning and teaching. Journal of International Communication, 20(2), 119-132.
McGorry, S. and M. McGorry (2018). Snap, Insta and YouTube : Can We Learn Something from the Centennials?! A Paper presented at Online Learning Consortium Innovate 2018. Conference Proceedings. Nashville, TN.
Tess, P. A. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual)–A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(5), A60-A68.
Vespa, J. (2017). The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/demo/p20-579.pdf