Social Media as a Student Learning Activity:
Results of a Pilot Study
Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®
Specialist in Financial...
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Galaxy Poster #2-Social Media as Student Learning Activity


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Galaxy Poster #2-Social Media as Student Learning Activity

  1. 1. Social Media as a Student Learning Activity: Results of a Pilot Study Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP® Specialist in Financial Resource Management Rutgers NJAES Cooperative ExtensionProject Description Working with the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education (NJCFE) with a $10,000 grant from the Council for Economic Education, the following steps were taken: • First, we recruited ten participating New Jersey teachers and two alternates to participate in this project by widely circulating a flyer describing the social media project goals and participation requirements. • Second, we provided a 3-hour training workshop for the twelve teachers (10 + 2 alternates). The training covered the project methodology, the content of the Council for Economic Education’s Financial Fitness for Life (FFFL) curriculum, and the process of creating quality educational Twitter and Facebook messages to teach personal finance concepts. • Third, pre-tests were administered to over 200 students by the participating teachers before instruction began with the Financial Fitness for Life curriculum. After administering the pre-test, the participating teachers had three to five months (depending on their school schedule) to teach the FFFL curriculum, have their students create social media messages, and administer a post-test on the curriculum content. • Fourth, social media messages were received from seven of the original 12 trained teachers. They were reviewed for content accuracy, grammar edits, and usefulness in financial education by the project manager and three peer reviewers: a teacher, a Cooperative Extension educator, and a NJCFE member in the private sector. • Fifth, differences between pre- and post-test average scores and the number of students with passing grades (70+) were compared to determine the effectiveness of the student-based activity in teaching financial education concepts. • Sixth, CD-ROMs containing social media messages deemed to have broad educational value were created and distributed at state and national conferences for financial educators. In addition, the social media messages will be posted on the NJCFE Web site Results and Discussion Quantitative Data Seven teachers submitted pre- and post-test data collected from 210 students . The other trained teachers had changes in their assignments or other reasons for not participating. Three of the seven teachers reported significant increases in student knowledge scores between the two assessments with scores rising from failing average scores in the 30s to average passing scores in the 70s. Not every teacher had time to teach all of the FFL lessons, however, which undoubtedly affected their outcomes, All teachers scores rose by some amount. Qualitative Data At the same time that the social media messages and post-tests were being submitted, participating teachers were sent a follow-up evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the project. Below are some comments that were received with insights about the educational process that was used and the content that resonated with students: • My seniors created a Twitter account where they posted some of their messages. My freshman and my seniors created a commercial for the school to advertise their site and provided information about financial literacy. • Grouping students who were familiar with Twitter with those who were not as familiar created a good team dynamic and fostered student learning, not only of personal finance topics, but of teamwork and Twitter. • Students now have a better understanding of the many expenses their parents have. • I love the material. It is very easy to use and understandable for my students. Many times I saw the lesson clicking on their faces.  They really liked the examples of building wealth over time- huge numbers! • The credit lessons fostered a lot of collaboration and much discussion, especially about student loans. Sample Twitter Messages Avoid getting involved in a risky pyramid scheme. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Be careful! Payday loans have extremely high interest rates, which could land you in even more debt than B4: The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Other things you can do to lower your car insurance premiums: Got money? Consider investing small amounts at regular intervals in quality mut fds via #dollar_cost_averaging: Money doesn’t grow on trees. But it can start growing if u save at a young age & let it grow. More $$$ tips? See The Rule of 72 helps u figure out about how long it will take 2 double your savings: Sample Facebook Messages Character, Capacity and Collateral. These are the 3 C’s of credit. Character, based on your credit history, indicates if you promptly repay your debt. Capacity is your ability to pay off a loan. If you earn $38,000 a year you probably can’t afford a $1,000,000 house. Collateral is what the bank takes back (e.g., a house or a car) if you can’t pay back a loan. For more $$$ information, see Establish a budget to make getting rich easier! First, track everything you spend in a month. Then be sure that your expenses do not exceed your income. After you see exactly where your money is going, reallocate it to buy what you really want and need. Include savings as an “expense.” For more $$$ information, see Keep in mind that whatever you do has an opportunity cost, which means that you could have done something else with your time and/or money. For example, if you don’t graduate from college or trade school, the opportunity cost is your future earnings as salaries generally increase with education. For more $$$ information, see