Name: Faig Alili Assignment: Research Paper Influence of Social Networking on the Academic Performance of Students Social media, particularly Facebook, consistently grow in popularity. It is the most common social networking platforms for international students, but they also notably use YouTube and Twitter (Roblyer, et. al., 2010). Educators are seeing these social sites’ potential for learning purposes. They realize that they can be both used for active learning and collaboration (Maloney, 2007). According to Ractham & Firpo (2011), education can utilize Facebook as an educational technology for collaborative learning. Previously, they have used educational technology such as Content Management Systems (CMS), Blackboard, Sakai, and WebCT, etc. These technologies help students perform better inside the classrooms. Social networking sites also enable learners to have a forum to extend their classroom learnings (Maloney, 2007). Selwyn (2009) believed that if students are already engaged with social networking, developing their communities and building networks of shared interests, and fostering their technological skills, there is high possibility that they can collaborate further for education and learning agenda. As researchers noted, teenagers spend the sufficient part of their daily life interacting through social networking sites (Ahn, 2011). The task of this study is to determine the impacts of social networking sites, specifically Facebook, on the academic performance of International students aged 13-18 from ADA University. It shall prove that Facebook has various positive effects on the learning process and practices of the said students. It shall also enlighten people on the educational use of the social networking site, as many fears and have negative views about using Facebook for learning and educational purposes. The major issue which will be dealt with by this paper is the influence of social networking on the academic performance of the International students aged 13 – 18 years old. In this regard, the research question which this paper will attempt to solve is – How does Facebook affect the academic performance of students aged 13 – 18 years old from ADA University. The primary objective of doing this research is to illustrate that young students can make good use of social networking sites and other contents from in the Internet as effective tools to enhance their academic performance. According to researchers, teenagers spend a sufficient part of their daily life interacting through social networking sites (Ahn, 2011). Similarly, the time spent impacts negatively to the attention span of the students. While there are various studies pinpointing to the negative effects of Facebook and other social networking sites, this study aims to prove that there are many positive influences and practices which can be derived by younger students with the use of Facebook. This research paper shall be structured according to the following research plan: 1. Gathering of important references, statistics and data culled from books, journals and pedagogical works on the value of social networking, specifically Facebook, for students aged 13-18 years old on academic matters. 2. Analyzing the primary sources according to the educational merits the social media sites such as Facebook in terms of their academic performance. 3. Qualifying what specific indicators will be tested for the two variables – Facebook usage and educational or academic performance will be. This should include one’s study time, interaction with classmates, research work, group studying, etc. Hence, this research shall explore the following topics: 1. Advantages of using Facebook in education; 2. Scholarly perceptions and research works on the relationship between the use of Facebook and academic performance. 3. How Young students can utilize Facebook to enhance their academic performances; 4. How to successfully integrate Facebook with the conventional school learning. Facebook has undoubtedly the largest population of users and it has become the most popular social network in recent years. This has led researchers to focus on the use of these environments in educational purposes. Facebook, now the fastest-growing network of all social network sites, is the most popular one among university students all around the world (Genç, 2010). A common objection to the use of Facebook in education is the lack of solid empirical evidences about its general value, including the value of other social networking sites for education (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2015). There are some researchers like Crook & Harrison, Charnigo, Barnett-Ellis, Hewitt & Forte, Mathews, and Mazer & Murphy who wrote about the potentials of social networking in education (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2015). However, only few studies have especially focused on its role in pedagogy. Teachers and educators are assigned with more responsibility to help the student in leveraging through this tool and learn from it. The Childnet International Report funded by Becta, the government body for technology in learning, stated that while teachers and instructors have yet to fully acknowledge the educational potential of Facebook for their students (Lipsett, 2008). The Report endorsed the social networking site to schools. It believes that the schools could help students develop "e-portfolios" where learners can record their achievements and gather work samples. Teachers could also use social networking services to set up groups that "semiformalize" students' online communications and "record discussions and milestones as they go" (Lipsett, 2008). As reported, it is vital for students to use and understand social networks in their learning processes, to create their individual academic identities in online communities and to inquire and criticize the social dimensions of these networks (Özkan and McKenzie, 2008). It is also studied that an unlimited learning environment wherein students’ experiences are constantly formed with social network applications can be developed just by removing access to the social network contents (Mejias, 