There are more than 20 million college students in America, and more than 50 percent will not graduate. The No, 1 reason contributing to student dropout rates is a lack of engagement. The billion-dollar question for our education system is: How do we motivate and stimulate students to take a more proactive role in their academic success?
An obvious starting point might be the environments in which we know today’s students are currently engaged, all day, every day—social networks. To date, a significant chasm has existed between students’ interactive, stimulating experiences with social media and the reality of their “low-tech” classrooms.
Of course, there are exceptions, but on the whole, the nation’s higher-education system isn’t yet capitalizing on the social networking and Web 2.0 tools that keep today’s digital natives motivated. It’s time to unleash that potential.
In a recent McGraw-Hill Education survey, a staggering 98 percent of students agreed social networking is beneficial to their education. Yet a CDW-G survey indicated only 14 percent of instructors believe there is educational value in using social networking sites.
This disconnect between student and instructor perceptions stretches across the range of social media sites and even to what many in the commercial sector now think of as traditional technologies.
Given the nature of higher education—that is, a culture typically built on collaboration, research, shared information, and real-time communication—it seems only natural that social media would be an important education technology tool for instructors and students alike.