Trend Watch: Social Media in the UK 2010 [Video]

 

This is a little video produced by Ireland-based PR firm Simply Zesty that explores the state of social media in the UK.

The video includes some interesting social media stats and other demographic information, including: 85% percent of the UK population is online and they spend over 6 hours on social media sites every month, nearly 60% of them read blogs and 64% have their own profile on a social network.


Weekly Wrap: Twitter Revolution, How TV Can Save the World, Ford's Twitter Cars, Future of Content, Understanding Social Networks, Twitter Spam & More!

Barking.robot.icon

The Twitter Revolution: While the use of social media in the Iranian protests quickly garnered the label “Twitter Revolution,” the real revolution was the use of mobile phones, which allowed the original protesters to broadcast their actions to other citizens and to the wider world with remarkable speed and immediacy. This characteristic, of a rapidly assembling and self-documenting public, is more than just a new slogan. Related: Iranian Gen Y on Revolution 2.0 [Prospect Magazine] [Collaborative Creativity]  [Barking Robot]

Understanding Users of Social Networks: People just love to look at pictures. That's the killer app of all online social networks. Seventy percent of all actions are related to viewing pictures or viewing other people's profiles. [Harvard Business School]

Revolution in a Box: It's not Twitter or Facebook that's reinventing the planet. Eighty years after the first commercial broadcast crackled to life, television still rules our world. And let's hear it for the growing legions of couch potatoes: All those soap operas might be the ticket to a better future after all. [Foreign Policy]

Ford Adding Tweets: Ford Motor Co. is adding Twitter messages and Internet radio to its in-car entertainment and communication service, known as Sync, and suggests that the voice-activated system is safer for drivers than trying to manipulate applications on their cell phones. [Yahoo!]

Irish Software Helps Prevent Cyberbullying: The Bully Stop technology allows parents to monitor callers and access abusive text messages before their offspring read them. The Irish-designed product is the first off-the-shelf application to specifically tackle mobile phone bullying and can be downloaded by computer before being transferred to a child's handset. [Breaking News Ireland]

The Rise of the Post Digital World: The world is going increasingly digital but the majority of media and marketing is analog and the majority of people are analog. [India Times]

U.S. Virtual Economy is Booming: When a lot of people think of gamers, they automatically think of mostly male teens who sit around a game console or computer screen all day playing alone. The reality is that the average gamers today are in their 30’s and have a significant disposable income to support the expensive hobby. [InsideTech]

Detecting Spam in a Twitter Network: Spam becomes a problem as soon as an online communication medium becomes popular. Twitter’s behavioral and structural properties make it a fertile breeding ground for spammers to proliferate. [FirstMonday]

The Future of Content Without Walls: From their in-home television and entertainment networks, consumers have grown accustomed to an on-demand culture. The combination of always-on devices and networks is helping extend that culture outside the home.

For the transition to be successful, devices must provide a good user experience, and content delivery needs to be immediate and seamless. [eMarketer] 

Ooh la la! Lady GaGa is Polaroid’s New Brand Ambassador: Yesterday in Vegas, the Lady herself appeared at the Consumer Electronic Show to discuss her new role as creative director for a line of new Polaroid products. Related: 10 Things Brands Can Learn From Lady GaGa [Mediaite] [Barking Robot]

Music Downloads Up as Album Sales Drop: Album sales in the UK fell by 3.5% in 2009 to 128.9 million despite a growth in digital downloads. [BBC]


Weekly Wrap: Gen Y Love Mom & Dad, Google Generation, Best Buy Mobile Survey, MySpace as 'Digital Ghetto', Millennial Stereotypes & Calling BS on Social Media

The Real Life of Teens: The media portrays teens as being 'sexting', binge-drinking louts - but it's just a variation on a centuries-old stereotype. Why are we so afraid of young people? (This is such a great column, well worth reading and a refreshing portrayal of Gen Y.) [Irish Times]

Gen Y Still Love Mum & Dad: They might be young adults making their own way in life, but a new research published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that the wired wonders of Gen Y still value the advice of their parents. [Courier News]

