From students’ perspectives: Engaging teenagers in learning via social media while gaining global viewpoints

Your Name and Title:

Grace Y. Ling

BS Candidate, Department of Bioengineering

Minor in Entrepreneurship

Class of 2019


School or Organization Name:

 Santa Clara University


Co-Presenter Name(s):

Mei-Yan Lu, Ph.D.


Department of Educational Leadership

Lurie College of Education

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA 95192-0072


Area of the World from Which You Will Present:

San Jose (a.k.a. Silicon Valley), California



Language in Which You Will Present:




Target Audience(s):


High school and college students, teachers, professors, educators.


Short Session Description (one line):


From students’ perspectives: Engaging teenagers in learning via social media while gaining global viewpoints

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):


Educators are always looking for ways to engage their students in learning. This presentation will focus on high school students’ perspectives of social media and how it could be used to enhance learning; at the same time, helping students to gain global perspectives.


Many people may think gaining global perspectives could be costly due to the fact that international travels are very expensive. Although in recent years, the percentage of Americans with passports is at an all-time high, and at 38%, up from 3% in 1974 (USA Today 2015). International trips are still costly. Fortunately, in 2015, educators have another venue to help students gaining global perspectives - by encouraging students to build their own social media web sites on the topics that they are passionate about. And, hopefully, gaining the attention of international audience to provide feedback, or by collaborating with another classroom in another country.


According to NBC news, "On any given day, American teenagers (13- to 18-year-olds) average about nine hours of entertainment media use, excluding time spent at school or for homework (NBC news, November 3rd, 2015).


Social media has transformed the modern communication, especially meeting the current teenager’s needs of instant gratification. It has the ability to directly provide user information and feedback. It interacts with users on an one-on-one level, which is vastly different than traditional media’s board cast model. In addition, depends upon the setup and content of the social media web site, the host may receive questions, feedback from global audience.


In addition, social media is a great way to establish virtual learning community within teachers or peers and can be extended to global audience. For example, in many Silicon Valley high schools, students made Facebook groups for each class, posting assignment reminders, and interesting related articles. This is a great reminder to do homework and a way to extend knowledge beyond the classroom, with real world examples outside the classroom.


The main presenter/author is an avid user of social media. She runs a blog on lifestyle and fitness. Known for being a cross country national finalist and winning the All American title, she has accumulated over 4,800 followers on tumblr and total of 6,400 followers on instagram within a year. Mostly of her readers are from all over the world. The main presenter/author thinks it’s due to the fact that she is relatable and provide thoughtful answers to her both domestic and international audience’s questions.


One of the popular social media program is Tumblr. It is an interactive “two-way” communication website where reader can post question to the authors and receive answers to be posted to the web site where all readers can see. The main presenter/author receives questions daily from her global audience regarding her experiences with school, sports, and more.


The main presenter/author like to recommend to the educators to use social media to engage their classroom students and also broaden the global perspectives.  For example, the social media users can “like” posts fuels current culture’s need for instant gratification. It fuels the positive reinforcement of social media. Educators can “like” the posts of students when they post about something related to what they are learning to motivate the student - an alternative way to reach students is through social media and positive reinforcement.


When students author a social media web site, depends upon the setup, they have a global audience. With an audience, the main presenter/author feels obligated to be a good role model, therefore she tries her best in all areas of her life, especially in school.


Social media also extends to the world beyond the classroom. It is a great way to help students think critically about the real world.


Even though social media is a great method of communication, the author like to point out that there is still a line that needs to be drawn between the teacher and student. For example, a history teacher in a high school created a “separate” Facebook page, aside from her personal website. She created a group where she posted current event articles about topics we discuss in class. This is a great way to engage students in discussion.


Another example is that a Chinese teacher in high school used Blogger. Every month, she will assigned a few topics (for example, first day of high school, vacation, holiday experiences) to write a post about in chinese. Students really enjoyed this assignment because they got to read classmate’s posts, practicing Chinese at the same time. Students can also “like” each other’s posts, fueling positive reinforcement. In addition, this teacher connect the California class with another class - across the globe - in Taipei as “pen pal” to practice Chinese language in real life globally.


More practical instructional strategies for both students and teachers, parents, will be included in the presentation.



NBC News (2015). Teens Spend 'Astounding' Nine Hours a Day in Front of Screens: Researchers.


USA Today (2015). Americans are finally traveling abroad; number of passport holders has increased 35%.


Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: Under construction. Please stay tuned.

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Please edit your proposal and add more language about the global aspects in this presentation. Also, please use the required conference strand tags as outlined in step 9 of the call for proposals.


Lucy Gray

Conference Co-Chair 


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