Friday, July 06, 2007

Faculty Use of Social Networks

Thomson Releases Survey on Faculty and Use of Social Networks

A preliminary look at a survey found nearly 50 percent of faculty respondents familiar with social networking technologies, including blogs, MySpace, and Facebook, say such technologies "have or will change the way students learn." Curiously, however, about two-thirds of faculty respondents also said they do not feel social networking will have an effect on how they teach—or are at least uncertain if it will. The survey, conducted for Academic publisher Thomson Learning, reflects "a lack of awareness and understanding" of these emerging technologies, suggest administrators.

The Thomson Learning survey, was conducted over a five-week period and included 677 professors, most of whom have been "teaching for more than ten years at four- or two-year colleges and universities on the subjects of humanities/social sciences or business/economics." ...survey also found, however, that that there is significant room for growth in faculty members' use of technology: 59 percent do not have their own web sites; 82 percent have yet to make a podcast, and only ten percent have their own blogs. ...key findings indicate "a large opportunity for faculty introduction, education, and integration of social networking and media tools, for both professional and personal use."

A large opportunity indeed. Faculty has not yet opened their eyes to a big wake up call - social networking technologies will change the way students learn and the way teachers teach. The whole dynamic of pedagogy will change - the chart I posted after this entry shows that those aged 18-21 are the Creators - those who publish web pages, write blogs, upload videos - these are individuals used to working without boundaries, connecting with whom they please, mashing and creating anew - independently - and they will want their input recognized, appreciated and used. Active, constructivist learning apporoaches will be demanded. Students will want more freedom, more control of resources, learning strategies - and this will impact on our structured approach to educational programming - we will have to refine our idea of teaching "episodes" (course, program) we need to "fragment" learning into connected learning scenarios, within modifiable and open learning environments that persist and stay within the control of the learner after they leave our relationship. Ownership and control of learning will shift to the student. We have to change. Wakey, wakey - there's a tsunami of change approaching...

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