Google Generation is a Myth:
Research conducted University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an ease and familiarity with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to asses the information that they find on the web. [JISC]

Tweet of the Week: "For the record, I keep my billions of virtual dollars tucked safely under my virtual mattress with a virtual rottweiler protecting (via @elusivefish)." Speaking of virtual currency... [Twitter] [Virtual World News]

Hot for Teacher?:
A teacher accidentally put pornography into a DVD that was meant to be filled with school memories from the past year, and nobody caught the error until after it was sent home, shocking parents and students alike. Hey DJ--cue the music!. [CBS News] [MTV]

Calling Bullshit on Social Media: "For starters: social media is a stupid term. Is there any anti-social media out there? Of course not." I love this blog post. So. Spot. On. And long overdue [scottberkun.com]

Storytelling 2.0: Penguin Books have launched a great new site that allows kids to play in an unlimited online space where they can create their own virtual stories, books and games for just $10. Once created they can send them to friends to watch, read or play and save them to their own virtual bookshelf. [Digital Buzz via @liamom]

Best Buy® Mobile Survey: Of all Americans with mobile phones, 62% say they use text messaging, mostly because it's a convenient and quick way to communicate. More than one-third (37%) say they use texting to avoid long or tough conversations, and over one-quarter (27%) say they use it because they dislike talking on the phone. One-quarter feel it's a great way to flirt, particularly among the 18-24-year-old set (39%). [Business Wire]

One Last Thing: Corporate types pledge to be more open about tracking consumers online, according to some experts MySpace is now a 'digital ghetto', a new study by FUSE Marketing shows that teens love events, Steve Wheeler on e-learning 3.0 (think mobile!), the abstinence movement gets rebranded, two college kids get a book deal for 'Twitterature', and Nickelodeon launches video games with a pro social message (also related). [AP] [TransComic] [BrandFlakes] [Steve Wheeler] [Alpha Mommy] [Galley Cat] [MediaPost] [Press Any Key]


Weekly Wrap: Mobile Phones & Toddlers, Under 30 CEOs, Teens & TV, Summer of Social Good, Social Branding, Facebook Filters

New Bravo Show Will Let Viewers Interact via Tweet, Email, Phone, Video & Facebook: NBC Universal-owned cable channel, Bravo, on Monday announced plans to launch an interactive TV series, entitled “Watch What Happens: Live.” It's good to see that someone gets that there in TV-land understands that there is a huge media shift taking place and that holding on to the old media model with a death grip, just isn't going to work. [Interactive TV Today]

Iranian Youth, Mobiles & Social Media: Despite the government crack down, Revolution 2.0 continues to move along, thanks in large part to Iranian Millennial's and their savvy use of  mobile and social networking technologies. [Mobile Youth] [Mobile Youth Marketing Trends & Clips] [Barking Robot]

Mobile Toddlers: Despite bans by other European countries, a new mobile phone being targeted to toddlers is heading to the sticky hands of wee ones in both the UK and Ireland. A new UK study found that 50% of British children aged 5 to 9 own a mobile phone.

Mobile youth culture continues to flourish in Japan, with Disney Mobile going gangbusters after flopping in the USA. Check out this Barking Robot post on kids' use of mobile phones in other countries. [Guardian] [Times Online] [Tech Crunch]

Under 30 and Kicking Ass? Derek Johnson, the founder of popular group text messaging service Tatango has created a user-powered list of entrepreneurs/CEOs under the age of 30 to help connect young entrepreneurs to one another.

If you are a young entrepreneur under the age of 30, you can add yourself to the list here. Derek has also posted a video from his recent talk on personal branding. Good stuff. Watch it! [Big Ideas From a Young Mind] [Game Change Ventures]

Tweet of the Week: "I could never be a rock star guy who trashes hotel rooms. All I think is "someone's mother has to clean it up." -- @ThisIsRobThomas [Twitter]

Nielsen Debunks Myths on Teens & TV: According to Nielsen, teenagers are far from abandoning TV for so-called new media. In fact, television viewing rates among U.S. teens have actually gone up 6% in the last five years.

