(Originally posted by The Social Media Monthly – March 1, 2013)
Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the U.S.; 1 in 4 children born in the U.S. are of Hispanic descent. Yet Hispanics still lag behind in every educational level, from pre-kindergarten to professional education, in terms of retention and graduation. The reasons can range from lack of funding, outreach, and poor quality teachers, but one thing is for certain: something can be done.
The growing social media phenomenon has grown at such fast rates that it gets difficult to obtain all of the social media sites thrown at us. From Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to YouTube, the platforms are endless and can be used to educate young Hispanics. Social media and the Internet have given the capability to anyone from the world to connect, learn and educate oneself without having to rely on poor quality institutions.
The Khan Academy, for example, has given the ability for anyone from around the world to access free educational tools to learn the material in an interactive way. If students from third world countries can access the material there is no doubt that students in inner cities of Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami, to name a few, can access The Khan Academy, Learning Games for Kids, The Kidz Page or other educational online resources. A simple YouTube search of learning elementary algebra will give several instructional videos, not all of best quality, but it is a start.
Young Hispanics are the most active and outpace non-Hispanics in every engagement. Not every Hispanic household may have Wi-Fi yet, but there are probably family members with Wi-Fi capability that would not mind having their young family member over to use the Internet for educational purposes. Other venues such as public libraries or McDonalds with Wi-Fi access can be the go-to for online access.
Seventy percent of Young Hispanics make up the largest and fastest growing smartphone users, engaging on smartphones in terms of downloading and consuming mobile content. Smartphones would be a valuable educational tool because it can provide the access to the educational online resource apps such as Circuit Math and Attainment Read to Learn.
My start-up company, Latin Dimensions Media, started a How-To educational resource site through the Oye Help Me Series* for young Hispanics in the U.S. in higher education and for those beginning their professional career. New Futuro is another online resource for young Hispanics to educate themselves on higher education. The overall number of resources that target Hispanics may be small but the resources already in the market can be a start.
If young Hispanics consist of not only the fastest growing population in the U.S. but smartphone users and social media users as well, then this should point to the fact that young Hispanics can access online resources to educate themselves instead of relying on poor quality schools to do it.
*(Editor’s note: the author is Founder & CEO of Latin Dimensions Media, LLC)
© Jose L. Fulgencio 2013