The striking thing about this infographic is not just the stunning penetration of Twitter, but also LinkedIn. It is also interesting that the bastion of tradition in the US higher education sector, Harvard University, has the greatest reach in terms of its social networks. Among the challenges noted, is that it is not enough to simply have a presence within the social media. To maintain credibility — in terms of marketing and communication, at least — an institution’s social media profile requires full-time attention.
I’ve been monitoring the nascent Occupy Education movement with interest over the last couple of weeks, not least because there are so many dimensions to it. The complexity of it all has been addressed far more coherently than I ever could over at Tenured Radical, but my crude interpretation is that it essentially revolves around access and relevance (or lack thereof!)
These two factors would appear inextricably linked, in my mind, as access to an affordable education is obviously more worthwhile if it also happens to be relevant and useful, yet few of the Facebook contributions and Tumblr pages I have perused so far seem to make this connection, there being a tendency to focus on one or the other.
I understand how — given the origins of the Occupy movement — the socioeconomic dimension takes primacy, but if there is to be reform to provide equity of access, I hope an equal amount of energy is expended in ensuring it is access to a quality education, that accommodates the learning styles and life styles of individual learners, and not some factory model that caters to the lowest common denominator.
An Occupy Education movement that focuses on flexible delivery of programmes, allowing people to fully participate, assessing learning outcomes in an authentic and engaging manner is one I would happily sign up for, because I think it would have a good chance of addressing both the inequities and irrelevancies that currently plague the education system in the US and elsewhere.
The sceptical amongst us will no doubt look upon the Facebook-delivered MBA by the London School of Business and Finance as a gimmick. This may be the case, but 12000+ hits in just over a month it is hard to ignore if you are a struggling bricks-and-mortar b-school! Another metric that is hard to ignore is the population of FaceBookLand which, last time I checked, was the third largest country in the world.
Filed under: Creativity, Online learning, Social networking | Tagged: digital native, disruptive innovation, Facebook, LMS, MBA, online education, social media, technology, universities | Leave a Comment »
Image source: haroldskids.wordpress.com
Slate ran a piece by Nicholas Bramble last month arguing the case for a more liberal approach to the use of social networking tools in educational institutions, specifically those in the the K-12 space. The article makes reference to the less savoury aspects of social networking among teens (e.g. cyberbullying, YouTube clips of playground fights, etc) and how the knee-jerk reaction has been to outlaw the use of such applications in schools. The author makes the case that prohibition is a poor choice because it closes the door on some potentially very powerful educational tools. He then goes on to provide examples of ways in which these tools might be harnessed more productively for educational purposes and, while these examples are a tad dull, I have little argument with his overall position. The point about engagement and how teachers and principals ‘should meet kids where they live: online’ is particularly well taken.
One point that the article does not make — which might of countered some of the negative comments put forward by some of the readers of the article — is that critics of social networking applications seldom consider the counter-factual. In short, prohibition of Facebook and YouTube will not stop bullying or other forms of delinquency as these problems will likely surface in some other shape or form and, indeed, probably go undetected. Surely it is better to be open about the use of social networking tools and provide the necessary scaffolding to reduce the probability of inappropriate use?