Youmei Liu


Social media tools have become ubiquitous. You can see our students use them all the time. Among them most popular tools are Facebook, Wiki, YouTube, bulletin board, LinkedIn, blogging, and twittering. The advancement of modern technologies tries its best to accommodate the needs from people, especially the younger generation. As educators, how can we take advantage of this momentum? This paper will share a research study that was conducted in fall of 2009 at the central campus of the University of Houston. The study investigated student’s use of different social media tools, their perceptions and attitudes towards these tools, and their preference of social networking groups. The results show that the three top-used social media tools are Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube; the top four reasons for using social media tools are for social engagement, direction communication, speed of feedback, and relationship building. Regarding social networking group, they preferred a group of civically engaged and no membership required as well as a group based on contemporary topic that may not last long. Based on their input, the author suggested some educational implications of some of these tools as a valuable resource for teaching and learning.