Social media in US schools: Study

Looking at the findings of social-media researchers, it's clear there's a growing gap between how kids consume information in school and the collaborative, media-rich way they gather and share information everywhere else. Given this, Lightspeed/NetTrekker sponsored some research to take a measure of where schools are with adoption of Web 2.0 tech such as online games, wikis, blogs, and virtual worlds (AKA virtual learning environments). The study found what we'd expect of user-driven media: In schools, too, adoption of these learning tools is from the ground up. Teachers are driving it, and their three top reasons are: to address students’ individual learning needs, engage students, and increase the accessibility of what they're teaching to their digital-native students. The study also found that, in 83% of school districts, very few or no teachers use online social networking for instruction; 40% of districts don't even allow use of social networking (I'm wondering why not Ning-style social sites that teachers create and control themselves?!); but almost half of districts have plans to allow teachers to share their content with Web 2.0 tools such as wikis (like using new-media tools to teach in old-media, top-down fashion, but it's a start). [The study's executive summary can be requested on this page.]


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