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Facebook a distraction from studies?

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Jeff Young from the Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog recounted a new study from Ohio State in which the performance of students was assessed using their use of Facebook as a determining factor.  There are many raised eyebrows surrounding this topic, but the data so far is inconclusive and not accurate enough to draw true correlations between use and performance.  Frankly, I would wager that there are more factors than just Facebook for poor performance.  What if one student didn’t use Facebook but constantly texted their friends in class, played Warcraft until 3a.m. and then spent most of the other times watching old Kung Fu movies without cracking a book?  I would wager that performance would rate rather low.  Then again what if there was another student which had a similar behavior pattern but used Facebook to organize get togethers with their friends, shared assignments online, and contacted their librarian for help via Facebook.  They may still perform poorly, but it wasn’t their use of Facebook that brought them down. 

I would be curious to run a study in which the students are assigned a level of social networking proficiency.  From that we could try to rate whether their networking seemed to add or detract from a normalized pattern of studious behavior.

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