Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Using Youtube[c] in the Classroom for the Net Generation of Students

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Using Youtube[c] in the Classroom for the Net Generation of Students

Article excerpt


The emergence of digital technologies such as the internet and PCs has resulted in a new generation of technically literate individuals called the Net Generation (Prensky, 2001). Due to the technical literacy of these individuals, their learning styles differ from previous generations. The use of YouTube and other Web 2.0 technologies in education has been suggested as a tool to engage Net Generation students (Duffy, 2008; Roodt & De Villiers, 2011). The use of YouTube in education is a relatively new field of study and not much literature has been published regarding the subject (Snelson, 2011).

For the purposes of this research paper, specific course was used to conduct the research. "IT in Business" (INF2004F), is a second/third year undergraduate course offered by the Department of Information Systems (IS) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The course is compulsory for all students majoring in accounting and finance. The course builds on from a first year level IS course, which lays the basic foundations of Information Systems. The course consists of a theoretical component as well as a practical component (Excel and Pastel).

A new aspect to teaching this course had been adopted through the use of YouTube videos in the class. These videos brought a new approach to teaching and it is believed that the use of YouTube as a teaching tool could have an effect on the level of student engagement.

The purpose of this research was to discover if the use of YouTube in the class had an effect on student engagement. Towards the end of the semester, students enrolled in the course were given a questionnaire asking what effect the use of YouTube videos in class had on their level of engagement. Furthermore, students previously enrolled in the course were given a similar questionnaire asking them about their level of engagement with the course. By conducting a comparative analysis, this research aimed to discover what effect, if any, the use of YouTube in the class had on student engagement.

This research paper had two objectives. These were:

* To determine the effect, if any, the use of YouTube in the classroom had on engagement of Net Generation students.

* To determine how YouTube videos were used in classroom and how the students felt about the use of YouTube in the classroom.

As such, the main hypothesis for this research is as follows:

* Can YouTube be used in the classroom to support student engagement for the Net Generation of students?

This research paper begins by conducting a review on the literature of the main topics of this research. The next section focuses on the research methodology used to achieve the objectives of the research. Then follows the data analysis, the findings of the research and finally, the conclusion.

Literature Review

The Net Generation

The Net Generation, also known as the Millennials, Generation Y and the Digital Natives, is the term used to describe the generation born between 1982 and 2003 (Berk, 2009b). This group, which will be referred to as the Net Generation throughout this paper, grew up with the digital technology that arrived in the last decades of the 20th century (Prensky, 2001). The term Net Generation was first mentioned by Tapscott (1997). The term Net Generation comes from the fact that members of this generations' birth coincided with the emergence of the Internet and digital technology (Berk, 2009b).

Members of the Net Generation have grown up with computers and the Internet and are said to have a natural aptitude and high skill levels when using new technologies (Jones, Ramanau, Cross, & Healing, 2010). Prensky (2001) used the term "Digital Natives" to describe this group as he stated that members of this generation were so accustomed to using digital technology that they speak the digital language.

Berk (2009b) noted that defining and labelling groups of people and ascribing characteristics to them can lead to problems of misrepresentation and generalisation. …

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