The impact of social networks on student learning: the views of certain stakeholders
It is clear that networks are a part of young people’s lives today, especially in urban areas. There is also no doubt that their use can affect these young people, especially students. But given the current situation, is this effect positive or negative? A journalist from Guineematin.com went to the General Lansana Conte University in Sonfonia yesterday, Friday January 20, 2023 to discuss this situation with some of the actors involved.
The use of social networks (Facebook, Tiktok, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.) has become almost a necessity for many young people in Conakry. For some, it is this virtual world that occupies most of their time today. A worrying situation for sociologist, teacher-researcher Mamoudou Mariam Tounkara at the General Lansana Conte University in Sonfonia. For him, constantly being on social networks can lead to negative results in the education of young people.
“I think you can’t over-expose and treat social media as learning. To learn, you need to set a goal. And to achieve this goal, you must avoid any tool that can distract you from this goal. And unfortunately, social media are the tools that make those people and groups addicted to these tools that can turn them off course. On the other hand, those who want to exercise through social networks can indeed do so. Because social networks allow us to spread knowledge. They can enable us to access this widespread know-how.
I personally have a WhatsApp group where all the students taking this course meet. I am asked questions and I answer directly. But when we are exposed to social networks, we influence the way we work, act and think. However, it is a virtual world. This often leads people to be confused about the manners of study wear. That is, they are tempted to reproduce what they see in others. And this often leads to a violation of morality, “explains this teacher-researcher.
Mohamed Traore, chief administrator of the IT department of the University of General Lansana Conté de Sonfonia, also disagrees with the constant presence of students on social networks. According to him, observations show that this distracts many of them from training.
“Today, you can see a student who is physically inside but mentally outside. Because the student is not aware of everything that happens in the room after closing. Thus it distracts the student. Second, there is a loss of concentration. When we are often connected on social networks, we tend to lose our ability to focus on long-term tasks.
As soon as some of them close, the first thing that comes to their mind is the photo they posted, how many views they have, and knowing who the commenters are – they are appreciated. Therefore, students often worry about such things instead of focusing on the tasks they should be doing,” he said.
On the student side, we are trying to de-escalate the situation. Suzanne Toupou, a student of the Faculty of Modern Letters at Sonfonia University, points out that using social networks is not a bad thing. What can go wrong for him is the way they are used and what the user is looking for.
“The social network is completely neutral. What makes it bad for our training is the way we use it. Otherwise, it’s something that can be used for job hunting or advanced research. Moreover, with the LMD system, we are short on time. We should use the minimum time we have at home for good research that can help us prepare before coming to university.”
The same story with Mamadou Aguibou Diallo, a 3rd undergraduate student at the Department of Political Science at Sonfonia University. However, the latter admits that most students do not use social networks profitably.
“I think everyone has their own understanding of the impact of using social networks. But what is clear is that it is not all bad. If we take Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for example, people can make videos that can really educate others. Unfortunately, there are few young people in our country who are interested in the productivity of social networks.
You can ask a few students here and they will tell you that once they log in, they automatically go to Facebook and just for fun. Personally, I use social networks, but I do not like to subscribe to pages that do not bring me anything positive. I follow WhatsApp training every day and it really allows me to develop myself more,” offered this student.
According to officials at the General Lansana Conte University in Sonfonia, they are fighting social media abuse by their students.
Mohamed Guéasso DORÉ for Guineematin.com