2005). Other studies showed that these instruments provided a number of features fairly important for education like cooperation, active participation, interaction, information and sources sharing, and critical thinking (Selwyn, 2007). According to Mazman & Usluel (2009), possible applications of social network sites like Facebook in education include the following: 1) Increasing students’ participation in discussion boards developed in social network sites; 2) Chances for students to customize their own profiles; 3) Using such multimedia tools like videos, texts, pictures and audios for an effective instructional environment; 4) Students’ taking the role of both the content maker and consumer of educational topics; 5) Making effective communication and giving feedback through such features as making comments, instant messaging and sending messages; 6) Sharing information, ideas and sources with different groups formed in line with common interests and needs; and 7) Enabling students to create their own worlds and attaining social learning. Mahmoud Mohammad Sayed Abdallah (2007) argued that the Internet is used in education because it facilitates learning, teaching and communication. It is possible to find a great deal of (course/subject) information online and to do so any time. Specifically commenting on advantages of the Internet for English Language Teaching, Abdallah mentioned that students can study any topic in English independently online, and they can also find many activities on the Internet to use in order to improve their proficiency. To start with, Facebook is an account that can help people, old and young, to connect with different people from anywhere in the world. This includes students. Hence, young users can enhance their knowledge about other places, customs and cultures through Facebook. For instance, English students can improve their English skills by using chatting application provided by Facebook. Students are able to talk with foreigners all over the world. Hence, it practices their language skills and also enables them to have an opportunity to easily communicate with their friends. Students can also use Facebook for group study. They can instantly make a study group for the said purpose. Students can also share any information’s and learn about homework, assignments, exams, etc in that group. Given all these advantages and potential uses of Facebook, the research conducted did not show a string correlation between the use of Facebook and improved academic performance. As a result of this research, the following hypothesis is stated as: Facebook does not have any comprehensive impact on students’ academic performances. From the results of surveys, we can see that the usage of Facebook can cause waste of time among students or it can also decrease students’ satisfaction rate among friends, but it does not affect their academic performances. However, effects may vary according to the personalities and academic inclinations of students. It also varies according to their levels of self involvement with the medium and their sense of identities. Ahn’s (2011) research work about the impacts of social networking sites on teenager’s social and academic development reflected that the mostly users of social networking sites are from adolescent age group. Studies dealt with discussions and questions which teenagers spend the sufficient part of their daily life by using social networking sites. Ahn’s article reviewed academic studies in order to understand and link teenagers and social networking sites. It indicated that social networking sites like Facebook are not only linked with teenagers, it is also linked social capital, confidentiality, security and academic performances of teenagers. In the article “Effect of online social networking on student academic performance” authors Paul Jomon, Baker Hope, Cochran Justin notified that online social networks like Facebook have a great influence on all generations, especially on students and instructors or faculty members. Along these lines, faculty members or instructors use the social networking sites such as Facebook for making connections with students. Authors directed a survey to the business students at a large state university in order to explore more about the effects of social networking and the survey is concluded with structural equation modeling. The structural equation modeling shows relationship between times spent by students on online social networking and their academic performances and elucidates how time spent affects attention span of the students. In a study of Pasek, More, & Hargittai (2009), Facebook use is more common among individuals with higher grades. It also assessed how changes in academic performance in the nationally representative sample related to Facebook use and found that Facebook users were no different from non–users. It replicated the results reported in the press release using three data sets: one with a large sample of undergraduate students from the University of Illinois at Chicago, another with a nationally representative cross sectional sample of American 14– to 22–year–olds, as well as a longitudinal panel of American youth aged 14–23. In another study, Rouis, Limayem, & Esmail (2011) provided a preliminary analysis of the impacts of Facebook users by the undergraduate students at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden. Its model suggested negative mediating effects of the use of and cognitive absorption on Facebook. This paper showed that there is a decrease in the students’ academic performance but a positive impact on satisfaction with life that reduces the negative effects. There are certain personalities who can do well with academics and Facebook use. To further discuss this paper, it was reinforced that the extensive use of the social media of those students with extraverted personalities will lead to poorer academic performance. However, those who have better self management of their Facebook use perform better. The students’ cognitive absorption, as explained by the authors, is regulated by their self control and personality traits. Hence, the students’ multi