SOCIAL NETWORK TECHNOLOGIES AS SUCCESSFUL SUPPORT TOOL TO IMPROVE LEARNING IN A CHEMISTRY COURSE
During the last decade the employment of new technologies in Higher Education has increased markedly as supporting tool to reinforce traditional teaching models. In this sense, Social Network Sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, facilitate communication between students and instructor on daily issues or even they can serve as an extra manner for distribution of knowledge. However, faculty members are reluctant to integrate these new technologies in their classrooms despite the high level of acceptance of SNSs within the student community.
In this article, we examined the excellent results obtained with the employment of Facebook and Twitter as additional resources of learning to the traditional face-to-face model of instruction. The initiative has lead to increase student motivation and participation in the learning process through online discussion about relevant daily topics that were later analyzed in the classroom. The experience has shown that integration of SNSs in formal education facilitates understanding, or even the analytical and critiquing skills about essential topics usually difficult to understand due to time constrains or technological limitations in traditional scenarios. The study was conducted with first year undergraduates at a chemistry course and it showed the improvement in the academic results in comparison with previous courses. This excellent performance and the high satisfaction level observed with the responses to a questionnaire given at the end of the semester indicate the potential of using these applications in higher education.