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Social Media Class Skypes with Internet Celebs

At the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, students enrolled in the course Social Media Optimization & the New Web learn and become “experts” on web applications such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. They stay up-to-date on the latest trends on the Internet by reading and thinking critically about the industry and reporting on the changes that are occurring.

An interesting part of the class is that students get to Skype with several industry leaders:

Craig Newmark – founder of Craigslist
David Meerman Scott – author of the New Rules of Marketing & PR
Guy Kawasaki – author of The Art of the Start
Zadi Diaz – host of Epic Fu
John Batelle – founder of Wired

Find out more at Inside Higher Ed: Social Media Class Skypes with Internet Celebs

Social Networking and Grades

According to a study done by student researchers at the University of New Hampshire, there is no correlation between the amount of time spent on social networking and the grades that students received. The study defined people with light social media usage as using social media for less than 31 minutes per day and heavy users were defined as having more than an hour use per day. Social media was defined as Blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Check out the study at http://www.unh.edu/news/docs/UNHsocialmedia.pdf

How Does Age Affect Web Use?

Online Generation Chart

The link below contains interesting statistics from the Pew Internet organization on internet usage and activities by generation. The most popular activities graph for each generation is particular interesting.


Audio, Video, and other Interactive Media Transforming College Classrooms

An article in the Harvard Magazine discusses how the increasing use of digital media such as video and the Internet is changing the college classroom. Lectures have been a staple of the college classroom since the Middle Ages where lecturing was developed from universities in that time period. The lack of books in that time period coupled with the expense of making copies made it practical and efficient to have a lecturer read to a gathering of students.

However, lectures are fast becoming a thing of the past with the increasing use of media to supplant lectures. While images and even video aren’t new to classrooms, the way students consume such media has changed.

The old-style classroom, grounded in spoken lectures and reading lists, is becoming obsolete. Images now dominate a new style of teaching in which visual, audio, and interactive formats rule, often trumping words as the dominant means of communication. Media enhancements aren’t exactly new: 50 years ago, one of Kelly’s predecessors, G. Wallace “Woody” Woodworth, prepared a 78-rpm record for a Music 1 class by taking a piece of blackboard chalk and marking an “X” on a groove at the entry cue. But new technologies, and a generation reared on them, are propelling the modes of teaching toward nonverbal media and briefer, more compact transactions. Communications—and pedagogy—are moving away from Tolstoy’s thousand-plus pages and toward Twitter, which limits its messages, or “tweets,” to 140 characters.

In the last two or three decades, Western culture has shifted its appetites toward images, film, and video. Word-driven media like newspapers are thinning out while video agoras like YouTube grow exponentially and threaten to eclipse even television. “The change has been so rapid that people and institutions haven’t been able to adjust,” says Shigehisa Kuriyama, Reischauer Institute professor of cultural history, who teaches in both the departments of history of science and East Asian languages and civilizations. “You have academic tenure, which works in a time frame of decades. Yet we now have technologies that are changing yearly.”

The student audience is primed. Thronging into classrooms is a generation saturated since early childhood with images and interactive media. Pictures, both still and moving, are their native vocabulary. “They don’t read books,” says Bernbaum professor of literature Leo Damrosch, who liberally lards his courses on humor and the Enlightenment with visual exhibits. “Even English concentrators finish high school having read The Great Gatsby, three or four other novels, and some short stories. I have three short novels on my reading list, and students ask, ‘What? Read a novel in a week?’ Many are not very good writers, either, and it is too late for Expos [Harvard’s required expository writing course] to fix it. Whenever I have had great writers as students, they were avid readers as kids.”

Read the full article at Harvard Magazine: Professor Media.

Digital Devices Depriving Brain of Needed Downtime

For many people, every minute of time away from work and daily routine such as being stuck  in line at the checkout stand, waiting for the bus, or just simply working out in the gym is a time to pull out the iPod, cell phone, or other digital device and start checking on e-mail, text messages, or just simply play a quick game of tetris.

Recent advances in technology for such devices have turned smartphones in to full-fledged computers with high-speed internet connections which have made “the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive”.

However, scientists point out that an unintended side-effect of all this digital input is that people are now unable to process information that could help them to remember information or formulate new ideas.