Christine Greenhow: Exploring How Social Media Impact Learning

Mar 15, 2018

Christine Greenhow is associate professor in Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at MSU’s renowned College of Education.

“We have outstanding students and faculty and faculty who are really pushing the boundaries of knowledge,” says Greenhow. “We’re always trying to get better at teaching and learning and get students more engaged in whatever it is we’re trying to teach them. We’re doing a lot of interesting things with technology.”


Greenhow researches how social media impact learning.

“In so many industries, social media is a game changer,” she says. “And we have to ask the question how could it be or how is it being used as a game changer in education. I’m really interested in how kids take up social media in their everyday lives, in and out of school. How can social media help kids build the social networks that will keep them doing well in school?

“Social media tools do help kids build their social networks. How that directly impacts student learning outcomes we don’t know yet.”

Social media are increasingly coming under fire for everything from their impact on elections to their all-consuming grip on some people. Greenhow describes how now, with social media, “anyone can post information online and get their views and voices heard using social media. That’s a good thing.

“This also means there are more perspectives and opinions out there that you have to sift through and synthesize to figure out what is real and what is fake. That’s challenging, but that’s where education comes in. And media and information literacy are things we should be teaching in school, like how to read meaningfully and discern fiction from fact on the internet.”

During the 2018 All-University Awards, Greenhow was recognized with a Teacher-Scholar Award by Michigan State University. The award recognizes faculty who are doing excellent scholarship and teaching with their teaching informed by and closely linked to their scholarship.

“As teachers, when a student asks us ‘why are you doing this?’ we should have a research-based reason and rationale for things we’re doing in the classroom.”

Some of her ongoing and future research interests involve trying to determine “what do we know about how social media impacts students’ learning and teachers’ teaching.” She’s also surveying and interviewing fellow scholars “to understand how these new social media tools are changing academic practices.”

Greenhow describes the first study of Michigan State University’s pioneering robot-learning course that shows that online students who use the innovative robots feel more engaged and connected to the instructor and students in the classroom.

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