Description: This study examines adolescent students at an American international school and observes student use of social networking programs as well as physical actions in the search process. The study specifically observed multitasking behavior and organizational skills among students, as well as linkages made through social networking sites. Student observations, student interviews, analysis of Facebook entries, and a survey on multitasking yielded rich data. Students appear to be far more organized than previously suggested in the literature, and in this study, the organization proved to be largely self-taught. Students used their social networks to build a kind of group expertise that compensated for their youthful naivety. Students exhibited self-control within the search to the degree that they could focus on what they wanted to find, and they used heuristics—mental shortcuts—to achieve what they needed. Searches also suggest creativity in that students were flexible in their search methods and used a number of tools to gather information. Students could balance the needs of the academic or imposed search with their own online lives, meaning that they made compensations for social media and media multitasking when it was deemed necessary.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Kurtenbach, John