Well, it's official. YouTube is better than Twitter. At least… it is where education is concerned. That's the word from college professors who participated in a new study by Brabson Survey Research Group and Pearson, who overwhelmingly saw more value for secondary education in YouTube's video-sharing portal than they do in Twitter's microblogging platform.
The study was designed to analyze the use of nine different social media tools by university students and professors (both tenure-track and otherwise). The goal? Find out which is the most useful for educational purposes. And YouTube won by a landslide.
Roughly 1/3 of respondents said they instructed students to watch online videos as a part of their homework assignments. But even those professors who weren't currently using YouTube are impressed by its potential. In fact, a whopping 73% said they thought the video-sharing site was "somewhat" to "very" valuable for classroom use.
For Twitter, the news is not so good. Only 2% said they used the microblogging software in class and another 2% said they'd used it in any professional capacity whatsoever. And a few seemed to think Twitter has untapped potential for the classroom, but not very many–less than 10% overall.
You might think Facebook fared better than Twitter in this study, but if you do… you would be wrong. Facebook is pretty useless to professors. Only 15% said they thought Facebook was "somewhat valuable" to the classroom.
In addition to not seeing much value in Facebook and Twitter, many respondents actually think the sites cause harm to traditional classroom learning (roughly 50% for both social services). Though they don't list a reason, one has to believe in-class distraction for students is partly to blame for professor bias against Facebook and Twitter.
While wikis aren't getting nearly as much use as Youtube, their potential is still considered great among professors–much higher than Facebook or Twitter, with over 30% saying wikis have potential.
In many ways, these findings make complete sense. YouTube has great power for education, well beyond the 140-character limit of Twitter. YouTube can bring people together from worlds apart. It can archive lectures and encourage responses. Which is not to detract from the raw power of Twitter, which has proven its worth during global crises and breakng news events. Facebook, too, has great capacity for shared ideas and relationship-building. Just take a look at this lecture video from Stanford University–which has been viewed by half a million people–and tell me you don't see the potential YouTube brings to university professors:
But in a survey specifically designed to find the best social media platforms for education, YouTube reigns supreme. Which is exactly what I've been saying for a long time–not that I'm the first or only one to do so. YouTube has the power to turn the education system on its ear, removing socio-economic barriers, physical distance, and even language barriers from the education formula altogether. It's interesting, though not remotely surprising, to see that professors feel the same way.
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