Social Media and User-Generated Content as a Teaching Innovation Tool in Universities

Social Media and User-Generated Content as a Teaching Innovation Tool in Universities

Alexandra Mora-Cruz, José Ramón Saura, Pedro R. Palos-Sanchez
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4441-2.ch004
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Due to the digital transformation, universities have had to renew the didactic strategies used by teachers so that they can comply with the teaching-learning process. The implementation of practices in social networks has been essential to adapt to the skills of the new generation of digital students. The main objective of this chapter is to analyze how social networks and user-generated content can be used by university teachers as tools that foster innovation. For this, a review of the literature and different sources is carried out that allows for laying the foundations of the research. In addition, the chapter provides information on the main platforms used in the different educational experiences. With the data obtained, it is possible to understand how these social interaction tools can contribute to teaching innovation and, therefore, to the significant improvement of the learning results of higher education students.
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In recent years, the Internet connection has become indispensable in the day for a large number of people. According to the Global Report on the Digital Environment (2022), more than 424 million people are active users of social networks, which is equivalent to more than 58% of the total population of the world.

Social networks have become an essential element in the work of individuals in all areas, such as economy, communication, education and politics (López-Carril et al, 2022). The acceleration in digital transformation has meant that the different sectors must respond more efficiently to new challenges.

The new generation of digital learners has developed new ways of understanding, learning and processing information. In this disruptive environment, teachers are looking for new ways that allow them to boost their professional profile. Digitization has come to provide new tools that can be used in the academy to improve and develop knowledge and skills, transforming the educational space into a more innovative environment. In this scenario, individuals see a window of opportunity between the teaching-learning process and the Internet, not only consuming content but also creating it (Gómez-Martínez & Romero-Rodríguez, 2021).

The increasing use of social networks and other Web 2.0 technologies have evolved the way students communicate, collaborate, and learn (Tess, 2013). In this sense, Higher Education Institutions face various circumstances that force them to prepare and learn about new trends in an increasingly demanding market (Palos-Sanchez et la., 2019).

The health crisis caused by COVID-19 imposed many restrictions on university education. Therefore, the academy has been forced to innovate by providing solutions that add value and quality to education in disruptive environments. Teachers have adapted their strategies to acquire and share resources in an evolved digital world, taking advantage of the use of computers, the Internet, mobile devices, and Web 2.0 tools (García-Peñalvo et al., 2012; Saura et al., 2021).

This means that universities must enhance the proper use of these technologies, implementing a significant change in the teaching-learning process that can translate into teaching innovation. In this sense, López-Carril et al., (2022) indicate that social networks have produced an educational revolution by incorporating online or hybrid learning environments, allowing greater flexibility in terms of physical spaces and schedules. Another benefit that this incorporation into the process brings is the continuous contact between teachers and students, which largely allows the creation of new environments, different from the traditional ones, promoting the professional development of the parties (Froment et al., 2022).

Social networks are increasingly used as tools to develop formal and informal learning experiences or spaces, allowing the development of knowledge and social learning (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012). From this point of view, a detailed analysis of how academic staff uses social networks and user-generated content in their teaching practices will allow a broader vision to take advantage of the use of these tools and promote the development of their activities towards a more innovative environment.

The objective of this chapter is to analyze how social networks and user-generated content can be used by university teachers as tools that foster innovation in the teaching-learning process of students. Different aspects related to teaching innovation and the use of social networks are presented, which are explained and discussed.

This chapter is structured as follows: followed by the introduction, a review section of the literature is presented, the next section develops how the content developed in social networks promotes university teaching innovation, through the investigation of the main social networks worldwide (Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn) and the most used academic social networks (Orcid, ResearchGate, Google Scholar and

Key Terms in this Chapter

Academic Content: A set of knowledge, skills and abilities that are embodied in a study plan.

Teaching-Learning Process: A relationship that exists between the teacher and the student by which it is intended to transmit knowledge in a certain area.

Teaching Strategies: Procedures and resources used by the teacher to promote meaningful learning efficiently and effectively.

Web 2.0: Websites that facilitate information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration.

Social Networks: Social networks are structures formed on the Internet by people or organizations that connect based on common interests or values.

User-Generated Content: Images, videos, text, or audio files, which are posted online on social networks.

Teaching Innovation: Systematic and planned incorporation of practices that transform and improve teaching-learning processes.

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