If you've been a long time reader of Barking Robot, this research isn't really, uhm, news. More excellent analysis on the Nielsen study from Anastasia over at Ypulse. [Tech Crunch] [Ypulse] [Barking Robot]

Bad Apples? A High School Senior loses diploma over a kiss (FAIL!), a teacher gets suspended for posting gun pictures on Facebook, 60% of students at a Chicago school won't graduate and the finger pointing has already started, a Los Angeles student is barred delivering a graduation speech because she participated in a sit-in to protest teacher layoffs, and a new study finds that many teens use mobile phones to cheat in class. [Yahoo! Buzz] [AOL Switched] [CBS Chicago] [USA Today]

Social Media 4 Good: Lipton Tea has partned with National Geographic and the Rainforest Alliance to create a micro-site that tells about sustainable agriculture in general, including the origins of Lipton teas, as well as sustainability, social and economic aspects of the tea-growing and harvesting process.

Also this week, Google launched All for Good, a new service to help you find and share volunteer opportunities, and social media companies have joined forces and declared this the Summer of Social Good.

One Last Thing: Check out this good overview of social branding, MTV talks about digital strategy and youth, help for parents trying to figure out t/weens, how to filter out Facebook "Friends" without them knowing, teen 'prodigies' debate vital issues and stuff, learning about forgiveness from Monica Lewinsky and finally, did Michael Jackson 'Fail Whale' Twitter? Yep!  [justbrand.me] [PBS] [Connect With Teens] [AlleyInsider] [Hot Air] [Flickr] [New Media Strategies]


Weekly Wrap: Education Embracing Twitter, Student Wikipedia Hoax, Advice for Tweens, Social Media Squatters, Social Music & Youth Marketing Tips

Economic Slump Slows Down Summer School: "The economic downturn has prompted many school districts to reduce funds for summer school. That's bad news for students who need remedial work and for those who are taking summer classes to advance a grade." [NPR]

Embracing the Twitter Classroom: Huffington Post blogger Jessica Gross takes a look at the battle over the use of social media going on in our schools between kids, parents and teachers. Jessica has a brilliant observation: "This argument is akin to that for abstinence-only education. Kids with access to the Internet are going to use it whether or not their parents decide they're "ready."" Amen. Also, check out my previous posts on using Twitter in education. [Huffington Post]

Student Uses Wikipedia to Punk World Media: Looks like the mainstream media (MSM) need to take a course on digital literacy and basic research techniques. I think this also points out that youth have a better understanding of web credibility that adults give them credit.  [Irish Times]

Stars Dish out Advice for Tweens: A new tween survival guide, 113 Things to Do By 13 written by 14-year-old blogger Brittany MacLeod features advice and tips from young Hollywood stars. Wonder if Brittany will be at the 2009 National Tween Summit in DC?  [Yahoo! OMG]

Noika to Launch 3G Phone for Emerging Markets: Nokia has announced the Nokia 2730 classic, a phone that includes 3G data connectivity and tools for emerging phone markets. This should be a boon to educators to deliver content and instruction via mobile learning platforms. [MobileBurn]

How to Handle Social Networking Name Squatting: Julia Angwin lays out some steps that may, or may not work when someone is social squatting on your name. [WSJ]

5 Messaging Tips When Talking to Youth: Great youth marketing tips from the folks over at Campus Media Group. [Campus Media Group]

The Rise of Social Music: Mashable has a great post tracing the history of audio on the web and the rise of social music services like Last.fm, Blip.fm and MySpace. It also takes a peek into the future and looks at the rise of mobile music. [Mashable]

The Latino Initiative: Between 2005 and 2006 the teen birth rate increased 3% - the first increase in 15 years. This increase occurred among most ethnic groups - among Hispanic teens, the increase was 2%. The National Campaign’s Latino Initiative focus on helping the Latino community in its efforts to reduce continued high rates of adolescent pregnancy and childbearing. Plus, Bristol Palin talks to People Magazine about teen sex and life as a teen mother. [People Magazine]


Joan Ganz Cooney Center Study on Mobile Learning

Last week the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released a new report on how mobile technologies can be used in education titled, Pockets of Potential. You can access the full-length version on their site.

