Both in and out of school, students are socializing more online. According to an annual report released last month by the Pew Internet and American Life project, 95 percent of teenagers are active online, and nearly three out of four children ages 12 to 17 access the Internet via mobile devices, making virtual connections much more integral to most students’ daily lives.
At the same time, more than 6.7 million students took at least one online class in 2012 according to an annual national survey; most of those classes require students to interact or collaborate with classmates and instructors virtually.
The closer the virtual method to live interaction, Ms. Sherman found, the better students were able to engage socially. Students using video chat—which allows the most identification of facial and body gestures, voice inflection, and other cues—had the greatest depth of social interaction, and students reported the greatest feeling of social engagement afterward. Students using text messaging felt and acted the least connected.
photo via flickr:CC | rorymarinich