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THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON STUDENTS' READING CULTURE IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
This study was carried out to the influence of social media on students' reading culture in tertiary institutions. Specifically, the study examine the types of social media frequently use by students. The study also find out if the use of social media by students in tertiary institution affect their reading culture. Furthermore, the study investigate the extent at which students visit the library to read books. Lastly, the study evaluate the extent at which student in tertiary institution makes use of social media. A total of 30 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that the types of social media frequently used by students are facebook, twitter, instagram, and whatsapp. Also, the use of social media by students in tertiary institution affect their reading culture. Furthermore, students visit the library to read books to a high extent. Lastly, student in tertiary institution makes use of social media. The study thereby recommend that students should be encouraged to join English and literary society in order to develop their interest in reading of books. Also, the University management should organized a reading competition at the end of every academic session and award the best readers in order to encourage students’ reading habits. Furthermore,there should be a need of integration of extensive reading in the minimum standard of University in Nigeria as an independent general study course for students in order to improve their reading habits.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Globally, the concept of reading is one of the essential building blocks of learning, it is a process that requires the use of complex thought processes to interpret printed symbols as meaningful units, and to comprehend them as a thought unit in order to understand. This implies that reading is a process of interpreting symbols in order to derive meaning to shape the mind. Beyond shaping the mind, reading is an important element for everyday activities of being informed. According to Ogbuiyi, Oriogu, Momoh and Ogbuiyi (2013), reading is said to be an encapsulating process which is integrative in nature, and which affects the reader’s perceptual, cognitive, and affective domains. It is also the action carried out by some individual to read anything they want to understand very well in order to develop his or her skills and knowledge as talent. Reading therefore enables an individual to grow and develop insights into life and the world at large. Also, through reading individuals can make decisions that lead to personal health and happiness. Owusu-Acheaw and Larson (2014) assert that reading provides information necessary for day-to-day survival. This suggests that the act of reading bridges the gap between ignorance and knowledge. The concept of reading is viewed as the ability to recognize and understand characters or words that may be printed or written on paper. It is defined by Ogugua, Emerole, Egwim, Anyanwu and Haco-Obasi (2015) as the ability to obtain meaning from words, understand words contained in a document with the intention of making use of the knowledge for personal growth. According to Palani (2012) reading is significant aspect of creating a literate society. It helps individuals to develop a good thinking ability that can help them make good decision. Also, Hall(2012) is of the view that reading is the realization of general interpretative process which underlies all communicative activities. This means that, when one is reading; one is thinking, predicting, questioning, evaluating and redefining a concept. Issa (2012) is of the view that reading is reasoning, because it involves all types of thinking, such as critical, analytical, creative, imaginative, evaluative, judgmental, and problem solving. Kamalova (2016) describe reading as an integrative process that starts with the reader and includes the effective, perceptual and cognitive domains. Reading consists of activities to achieve academic excellence and good examinations result for students. To read is to carefully understand written words and the meaning it conveys. When students read, it is a knowledge acquiring process which involves the reader and the text. Reading helps individuals to be better informed. This assertion is supported by Nyam(2015) who established that reading is vital to our becoming better informed, having a better understanding of ourselves and others. Reading is considered the cornerstone of learning. It is an activity that is required by learners at all levels of education. It is a strategic activity meant to improve the knowledge of students. The ability to read is a critical factor in improving students’ ability to learn at all stages of schooling and is an essential skill for accessing opportunities beyond school (Igwe, 2011). Reading is an essential tool for knowledge transfer. According to Ogbonna (2014), reading is central to academic and intellectual development of learners at all levels. Skinner(2013) also asserts that one of the most important activities in tertiary education is reading, which is not for pleasure but for information that has been researched, organized and documented in accordance with the rules of academic discourse. It is therefore necessary for students at the college level to develop the habit of reading for their academic achievement.In Nigeria where English Language is an official language, the ability to read equips learners at any level of education to read and understand other subjects in the school curriculum. Therefore the habit of reading is an academic activity that increases the skills in reading for academic progress. Onwusu-Acheaw (2014) emphasizes that reading habits determine the academic achievements of students to a great extend. Achievement in the colleges requires awareness of facts and acquisition of skills in learners’ field of study which is achieved through effective reading habit. Reading habits depicts the behavior which expresses the likeness of reading and tastes of reading (Boateng, 2016). Reading habit is the use of reading as a regular activity. However, students’ ability to form the habit of reading can widen their academic horizon, and equally improve access to relevant information for their academic achievement. Nyam(2015) opines that reading habit is identified as the single most important determinant of a student’s success in education and in our modern complex society.
