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Undergrads Who Twitter May Do Better, Study Finds

THURSDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Social networking platforms such as Twitter can increase university students' engagement in the learning process and improve their grades, a new study has found.

The study included 125 students taking a first-year seminar course for pre-health professional majors. Seventy of them used Twitter for various academic discussions and the other 55 acted as a control group.

The students who used Twitter showed a significantly greater increase in learning engagement than those in the control group. Twitter not only increased students' contact with instructors, but also with one another, making it possible for them to support one another in a virtual learning community, the study authors pointed out.

The Twitter group also had higher grade-point averages at the end of the semester.

"The idea that student engagement can be increased outside of the classroom in a low-credit course through the use of technology is one of the key findings," study co-author Greg Heiberger, coordinator of pre-health professional programs in the department of biology and microbiology at South Dakota State University, said in a university news release.

"It was a one-credit course and the contact [instructors] had with students was daily. That's not common with many one-credit courses," he added.

The study was published online Nov. 12 in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.

More information

To learn more about different learning styles, visit the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: South Dakota State University, news release, Nov. 12, 2010

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