Sip tel innovation report 3


Published on

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Sip tel innovation report 3

  1. 1. SIP TEL Innovation Report 3: The Impact of Social Media and Personal Technologies on the Future of TEL Introduction: This briefing paper is the third in the series planned for the TEL SIP project. The intention for all of them was to explore the current landscape relating to current issues and innovations in Technology Enhanced Learning, based primarily on the resources and information provided by Jisc Advance. The first two papers covered Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). This final paper looks at the impact on education of the growth in the use of social media and personal technologies. It draws from recent research and surveys in Australia, the US and from Jisc Advance in the UK. 1. Trends in Social Media Some initial comments: For the purposes of this paper, the term Social Media refers to the use of social media networking websites such as Facebook1 , Twitter2 , Google+3 and LinkedIn4 . It also refers to Blogging, online social forum websites such as Google Groups5 , and the use of networked personal picture and video sharing websites such as Flickr6 , Instagram7 and YouTube8 . Perhaps the most important characteristic of Social Media that needs to be acknowledged when beginning a discussion about trends and the future landscape is the volatility in the developer and user communities. New applications are being launched on a regular basis, typically by bright new graduates from Stanford, with innovative and attractive features not provided by their predecessors. Teenagers, in particular, experiment with the new applications, they network with their friends about them online and, if the consensus is that this is really cool, they flock to them like butterflies. The applications become the new social online arenas where they can be cool with their friends. The consequence, of course, is that the previously favoured social media applications are no longer so cool and their use declines. Unless reinvented with the new features, they will rapidly become obsolete. Van Grove9 comments on the pathology of Facebook in this context. Although it currently remains head and shoulders above any other social media application in terms of users, she speculates on its future for younger users, particularly with regard to parental ability to view their children’s’ messages, and the fact that it is not cool to have your grandparents in your Facebook friends list. This of course has been recognised by the established market leaders and may have been the motivation, for example, for the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook as a way of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  2. 2. retaining the younger users, even though the business case and future income streams from their investment may not be immediately clear. Other major players have also made similar acquisitions over the years either to integrate and exploit the benefits of the new innovation or to kill them off as competitors. Current trends in social media: The information provided here is drawn predominantly from the Yellow Social Media Report10 . The report details an extensive research exercise carried out across Australia, but the data and conclusions are regarded as generally indicative of current trends in social media usage. The first message is that overall there is nearly 100% usage of the Internet in one form or the other by the whole population. This ranges from standard desktop PC usage, the use of wireless laptops and tablet computers, through to the use of smart phones, iphones, android devices and other personal communications equipment. Many people have multiple access through their home PCs, mobile laptops/tablets and, frequently, through the use of more than one mobile phone. The second message is that, of these users, 65% have a presence on one or more social media websites and that of these, 45% use social networking at least once per day. This daily usage goes up to 75% for teenagers and those in their 20’s. Social Media Usage (Yellow Social Media Report) Currently Facebook dominates with 95% of social media users having an account. However, use of all the other applications, including LinkedIn (20%), Instagram (16%), Twitter (15%) and Google+ (15%) has been growing year on year. The volatility of social media usage is illustrated through an examination of statistics relating to Twitter. Although usage has grown from 8% in 2011 to 15% in 2013, the majority (54%) of account holders reported tweeting less than once per week or not at all. Also, 12% of social media users have reported they have decided no longer use some sites over the last year. Of these, 45% have stopped using Twitter. It is possible that Twitter will respond to this by 10
  3. 3. morphing into another format as new trends emerge, perhaps by taking on the time-limited characteristics of snapchat11 . It is interesting to note that the main reason given by the 35% of Internet users that don’t use social media is lack of interest or appeal. Only 10% of that group indicated lack of IT skills as a reason. To conclude this section, the image below from Edudemic12 provides a useful pictorial account of how social media has developed over the years. It encourages reflection on those applications that have endured and those that have fallen by the wayside. 11 12
  4. 4. 2. The Impact of Social Media on TEL The Yellow Report referenced above drew information about social media trends from a detailed survey across Australia. An equally detailed annual survey by Pearson13 provides useful information about how social media is being used by higher education institutions in the United States. The overall awareness profile for academic staff of popular social media sites was reported in 2011 as shown in the diagram below. Clearly, awareness is generally high, although the relatively low rating for SlideShare indicates that its potential value for educational use, which I believe to be significant in the context of resource sharing, has not been recognised. Awareness of social media sites by academic staff The volatile use of social media is shown in the 2012 Pearson Report14 which shows that the professional (non-teaching) use by academics of LinkedIn has overtaken their use of Facebook compared with 2011. LinkedIn has become influential through its special interest groups discussing academic research and hence has a more professional focus than Facebook. Trends in the professional use of social media by academics 2011-2012 13 14
