Numerous and varied methods are used in introductory Earth science and geology classes to help students learn about rocks and minerals, such as classroom lectures, laboratory specimen identification, and field trips. This paper reports on a method using online social networking. The choice of this forum was based on two criteria. First, many traditional students are likely comfortable with such an interface and its associated learning style. Second, social networking sites have functionality, such as the ability for users to link and group themselves, which is not available in other common web-facilitated learning environments such as course management systems. Each student was assigned the role of a unique mineral and rock. They were required to create a separate web page for each, with a photograph and description, on MySpace.com, a popular social networking web site. They were also required to join groups based on the classification of the rock or mineral. Finally, they were required to link to the minerals that constitute each rock by becoming "friends." A post-exercise questionnaire showed all students found this a useful and enjoyable exercise, and most believed it helped them to learn and remember information about rocks and minerals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)