Several factors seem to influence reading culture, one of such is the use of social media. Social media is the newest technological explosion in the information world. It is an online networking platform that focuses on developing, building and reflecting on the social relation among people, who share the same interest, goal or activities. Since the advent of social networking sites in 1994, social media has enabled extensive communication with people around the world and beyond. It is a common knowledge that millions of people across the world use social media on a regular basis for various reasons making the world a global village. The use of social media cuts across all age groups in the society. Young people including tertiary students are not left out among those who extensively use social media. Globally, there is a rapid increase in the number of young people who have joined popular social media sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. According to Onuoha and Saheed (2011), the use of social media is predominant among young people in the society including tertiary students. Scholars such as Danladi (2018), Ailakhu (2017) are of the view that social media helps to facilitate communication with youths and enable them have information to keep abreast with the happenings in the society. Although social media use and reading culture of undergraduate students have been studied by different scholars in different context. However, the influence of social media on students' reading culture in tertiary institutions will be looked into.
Statement of the problem
The declining habit and interest in reading among students in higher institutions is a challenge to education stakeholders, especially in institutions that train teachers in different fields of education. Experience has shown that most students in Colleges of Education lack interest in reading which has contributed to their poor academic performance. Onwusu-Acheaw (2014) observes that the problem most students have that contributes to their poor performance in tests and examinations is lack of proper reading habit. Similarly, Palani (2012) discover that in most tertiary institutions, learners do not read, even the few that read only do so as a means of passing their examinations. Ezeah (2013) note that teaching and learning in tertiary institutions is faced with endless problems on the part of the learner due to their non mastery of the skills implicit in reading. In relation to that, investigations reveal that most students who graduated from such institutions have inadequate reading ability which is attributed to poor habit of reading during their school days. The situation has been made worse with the advent of the social media as a means of communication among students. They spend more hours on electronic media where they brows, send text messages and chat with their friends using their handsets instead of reading their books or any other piece of written materials. Danladi (2018) observe that social, networking sites have proven to be universally addictive for tertiary institution students who tend to spend considerable amount of time maintaining social communications, making new acquaintances and a broad based of friends during their years of study. It is against this background that the present study seeks to examine the influence of social media on students' reading culture in tertiary institutions.
Objective of the study
The general objective of the study is the influence of social media on students' reading culture in tertiary institutions. Specifically the study will be guided under the following specific objectives:
To examine the types of social media frequently use by students.
To find out if the use of social media by students in tertiary institution affect their reading culture.
To investigate the extent at which students visit the library to read books.
To evaluate the extent at which student in tertiary institution makes use of social media.
The following questions have been prepared for the study
What are the types of social media frequently use by students?
Does the use of social media by students in tertiary institution affect their reading culture?
To what extent do students visit the library to read books?
To what extent do student in tertiary institution makes use of social media?
Significance of the study
This study will examine the influence of social media on students' reading culture in tertiary institutions. Hence will be significant in the following ways:
University management board: this study will be significant to the university board as it will devise a means to sensitize students on the need to improve the culture of reading in other to excel in their academic pursuit.
Academia: this study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature on the the influence of social media on students' reading culture in tertiary institutions.
Scope of the study
This study will examine the types of social media frequently use by students. The study will also find out if the use of social media by students in tertiary institution affect their reading culture. The study will further investigate the extent at which students visit the library to read books. Lastly, the study will evaluate the extent at which student in tertiary institution makes use of social media. Hence this study will be delimited to University of Ilorin, Kwara State.
Limitation of the study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other companies and locations.
Definition of terms
Social media: websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking
Reading culture: habitual and regular reading of books and information materials
Tertiary institution: any institution that provides post-school education on a full-time, part-time or distance basis.
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