The Cooney Mobile Learning Study outlines some of the key opportunities for mobile learning:
  • Encourage "anywhere, anytime" learning
  • Reach Underserved children
  • Improve 21st Century Social Interactions
  • Fit with Learning Environments
  • Enable a personalize Learning Experience
The Cooney study cites the need to create a Digital Teachers Corps to provide educators with the training and skills to integrate mlearning activities into the classroom. While I agree, I would also say that school administrators, both at the school and district level, need to provide the leadership, support and physical infrastructure required to make mlearning (mobile learning) a reality.

When I was working at Yahoo! on the Yahoo! Teachers project, I had the opportunity to spend the summer teaching educators around the country how to use web technologies in their classroom.

Time and time again I heard from teachers that their efforts to integrate technology into their classroom are stifled by district policy, draconian filtering policies and a lack of technological resources. Many times teachers get labeled, especially when it comes to technology, as unwilling to learn how to use new technologies.

While that may have been true a decade ago, almost every educator I met expressed concern that schools were working on an outdated model and that they recognized that the way kids learn has drastically changed.

They also expressed that there is a severe lack of professional development opportunities and support from district, state and federal administrators to provide leadership and change in their schools.

Since they work on the frontline, we also need to include teachers in this discussion. There is often a disconnect between theory cooked up by policy wonks and the reality of the classroom.

One of the other areas of concern, not just for mobile learning, is the lack of good, quality educational content. It's great if we outfit kids with an Apple iPhone or Palm Pre, but then what? When we talk about mobile learning we often focus just on the hardware and technology.

Quality educational content is often left out of the equation. The OpenCourseWare movement is helping fill this void in the higher education space, but the K-12 space suffers from a real lack of appropriate, relevant and quality content. In addition to the technology, we need to develop a repository of open content materials for our K-12 students, teachers and parents.

Finally, in addition to educating teachers, administrators and other members of the education ecosystem, it's vital that we also educate parents on the benefits of mobile learning. Many teachers are still trying to convince parents that the Internet is a relevant learning tool, that blogging has educational merits and that Wikipedia is a credible source of information.

Mobile Phones, Learning & Gen Y

For the most part, colleges and K-12 are just beginning realize the potential of mobile technology to improve the quality of student learning. In order to meet their students changing expectations and digital learning styles, instructors need to be provided with professional development opportunities to experiment with current and emerging web-based technologies.

Clearly, the spread of mobile technology into both the cognitive and social spheres requires educators to reexamine and redefine our teaching and learning methods. The future of learning has already arrived in the European Union, Africa and Southeast Asia, and if the United States doesn't act now we will be even further behind the rest of the world.

At the 2006 International Consumer Electronic Show, Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel outlined the explosive growth of mobile technology. According to Semel, there are 900 million personal computers in the world. But this number pales in comparison to the 2 billion mobile phones currently being used in the world.

Even more astounding is how mobile devices are increasingly being used as the primary way in which people connect to the Internet. In fact, Semel notes that 50% of the Internet users outside the US will most likely never use a personal computer to connect to the Internet. Rather, they will access information, community, and create content on the Internet via a mobile device.

The use of mobile technologies is growing and represents the next great frontier for learning. Increasingly we will continue to see academic and corporate research invest, design and launch new mobile applications, many of which can be used in a learning context.

