Using social media in higher education settings is no longer a trend; it is a learning tool for students, a marketing tool for schools, and a teaching tool for faculty.
Pearson Learning Solutions, in conjunction with the Babson Survey Research Group, has conducted an annual social media study since 2010. This fall, Pearson’s study used data from nearly 8,000 faculty across the country, recently releasing this detailed report with findings from their Annual Survey of Social Media Use by Higher Education Faculty, 2013. In it, they measure social media usage as compared to 2012, explain trends, and lay out concerns. A condensed version of the 2013 findings can be found in this infographic.
- Privacy is a huge concern for faculty. 75% fear risk to their personal privacy, and nearly that many fear risk to their students. Around 90% of faculty believe those outside of class should not be able to participate in class discussions—or even view them
- More than half of surveyed faculty use social media as a professional staff member, though only 41% actually use social media to teach. It comes as no surprise that the biggest group of professional social media staff is under age 35. Interestingly, though, a pattern that changed in the past year was the use of faculty using social media in class. Teachers aged 35-44 were actually more likely to use social media as part of a project than those staff aged below 35 or above 44.
- Nearly 80% of faculty say that social media has increased faculty-student communication—an important factor in today’s digital age
- When it comes to group work, the study found that creating, commenting on, or learning from blogs and wikis placed highest in terms of faculty assignments(70%+). Podcasts were a distant second, with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn far behind (under 20%)
- Because of the overwhelming amount of content, three-quarters of faculty worry about the integrity of student submissions
While some may still see social media in education as unnecessary, the learning interaction it provides may change minds: While people only retain around 10% of what they read, they tend to retain 50% of what they watch—and YouTube is a great example of that.
Every single teaching age group saw a rise in social media use since 2012. In fact, last year it was found that 100% of colleges and universities were using some form of social media. In 2013, it’s not how many, but how much and how well schools are using it. As we prepare to ring in 2014, more forms of social media will debut, and undoubtedly we’ll create new ways to incorporate emerging technologies into teaching.
For many, the difference between a paper textbook and an e-textbook is not all that great. The costs are similar, the way higher education uses them are similar, and the capabilities are quite alike. Cue to 2013, where embedded technologies that make interactivity and learning a reality are finally hitting digital shelves.
With incredible advances in technology, it’s curious that so few companies have worked to create stand-out textbook-based software for college students. Until recently, digital textbooks have been, in large part, re-creations of paper books with limited search and quiz capabilities. That’s definitely changing as many e-textbook publishers are changing the way we think about digital studying and learning. Companies want to create “[more] than just flat scans of the original material,” as co-founder of Inkling Matt MacInnis says. Digital textbook software creators and publishers of the future are seeking to provide better searchability, accessibility, and interactivity.
Gutenberg Technology is working hard on MyEbookFactory, an e-textbook publishing platform with InDesign and MOOC-like enhancements. Meanwhile, McGraw-Hill is pushing to rethink how we publish specific content in the first place. Rather than waiting for test grades to come back, digital textbooks can immediately redirect students who don’t understand various concepts to a module with more details and problem sets.
Many companies are working on digital textbook innovations: Software company Kno offers incredible interaction with trackable learning engagement, notes from professors right on the e-text, and much more. Interestingly, Pearson education is thinking from the other side of the spectrum, soon releasing “audited learning outcomes” that might help measure the impact of various e-textbook components. Though there are still challenges in the realm of e-textbooks, innovators and educators are hard at work to help assist how we study and learn. We can’t wait to see where digital textbooks head next.
Preparing college students for the “real world” has never been more important than it is today. We live in an era where students feel knowledgeable about every subject simply because they can access news and information on their mobile devices at all times. The truth, however, is that few students are prepared for the independent thinking and creative applications needed once they step outside the higher education zone. Authorship learning is here to prepare them.
Simply put, authorship learning allows students to become the educators by having them research, collaborate, and teach to a public audience (whether online or in person). Further than that, it’s a teaching style that forces the student to learn via the process of applying, tinkering, and constructing new avenues. Current learning teaches students to follow, but self-authorship demands that a student trust the internal voice. This role-reversal is no easy feat, but it allows students to learn, collaborate, and teach themselves on an entirely new level. Instructional Design Specialist Jonan Donaldson is pioneering an intense form of authorship learning, and has turned the tables on traditional teaching. In authorship education, he sees engaged learning that moves from a traditional instructional paradigm to self-discovery and exploration.
Authoring articles and ideas needn’t be difficult; platforms such as Storybird allow students to read, write, share, and inspire others. Learnist takes another angle and creates ways for your students to teach and learn by creating personal lesson boards and more for an international audience. Some students write entries on Wikipedia, while others choose to actually help write online books. Other faculty may choose to lead students through a more stringent methodology. It may seem demanding, but authorship learning makes students research, edit, create, and truly think for themselves. What’s important is that students have an attainable goal of presenting to or writing for an outside audience, not just a familiar classroom of fellow students and a professor.
School music programs use public concerts and recitals to demonstrate mastery, so why shouldn’t standard classes? Rather than sending students off into the work world unarmed, try slowly adding elements of authorship learning into your classroom learning. Your students will be able to problem solve and think for themselves while relishing in already having published material for a genuine audience. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll have learned how to become a leader and teacher—not just a follower.
Imagine a college classroom where students work at their own pace and move on to the next learning module only when they have mastered each particular lesson. In this scenario, professors can give individual coaching, students perform better in class, and everyone comes out ahead. It’s called “mastery learning,” and it’s a learning method that, thanks to modern technology, is becoming popular after decades of development.
Started in the early part of the 20th century, mastery learning was always something that was proven to have positive effects on learning. Those who have experience with mastery learning believe that all children can learn if provided with the appropriate conditions, but due to traditional classroom teaching methods, complete mastery of a subject by every student has never been a realistic possibility. Mastery learning truly puts the student in command and allows the teacher to give individual attention while in class. Because teachers couldn’t possibly teach ten different levels of learning at once, though, the movement never fully caught on. Teaching individually, assessing and testing without having students cheat, and simply having time to devote to each learning group during short class periods was impossible. But now, thanks to modern technologies, possibilities in mastery learning are now in teachers’ hands.
The flipped classroom is the most useful tool teachers use in mastery learning. Posting lectures online and reserving classroom time for going over questions means students no longer need to work at a uniform pace. True mastery learning, however, goes far beyond the “standard” flipped classroom. By definition, students cannot move on to the next teaching segment without mastering the current one, so class time can get hectic. Many professors stress that class scheduling and classroom management (video) is the real difference between successful mastery learning in a flipped classroom and chaos. With a schedule nailed down, students can concentrate on teaching themselves how to learn and think for themselves rather than passively listening to a lecture.
When it comes down to it, mastery learning while in class becomes all about applying, not just learning. The learning happens at home during what used to be homework time, and is then truly understood while going over problems and projects in the classroom. Interestingly, the entire mastery learning platform is much like home schooling, where students learn on their own and consult their parents or tutors when they don’t understand an issue. Mastery learning may take more time investment and effort to perfect the art of mastery learning, but the incredible results from educated students and satisfied staff undoubtedly make the process worth it.