Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Cavalli, N.,Costa, E. I., Ferri, P., Mangiatordi, A., Micheli, M., Pozzali, A., Scenini, F., and Serenelli, F. (2011). Facebook influence on university students’ media habits: qualitative results from a field research, MIT7

Facebook has significantly transformed the online habits of young Italians. Our research assesses this change through a two-year survey conducted among undergraduate students. The data we collected in 2008 (N=1088) and 2009 (N=1123) allowed us to define profiles of media use based on indicators such as time spent online, consumption or creation of content, and familiarity with digital technologies as compared to analog media. Results have also shown the quick adoption of Facebook: in 2008, half of the students were completely unfamiliar with Facebook, while in 2009 all our respondents were aware of it and 59% of them were also using it on a regular basis. To grasp the magnitude of this change, we conducted a qualitative research study based on 30 semi-structured interviews with randomly selected university students (aged 19-24). Our research questions whether the massive adoption of Facebook, both in terms of frequency and time spent online, is really producing a change in how Italian students are using the Internet, or whether it is merely reproducing old forms of media consumption. To explore this issue, we will focus on how students are appropriating Facebook – in terms of uses and meanings they attach to it – and on the transformation of the relationship between more traditional forms of media consumption (like television) and digital media.

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