Learning 3.0 will be about harnessing the ubiquity of the mobile phone/handheld device and using it as an educational tool. A few quick facts on mobile technology, Gen Y and education:
  • A 2005 study conducted by the USA-based Kaiser Family Foundation found that, although 90% of teen online access occurs in the home, most students also have web access via mobile devices such as a mobile phone (39%), portable game (55%), or other web-enabled handheld device (13%). [link]
  • Palm estimates that mobile and handheld devices for public schools will be a 300 million dollar market. A few progressive school districts in the USA have already started using mobile devices in the classroom. [link]
  • Australia is emerging as a leader in mobile learning (mlearning). [link] [link]
  • The National College of Ireland, University of Scotland and other European universities have already started experimenting and integrating mobile technologies into their classes. [link] [link]
  • A study by the Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) found that students are using their mobile phones for just about everything--except making phone calls.
  • Some developing countries, like Kenya, are bypassing the use of desktop computers all together and using handheld WI-FI devices and open source software to reduce the cost of education in rural areas. [link] [link]
  • Mobile School is a Belgian non-profit organization who is using mobile technology to provide educational opportunities for homeless children. [link]
  • Mobile phones are in the early phases of being used for student testing and assessment. [link]
  • YouTube, the popular online video community, has an educational channel that allows educational institutions to upload video clips via their mobile phones, PDAs, or other wireless handheld devices.
  • SparkNotes are now available for download on both the iPod (text and audio format) or via SparkMobile, a SMS version for mobile phones.
  • iTunesU & iPhone Apps have allowed an unprecedented amount of educational content, learning games, video & applications in the hands of students & educators.

Closing Thoughts

The Cooney research is a landmark study that I hope will move both the education technology and mobile learning discussion forward. Perhaps the release of this study, an education technology friendly president and education secretary is creating a "perfect storm" for real change to take place in our education system.

As a nation, we can no longer afford to sit back and watch schools in the U.K., Australia and Africa move forward while we continue to model our schools on an outdated agrarian, 18th Century education model.

Benefits of this learning space for the students are threefold: potential for maximum participation (all can be posting simultaneously), increased interest (authentic use of technology, so little technical advice or support is needed), and student motivation was noticeable and achieved possibly because of the increased peer feedback and collaboration.

The convergence of mobile and social technologies, on-demand content delivery, and early adoption of portable media devices by students provides academia with an opportunity to leverage these tools into learning environments that seem authentic to the digital natives filling the 21st Century classroom.

The future is here. It's time we act.

Related Resources


PodCamp Ireland 2008

PodCamp Ireland is the very first stand-alone event to promote the use and provide guidance and tips on the subject of social media in Ireland and will be taking place on September 27th 2008 in Kilkenny, Ireland.

You can learn more and get information on registration by clicking here.

Related Resources


Mashup Edu: A New Digital Pedagogy

Dr. Mercedes Fisher and I just finished a new book chapter titled "Pedagogical Mashup: Social Media, Gen Y and Digital Learning Styles" that will be published early next year. I'll have more details in a future post, but in the meantime I wanted to share the bounty of resources we culled together for the article.

We've saved the links for all the resources and references cited in the book chapter over on the social bookmarking tool del.icio.us, which you can find here: http://del.icio.us/mashup.edu

If you have any questions, or know of a great Education 2.0 resource that we should include, let us know!

Related Articles by Mercedes Fisher & Derek E. Baird


Gen Y Update: Video Games & Podcasting 101

  • iPod in Education: This is a fantastic site run by David Baugh in the U.K. that provides teachers with all the information and support they need to integrate iPods into their curriculum. Tools like the iPod are the types of authentic learning activities that engage the Gen Y learner.
  • Doll Web Sited Drive Girls to Stay Home and Play: This is an interesting piece in the NYT that delves into the burgeoning wave of interactive media aimed at younger kids. Girls, for the most part, have been left out of the video gaming boom. Some smart business are now looking to fill that void in the marketplace.
  • Next-Gen Multiplayer Worlds: Speaking of video games, Wired Magazine reports that video game companies are trying to lure non-gamers into the virtual world of MMOs with a new breed of offerings.

Gen Y: Mobile and Ready to Learn

The use of mobile technologies in student learning environments is growing and represents the next great frontier for learning. Increasingly we will continue to see academic and corporate research invest, design, and launch new mobile applications, many of which can be used in an educational context.

How many people use mobile technology?

At the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel outlined the explosive growth of web-based and mobile technologies. According to Semel, there are 900 million personal computers in the world. But this number pales in comparison to the 2 billion mobile phones currently being used around the world.

Even more astounding is how mobile devices are increasingly being used as the primary way in which people connect to the Internet. In fact, Semel notes that 50% of the Internet users outside the United States will most likely never use a personal computer to connect to the Internet. Rather, they will access information, connect with online learning communities, and create content for the Internet via a mobile device.

