I recently ran across an article about Harrisburg University and their social media "blackout" experiment. This is the second year in a row that Harrisburg U has placed a weeklong blackout on the use of social media in the classroom. The Pennsylvania university, which performed a similar move last year, has been blocking network access to 10 popular sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, Hi5, Twitxr, and Plurk, as well as texting outlets.
The purpose of the exercise was to inspire students and teachers to think about how social media can be abused by its users and the impact it has on daily life both inside and outside the educational environment.
Students had the opportunity to record video journals and write papers about their life without social media. Of course, the study could not control students' access to social media via their personal smartphones or computers.
The article states, "According to the 2010 results, the majority of people on campus are regular users of social media--some more than others. A fifth of students, in particular, and some faculty members reported that they spend between 11 and 20 hours a day using social media sites."
Twenty hours a day? Seriously? When do these teachers sleep?
No doubt, social media is here to stay and has entrenched itself in many or our lives. I find myself picking up my smart phone in the middle of the night when I see I've received a Facebook or Twitter message.
As more and more schools embrace social media as part of their course curriculum, it's inevitable that social media will become as basic and routine as reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Check out the full article (by Dian Schaffhauser) about Harrisburg U on the Campus Technology website. Don't forget to tweet about it and share it on Facebook after you read it! ;-)
And be sure to visit our own social media sites and giving us a "like" or a "follow."