tasking skills temper the effect of cognitive absorption on academic performance. However, they do not hinder the time spent, frequency, or nature of use or their effects on academic outcomes. According to the authors, while the students’ life satisfaction significantly decreases due to their Facebook involvement, it does not play a role for the students’ academic performance. Thuseethan & Kuhanesan (n.d.) examined the Sri Lankan university students’ use of the said social media and its impact on their academic performance. The impact of Facebook on academic performances can either be positive or negative. While a close scrutiny of the true impact of Facebook showed that it leads to various concerns in university students’ academic performances. At present, Facebook is somehow damaging the academic focus of the Sri Lankan university students. Consequently, it also intended to know the significant use of Facebook by university students in their positive academic performance. This was shown through a survey conducted collected from over 250 students from various universities in Sri Lanka. Other sources show interesting social dimensions positively related to better academic performances. Mazer, Murphy, & Simonds (2007) showed that if the teachers have Facebook accounts, students have the tendency to base decisions on whether or not to take their classes as they base their decisions on the influence of the quantity of information the teachers have already disclosed on Facebook. Another interesting aspect which is potentially influenced by administering faculty Facebook usage in the classroom is on faculty-student communication. Sturgeon & Walker (2009) evidenced that students seem to be more willing to communicate with their instructors if they already knew them through Facebook. Similarly, Hewitt and Forte (2006) also showed that students liked the prospects of getting to know their teachers better and that Facebook interaction had a positive influence on how they perceived their teachers. Haspels (2008) also showed that the faculty Facebook usage also had a positive influence on the face-to-face faculty-student relationship. An interesting angle is the effect of a positive relationship and open communications between teachers and students and how this impact academic performance. Yang & Tang (2003) evidenced that those networks which “consist of relations by which individuals share resources such as information, assistance, and guidance” are “positively linked to student performance” both in personal and online settings. Sturgeon & Walker (2009) indicated a concept which they called an “indirect connection between faculty use of Facebook and academic performance.” Their study’s results postulated that because of an increase in faculty-student familiarity, students feel more comfortable and hence, they are more engaged with their learning and they actually learn better. In a statistical study by Brubaker (2013), it was evidenced that the relationship between Facebook activity and academic performance for an African American sample population showed no statistically significant relationship between Facebook use and grades. The study was done at a big, four-year, private university in the Mid-Atlantic. All undergraduate, African American students enrolled in the College of General Studies, School of Health Sciences, and School of Education made up the representative sample for this study. The results of the survey were assessed through the use of hierarchical multiple regression statistics. The strength of the relationship between the predictor variables (average daily minutes of using Facebook, demographic data, academic data, daily minutes of multitasking, and types of Facebook activities used while multitasking) and the criterion variable (semester GPA). To add, a prior study by Karpinski & Duberstein (2009) showed that students who self-reportedly spend greater time on Facebook had lower GPAs than those who spent less time there. Facebook influences young people and educators in all educational categories. Despite an increasing number of interventions, there is a lack of conclusive evidence in terms of its educational effectiveness. Hence, this research intends to confirm that Facebook can be effectively used in the classroom education of international students aged 13 to 18 years old from ADA University. However, as it was shown, there are a limited number of studies on the use of social network applications in education. More so, these have been focused on the identity, network structure, privacy and technology. Most of the studies correlate the use of Facebook students on their improved academic performances based on indirect factors. For instance, the enhanced faculty-student relationships and communications apparently affect the academic learning of the students in a more positive way. In this respect, the specific use of the social networking sites like Facebook for improved academic performance has to be further assessed by further studies and experiments. As Phillips, Derek Baird, & Fogg (2012) suggested, here are some important recommendations for Facebook as utilized in education: 1. Help Develop and Follow Your School’s Policy about Facebook; 2. Encourage Students to Follow Facebook’s Guidelines; 3. Stay Up to Date with Safety and Privacy Settings on Facebook; 4. Promote Good Citizenship in the Digital World; 5. Use Pages and Groups Features to Communicate with Students; 6. Embrace the Digital, Social, Mobile and “Always- On” Learning Styles of 21st Century Students; and 7. Use Facebook as a Professional Development Resource. These measures shall enhance the legitimate and structured use of the said social media by students and teachers. It shall also protect them from the purveyors in social media and in the Internet, in general. Teachers and students can form their own group and make the best use of the Facebook technology and applications to learn from the resources and from each other. The teachers can also learn different teaching strategies, best practices, or tips on how to utilize the social media. References: 1. Ahn, J. (2011). 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