A recent study by the Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) found that students are using their mobile phones for just about everything--except making phone calls. According to INTO, only 20% of the 671 students surveyed report using their mobiles to make phone calls, whereas 81% report using their mobile to communicate via text or IM messages.

The INTO survey seems to dovetail with the results of a 2005 Pew Internet and American Life study on teens and technology. Like their peers in Ireland, American youth preferring using IM or TM for everyday conversations with friends.

Other key findings from the Irish National Teachers Organization survey:

  • 96% of 11 & 12 year old students have a mobile phone
  • 60% have a camera on it
  • 72 % say they use it to access the Internet
  • 20% use it to make calls
  • 81% use it to send texts

Recognizing the growing connection between mobile media and youth, the popular social networking community MySpace teamed with Helio to provide a mobile version that includes access to Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, and various Yahoo! services.

A 2005 study conducted by the United States-based Kaiser Family Foundation found that, although 90% of teen online access occurs in the home, most Gen Y students also have web access via mobile devices such as a mobile phone (39%), portable gaming device (55%), or other web-enabled hand held device (13%).

In order to create a better and more relevant learning environment for the digital learning styles of the Gen Y student, there is a need to integrate new pedagogical strategies that support the authentic use of technology to support and foster student motivation, collaboration, and learning.

The convergence of mobile and social media technologies, on-demand content delivery and early adoption of portable media devices provides higher education with an opportunity to leverage these tools into learning environments that seem authentic to the Gen Y students filling the virtual and physical halls of the 21st century university.

If you're interested in learning more about how Gen Y uses mobile technology, be sure to attend the 2007 MashUp in San Francisco. Among the many conference sessions is a panel discussion all about youth and their love affair with cell phones and mobile technology. Sounds fascinating!

This is exactly the kind of conversation that needs to happen--especially here in the USA where our use of mobile technology to support student learning (mLearning) lags behind that of Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

Related Resources


mLearning: The Next Wave

Img_0543 Yesterday I got the reprints for my latest article on mobile learning (mLearning). You can read the abstract here. If you want to know more, or need a cure for insomnia, let me know and I'll send you a copy. Actually, it's a pretty interesting read.

Thanks to Mercedes Fisher and the rest of the National College of Ireland community who participated in the study.

And a special thanks to David O'Loghlin and Brendan Tangney, both from the Computer Science Department in Trinity College Dublin. They created a mobile application called Virtual Graffiti that we discuss in the article. It's a slick tool, so check it out.

Related Resources


Goldbach on Gen Y

Bernie Goldbach, the brilliant Irish edublogger from the Tipperary Institute, has a wonderful post entitled A Message to Bebo Teens. For those of you in the USA, Bebo is the social networking site for teens in the U.K. In fact, just this month Bebo just became the most popular website in Ireland--ahead of Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

In his post Bernie muses about "life in the silo" before MySpace, Bebo, StudentFace, Flickr, YackPack and other forms of social media came along and revolutionized the way students and teachers communicate, teach and learn.

Says Bernie:

"So to the Bebo generation I'm teaching this week, here's a blast of thought from my past, all the way back to the time when the only homes with internet connections were hard-wired to missile silos....

Things have changed a lot since then. Enjoy your social tribes on Bebo and MySpace. And if someone offers you time travel back to the time when the Beatles were about to sell their second platinum album, think about life without the web in AM Times.

It might be fun to hear what it sounded like but really hard to have fun without starting on-screen."

Spot on Bernie, spot on!

Related Links


Making mLearning Work: Gen Y, Learning and Mobile Technologies

Journal of Educational Technology Systems (JETS )

Volume 35 , Number 1 / 2006-2007

Making mLearning Work: Utilizing mobile technology for active exploration, collaboration, assessment, and reflection in higher education

Mercedes Fisher, PhD.
National College of Ireland

Derek E. Baird, M.A
Educational Technologist

Abstract

The convergence of mobile technologies into student centered learning environments requires academic institutions to design new and more effective learning, teaching, and user experience strategies.

