Adult students think YouTube and Flickr more useful than younger students

Research report finds mixed views on the value of social networking in the classroom

Adult students are more likely to think YouTube and Flickr are good for educational purposes than high school and primary students, according to research conducted as part of the Federal Government's Digital Education Revolution.

In a report titled, Listening to Students' and Educators Voices University of Canberra associate professor, Kathryn Moyle and Owen Education Consulting executive director, Susanne Owen, found 70 per cent of primary students "believe sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube are more for fun than for learning, and should be accessed from home rather for from schools".

In contrast, half of post-school adult student respondents disagreed, indicating they think using the popular video and photo sharing sites are good for learning.

The report was compiled through online surveys and focus groups involving students from primary and secondary schools, universities, pre-service teacher courses, and vocational education and training (VET) institutes.

While the report found all respondents had high expectations of access to computers and the Internet at their respective educational facilities, it found mixed reactions to the value of social networking in the classroom.

Microsoft's popular MSN instant messaging tool was used "often" or "sometimes" across all groups surveyed, however, secondary students were most likely to chat with 70 per cent indicating they did so.

"This research has highlighted that including technologies into education and training represents change at multiple levels," the authors wrote. "The students across all cohorts in this study have highlighted that teaching and learning with technologies involves more than simply adding technologies to the existing suite of classroom practices: it is more than an add-on. To meaningfully include technologies into teaching and learning at all levels within the Australian education and training sectors requires educators to fundamentally rethink what they do and how they do it."

The research was supported by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and The Australian Information and Communications Technology Committee (AICTEC).

The full report can be accessed on the Digital Education Revolution website.

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