The Internet, along with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, are used by most college students for social networking purposes. However, increasingly, colleges are recognizing that for tomorrow’s workforce to flourish in today’s high-tech society, students need to think critically and solve workplace problems using a host of new communication and digital technologies.
In an effort to integrate new technology and social media in developing the future workforce, many tech-oriented colleges are handing out brand new iPhones and iPads to the incoming first-year students. Recognizing that collaboration and real-time participation are part of students’ lives, colleges are including new gadgets in the registration package to give students the learning tools and technology to thrive in our high-tech society.
The courses offered at universities reflect the integration of new media and technology as well. For instance, social media certification programs are commonplace in campuses throughout the US. These graduate-level certification programs for students and business professionals offer classes on such topics as the impact of social media sites on branding, advertising, marketing or the use of search engine optimization to bring in business. Courses explore the business implications of social media.
Some schools plan to implement a standardized digital literacy test , which assesses students’ ability to function in a today’s high-tech work environment. While tech-savvy students are highly skilled in navigating social networking sites, colleges are focusing on translating this “skill-set” to the workplace. In an era of information overload, the digital literacy test will assess students’ ability to not only search and retrieve information, but also analyze and apply the information to real-life work scenarios.
The digital literacy test will test, for example, students’ ability to extrapolate relevant information from electronic spreadsheets, or gather information using the Internet and social media channels and draft an email based on the research. Colleges will use the digital literacy test for student evaluation and placement, as well as curriculum development.
Colleges are taking advantage of innovations in new technology and social media, and focusing on user behavior to develop students’ skills that tomorrow’s workplace will demand.
-Lilly Golden, Examville Blog Contributor