Study: Profs see YouTube as most benefitial social platform

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Which social network is more important in the future? According to a study released Monday by the Babson Survey Research Group and the e-learning giant Pearson, there are some social networks delivering more intellectual efficiency than others. The study asked 1,920 faculty profs at various types of institutions.

Testing the uses of nine different types of social media platforms among professors, the study states that professors consider YouTube the most useful tool by far. For both teaching and non-classroom professional use, it is more benefitial. Nearly one third of students that were instructed by their profs to watch online videos as homework, and about 73% replied they thought YouTube videos were either somewhat or very valuable for classroom use. Not saying that they necessarily use them currently.

Other Web 2.0 tools performed less well among the users. Only 2% of the profs said they used Twitter in class, and another 2% responded they used it for professional purposes outside the classroom. However, some more said they could see at least some value in the microblogging site. The portion of these long-sellers still amounted to less than a tenth of all respondents.

The small benefit of Facebook in class or for homework assignments does not surprise me. Although many professors use the site for personal or professional networking, the respondents see not much value from a professional point of view. Faculty rate the site’s long-term prospects in the classroom only slightly above Twitter’s – 15% submitting that it is at least somewhat valuable.

53% (and 46% respectively) of professors think that Twitter and Facebook not only lack pedagogical value but in fact harm classroom courses. It would have been nice to get an explanation herefore but this is not shown from the study results.

Wikis for classroom use seem to be unpopular as well still. Although faculty see their potential value as higher than Twitter or Facebook. 36% saying they view wikis as having some value in the classroom.

Spot On!
These are some more detailed new findings compared to a similar but more limited survey Pearson and Babson did last year. The small difference between professors who teach online and those who teach in person can be seen. However, the question for the future will be how much people will be educated in school on the opportunities and potential that the social platforms can offer. And I personally doubt that all profs are already understanding, or are able to leverage the validity and differentiation between the social platforms. YouTube is easy to use from a faculty point of view: If the prof is standing in front of the class or shown on a screen does not make a massive change from a teaching perspective if Q&A’s are offered along with it. The challenge will be to create and maintain cross-over education between platforms like i.e. Twitter, Wikis, Youtube and Facebook. And the value of social bookmarking sites as reading reference is big. No reason to add these to educational reference value, and to give reading advice to the curriculum? Think about it…

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