  5. 5. Online video use is reported as being the most used media in teaching. Wikis and Blogs are reported to be the most used social media tools for teaching. This demonstrates that academics regard Wikis, as online spaces to share information and resources, and Blogs, as online narratives of thoughts and activities, as valuable ways of supporting learning. The comparison is shown below. Comparison of personal, professional and teaching use of social media It is the younger academics that take the lead in social media adoption and it varies across the curriculum areas with Humanities and Arts to the fore and Computing, perhaps surprisingly, 14 percentage points behind. Videos are frequently used by academics in their teaching (88% according to Pearson), with the most popular online source being YouTube. Increasingly, with widespread access to smartphones, tablets and webcams, academics are creating their own teaching resources and students are using video to record their learning. Apart from YouTube, videos are being posted for general viewing to blogs, wikis and through other social media sites such as Instagram. A final message from the Pearson report that is worth sharing relates to the barriers seen by academics to the use of social media. The response ‘social media takes too much time to learn and use’ dropped from 60% in 2011 to 40% in 2012. The report concluded that this
  6. 6. meant that the perceived value of social media in teaching had increased, in just one year, by the same proportion. These trends and conclusions are largely reflected in the Jisc 2012 ETNA report15 which also indicates that the most popular social media sites are YouTube and Blogs. 3. Trends in Personal Technologies The Yellow Report statistics16 show that smartphones were the most popular device with which to access social media. In the past year (2012-2013), the number of social users accessing sites on their smartphone has grown from 53% to 67%, while those accessing it on a laptop dropped from 69% last year to 64% this year. Using a desktop computer to access social media also fell from 54% last year to 46% this year. Tablet usage also grew strongly from 18% last year to 35% this year. Mobile devices were the most popular in every age category under 50, with desktop computers still being the main device for social media for those aged over 50. Gartner identifies cloud computing and ‘the personal cloud’ amongst the 10 top strategic technology trends for 201317 . Their analysis is worth quoting: The personal cloud will gradually replace the PC as the location where individuals keep their personal content, access their services and personal preferences and centre their digital lives. It will be the glue that connects the web of devices they choose to use during different aspects of their daily lives. The personal cloud will entail the unique collection of services, Web destinations and connectivity that will become the home of their computing and communication activities. Users will see it as a portable, always-available place where they go for all their digital needs. There can be no doubt that this reflects the general trend. There can be few academics who do not have a PC at work and also at home, who do not have at least one mobile phone and who probably have an iPad/tablet device or a laptop/notebook computer, or both. Wireless communication is ubiquitous and is the means of linking them together as well as accessing the Internet. Students are less likely to have a PC, but will certainly have a smartphone and either a laptop or a tablet device and will be online and socially communicating a lot of the time. 4. The Impact of Personal Technologies on TEL The use of personal technologies and the likely future of cloud computing in the context of TEL are covered in a series of InfoKits published by Jisc InfoNet. Of particular relevance is the Mobile Learning InfoKit18 which provides a detailed overview of current practice and draws from the recently published Emerging Practice in a Digital Age guide19 from Jisc. The other InfoKits cover Technology Trends20 , Cloud Computing21 and legal guidance on BYOD22 (bring your own device) where staff and students use their own computers. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
  7. 7. Graphics from Edudemic23 that present a useful view of their research on the use of personal technologies in education are shown below. 23
  8. 8. It should be noted that these statistics come from surveys in 2011 and 2012. Evidence referred to in this briefing paper indicates that the figures will already have significantly changed since then in terms of social media and personal technology usage. 5. Conclusions and Discussion This briefing paper has attempted to summarise the current use and possible future direction of social media and personal technology in education. Perhaps the most obvious message is that it is a rapidly changing scenario and that the trend over the last three years is more informative that the raw figures for 2013. The implication is that the figures for 2014 will again be quite different but likely to be moving on the same trajectory. It is my view that the future development of social media and personal technology usage will profoundly impact on future educational delivery. It has been the subject of much debate about opening up access to education through online distance learning. However, it is equally likely, in time, to radically change the way campus-based learning is facilitated. I’m not entirely convinced by the concept of the ‘flipped classroom’24 , but it does give some insight into current thinking about the impact of social media and personal technologies in education. The proposal is that learning will take place at home through online engagement and that tutor supported collaborative cohort activities take place on campus. 24
  9. 9. I have been experimenting for some time with the idea of building online learning environments from freely available Web tools25,26 . These have proved successful and indicate that it is perfectly possible to assemble all the document management, communications and learning materials delivery tools necessary for effective learning support. It also demonstrated that this could be done as an integral part of the design for a new learning programme and that the learning environment remained in existence only as long as the programme continued. It is suggested that the advances in use of social media and personal technologies, along with the rapid development of those technologies themselves, are leading to a situation where the Internet itself will be the learning environment and bespoke/commercial VLE/LMS applications are no longer needed. Online learning environments will be constructed using social media resources at the same time as the course is designed. Doing so will be the responsibility of the academic, but they will have the skills from their personal use of the same media. Tony Toole July 2013 25 26