Social media is often seen merely as a way to pass the time or stay connected to friends and family. However, its use is rapidly expanding into the educational sector.
Each year, Pearson Learning Solutions puts out the results of an annual survey of social media use in education.
Across the board, educators are using social media more in 2013 than they did in 2012. For many this may not be too surprising, especially given the rise of blended learning and flipped classroom strategies.
Some of the Findings
In general, the survey found that faculty are becoming more interested in the ability to leverage social tools to facilitate engagement with course material and to encourage the learning process.
Comparing 2012 to 2013, the results of the survey indicate that the use of social media has increased 21.3%.
Roughly 59% of educators agree that the interactive nature of elearning and other mobile technologies results in a better learning environment for students. That said, 56% also believe that the same online and mobile technologies can result in more distractions.
Still, despite the possibility of distractions, 78.9% believe that the use of elearning and mobile technologies increased the teacher and student communication.
What Tools are Used?
The survey asks educators to report their use of the following platforms:
- Blogs & Wikis
The most used social media methods are blogs and wikis, but all five increased in use from 2012 to 2013. Learners are being asked to create, add comments, read, watch, and listen to content in electronic format – most of which supplements the in-class lectures.
Participants of the survey indicated that their number one concern of using social media in the classroom is the integrity of student submissions, followed closely by concerns about privacy.
Both are certainly valid, and ones that have always been part of the discussion as it relates to elearning and social media use.
In the past, I have seen this overcome by using a closed network (or intranet) to manage user accounts and elearning delivery. This is manageable when using blogs and wikis, but when it comes to the other social platforms, then the challenge becomes a bit more complicated.
In the end though, I would not be surprised to see the 2014 results of this survey report an increased use compared to 2013 – despite the risks.
Elearning and social media are very much a part of social life that it only makes sense to leverage it where possible for educational purposes, especially if it has a positive impact on learning.
“Social Media for Teaching and Learning 2013 Survey” – Pearson Learning Solutions