PFP: Tech and Innovation in Higher Ed

For this post, I found an article by Pearson, an education and publishing group well known in the realm of  Higher Education. The group conducted a study to determine how faculty in today’s higher education circles use social media. The article is full of statistics, graphs, and charts, and it was interesting to see what group/percentage of higher education actually uses social media in their classrooms.

Before I talk about statistics and data, I’m interested in how they define social media. Usually, when Pearson says “social media,” the group means blogs/wikis, podcasts, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitterb (10). This is interesting to me because, generally, I think that media is a common resource used in classes (videos, movies, YouTube, songs, Google programs, etc.) I wouldn’t think that social media would be as commonly considered “learning tool” in classrooms. But let’s get down to statistics. As you can imagine, educators 35 and younger are more likely to use social media in their classrooms than any other age group (Pearson 16). This age group also tends to use blogs/wikis as educational material more than any other social media medium (if that’s grammatical correct). Of the 35 and younger category, 5% report using social media daily, about 17% report that they use it weekly, and 30% report that they use it monthly (Pearson 16).

But what about videos? Where do they fall? Eighty seven point five percent of faculty report that they use videos. This is an overwhelming majority that transcends all age groups (Pearson 20). But what was interesting to me was that Pearson’s data suggests that in most every instance the Humanities is the discipline that incorporates social media or videos more than any other discipline (Pearson). This data doesn’t surprise me only because the material taught in the humanities lends itself better to humanities inspired media like videos, songs, and the like.

This is all fine and good. But I’m wondering what the benefit of using social media in class actually is. I can understand the weekly or monthly inclusion of blogs, if teachers require their students to write blog posts for credit. But really, I can’t imagine bringing in Facebook or LinkedIn on the regular. I’m not sure what purpose that would serve, unless they’re showing memes every day to start the class or something. It seems like it would be more of a distraction, if anythign.  I have used videos in class. That’s not an unusual resource at all in my experience. Maybe podcasts could be a regular tool to assign as homework as well.  I have encouraged students to post surveys on their Facebook page or on the Virginia Tech class Facebook page. But other that that, I’m not sure how or why I would weekly  integrate other social media. Do you all have any use for social media? I would like to hear suggestions and opinions!

Work Cited:

Pearson. “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Facebook: How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media.” Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. Accessed 29 March 2017.


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