In this paper we share results from a mLearning design experiment and analysis from a student survey conducted at the National College of Ireland. Quantitative data support our hypothesis that mLearning technologies can provide a platform for active learning, collaboration, and innovation in higher education.

In addition, we review mobile interface and user-experience design considerations, and mLearning theory. Finally, we provide an overview of mLearning applications being developed in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland including, Virtual Graffiti, BuddyBuzz, Flickr, and RAMBLE.

Keywords:

mLearning, social media, mobile, Flickr, BuddyBuzz, RAMBLE, Gen Y, mobile interface design, mobile user-experience design, participatory media, community generated content, rapid serial visual presentation, mobile learning theory, Ireland, Yahoo, Google, Tivo, PSP, iPod, open source education, YouTube, Claroline, National College of Ireland


Mobile Social Software, Gen Y & Digital Learning Styles

As the first generation to be raised with the Internet, Gen Y has an intuitive ability to use ICT as a means to foster, support, discuss and explore new ideas. As a result, a multi-faceted approach that blends current learning theory, social technologies, and web-enabled mobile devices are the most effective in designing online learning environments.

For example, students can utilize mobile and/or social networking technologies to contribute using related stories, personal experiences, anecdotes and questions to reflect and actively encourage others to contribute as well.

The interactive, collaborative, engaging social activities, combined with the ability to self-publish and remix content on the web, enable students to use technology as a vehicle for presenting and sharing their own work as well as provide feedback on contributions made by other students.

Moreover, due to the wide variety and availability of social software, students are able to choose from multiple formats including text, video, audio, or photos to find the tools that best support their own learning style, interests, and goals.

A recent study by the Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) found that students are using their mobile phones for just about everything--except making phone calls. According to INTO, only 20% of the 671 students surveyed report using their mobiles to make phone calls, whereas 81% report using their mobile to communicate via text or IM messages.

The INTO survey seems to dovetail with the results of a 2005 Pew Internet and American Life study on teens and technology. Like their peers in Ireland, American youth preferring using IM or TM for everyday conversations with friends.

Other key findings from the Irish National Teachers Organization survey:

  • 96% of 11 & 12 year old students have a mobile phone
  • 60% have a camera on it
  • 72 % say they use it to access the Internet
  • 20% use it to make calls
  • 81% use it to send texts

Recognizing the growing connection between mobile media and youth, the popular social networking community MySpace has teamed with Helio to provide a mobile version that includes access to Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, and various Yahoo! services.

The combination of social interaction with opportunities for peer support and collaboration creates an interesting, engaging, stimulating, and intuitive learning environment for students. Effective course design will need to blend traditional pedagogy with the reality of the media multitasking Gen Y learner.

Clearly, the nearly ubiquitous use of portable media devices on the college campus has provided instructors with a unique opportunity to design mobile learning environments and new innovative pedagogical approaches built around the increasingly mobile landscape.

Web Resources


Generation IM: Youth Embrace Mobile ICT

One of the interesting results of a recent study by the Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) was the discovery that students are using their mobile phones for just about everything--except making phone calls.

Only 20% of the 671 students surveyed report using their mobiles to make phone calls, whereas 81% report using their mobile to communicate via text or IM.

The INTO survey seems to dovetail similar results of a 2005 Pew Internet and American Life study on teens and technology. Like their peers in Ireland, American youth preferring using IM or text messages for everyday conversations with friends.

Other key findings from the Irish National Teachers Organization:

  • 96% of 11 & 12 year old students have a mobile phone
  • 60% have a camera on it
  • 72 % say they use it to access the Internet
  • 20% use it to make calls
  • 81% use it to send texts

Looking towards the future, it's becoming increasingly evident that the next frontier of learning will take place in the mobile space. Already teachers are using podcasting as a means to distribute content, provide customized on-demand learning opportunities.

The rapid adoption of wireless, mobile and other hand held computing devices will require educators to begin designing courses for mLearning environments for the wireless, mobile, or other portable web-enabled devices (video iPod, PSP, Palm).

Links