Survey reveals why teachers aren’t embracing social media

By Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
September 25th, 2015

Survey reveals that the majority of classroom educators shy away from social media integration

social-mediaA new survey finds that just 13 percent of participating educators have used social media as part of their classroom learning.

The University of Phoenix College of Education survey of 1,002 U.S. K-12 teachers found that 87 percent of those surveyed said they have not embraced social media platforms. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said they are reluctant to use social media in the classroom, compared to 55 percent of participating educators in a 2013 survey.

Fewer than half of teachers surveyed (44 percent) said they believe social media can enhance a student’s educational experiences.

“We are living in a rapidly evolving world of digital and social media, and many students are totally immersed and well-versed in these platforms,” said Kathy Cook, dean of educational technology for University of Phoenix College of Education and former K-12 educator. “For teachers to stay current, keep students engaged and promote learning, it is important for teachers to acknowledge the influence of social media and understand how to use it to the benefit of their students.”

Lack of training could be to blame. Although 95 percent of surveyed educators said they have had training related to classroom technology integration, 62 percent said they had either minimal or no training around how to interact with students and parents through social media.

Forty-eight perent of those surveyed said they would like to learn more about classroom technology integration.

K-12 teachers raise many concerns, with 82 percent of those surveyed reporting that they worry about conflicts that can occur from using social media with their students and/or parents.

More than half (59 percent) said the use of personal tech devices outside the classroom makes it more difficult for students to pay attention in a group setting in the classroom.

Twenty percent have also felt intimidated by students’ knowledge/use of technology devices.

“Social media is here to stay, so it is critical to invest in our educators through expanded training,” said Cook.

Training extends beyond providing educators tools to integrate social media into the classroom, she added. In addition to being prepared to use social media as a learning tool, teachers also need to be able to teach students to be responsible with their online behavior.

“Despite challenges, tremendous opportunities exist for teachers to play a leadership role in students’ digital lives, helping them learn how to use social media and understand its impact both in and outside the classroom,” Cook said. “It is essential to train teachers in digital citizenship so that they can educate students about preserving their online integrity.”

Cook offered tips to help K-12 teachers integrate social media into their classrooms:

  • Create student social media guidelines. If your school or district has guidelines for social media use, make sure you and your students understand them completely and are following the guidelines. If your school or district does not currently have guidelines for social media use, consider developing some.
  • Try “closed” social media sites. Edmodo, TodaysMeet and other sites allow safe and secure social media experiences in a smaller school environment. You can also create private blogs or use sites such as Kidblogs or Edublogs, which limit access and comment abilities.
  • Connect with other classrooms around the world. Projects such as Global Read Aloud and Skype in the Classroom allow you to connect students in your classroom with other students worldwide.
  • Connect with experts worldwide. Social media tools can help you bring a variety of experts into your classroom so students can learn directly from people in the field they are studying. You can search and connect with experts on Twitter, Skype and other social media networks. Many authors and content experts may be willing to conduct a live tweet session with your students during which they can ask questions and get immediate responses.
  • Involve your class in a social service project. Explore projects online that your students can get involved in to help make the world a better place. Choose2Matter is one global movement that may spark imagination about how social media can be used to help others.
  • Learn more about social media use in the classroom. Join Twitter or use other social media tools to connect with other teachers and learn about their creative uses of social media. You can also take a class to hone your own social media skills.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix College of Education between April 14 and April 27, 2015, among 1,002 U.S. teachers aged 18 and older who work full time in education teaching grades K-12.

Material from a press release was used in this report.