Thursday, May 6, 2010

This is interesting

Pearson Education just came out with a report on faculty's use of social networks.....guess that they found? Four out of five faculty members use some type of social network. Duh

For years colleges have been bringing faculty up to speed to meet the demands of industry and proffessions that require technology literate workers. At first it was a race to get faculty up to the level of students. Now faculty and students are racing ahead together.

In a discussion about learning theories, we were talking about some of the old 80's theories as good foundations, but have not all kept up with the new type of student. In the 80's students were largely white males, full time students, attended middle to upper middle class schools, and came from families that had a tradition or expectation of college. Today's students look nothing like that.

Students have jobs, struggle to complete a bachelor's in five or six years, have to work, live at home or off campus, have vastly different levels of preparedness, and technology is a tool none can do without.

The idea that faculty use social networks is not at all surprising. They are just the most efficient way to communicate with students that cannot come into office hours, can't answer phones at work, and are driving kids to school, soccer, play rehearsal. At 10 p.m. when the kids are in bed, Friday night when they have no work, or Sunday when it is quiet, then they have time to sit and correspond. That scenario actually goes for faculty as well as for students.

So, now that Pearson has ignored this for years and are publishing this "astounding revelation" (about 20 years too late). How are they going to change their products to match the way students are learning and and we are teaching today?

Don't hold your breath on anything quick. I remember one salesperson recently telling me he would open the demo box of electronic textbooks to show customers "when this Internet thing caught on!"

Frankly I am betting on new, young, innovative, exciting, and lean and mean companies coming in with products we can use and at a decent price. We need another .com boom. Or .edu boom to be more exact.