FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Valerie Chernek
Phone: 410-871-2670
Email: info@valeriechernek.com

Princeton, NJ – December 6, 2012 – The final results of new research that benchmarks educators’ participation in social networks and online communities has just released. The report, A Survey of K-12 Educators on Social Networking, Online Communities, and Web 2.0 Tools 2012 was conducted by MMS Education and sponsored by edWeb.net and MCH Strategic Data.

Facebook remains the #1 social network educators have joined, but other sites are gaining ground especially LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, edmodo, and edWeb.net. Education-focused social networks are gaining momentum as a category as educators continue to have concerns about privacy and professionalism, particularly with the general/consumer social networks.

The new research updates and expands upon a study conducted in 2009, and shows that educators have significantly increased their adoption of social media tools for personal use and professional collaboration. In 2009, 61% of educators who responded said they had joined a social network compared to 82% in 2012 – an increase of 21 percentage points or 34% growth. The final report breaks down results for principals, teachers, and librarians. As in 2009, librarians have the highest percent participation in social networks, followed by teachers, and then principals. All groups have made significant advances in the past three years.

The study delves into detail about the websites educators have joined, how frequently they use them, the ways in which they use them, and the value and concerns around using social networking in education. The 2012 study asks new questions about the use of mobile devices, Internet bandwidth, and school/district access policies for students and teachers.

There is growing awareness that online communities help teachers create an extended personal learning network and access a wealth of professional development resources – often at no cost to the teacher. The benefits of joining online communities has been clearly articulated and advocated by the U.S. Department of Education in the National Education Technology Plan and through the Connected Online Communities of Practice Project (COCP), an initiative that encourages all educators to take advantage of online professional learning opportunities. The U.S. DOE declared August 2012 “Connected Educator Month.”
Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of edWeb.net said, “As part of edWeb’s participation in Connected Educator Month, we offered to update our 2009 survey to see how participation in social networking has changed in three years. We know from our work in the field that it’s increasing, but it’s great to have concrete data to see how participation varies by age, job function, and context. Based on the comments we received, educators need more training and support to move forward faster. We have a long way to go to open up access to these kinds of sites for students in the classroom.”

MMS Education conducted the research. Susan Meell, CEO, adds, “This study highlights the significant changes that have occurred in just the past three years as teachers, librarians and principals adapt to the impact of social media, Web 2.0 tools and mobile devices in education. This new research indicates that more than 50% of the districts/schools surveyed allow students and teachers to bring their own mobile devices into the classroom — that alone has significant implications for marketing, sales and product development.”

The FINAL REPORT is now available and can be downloaded at http://www.edweb.net/fimages/op/reports/Educators-and-Social-Media-2012-web.pdf

Join us for a webinar to discuss the results of the report on Tuesday, December 11th at 3pm Eastern Time. Results will be presented by Susan Meell, CEO, MMS Education; Kelly Stewart, Senior Director of Marketing, MMS Education; and Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO, edWeb.net. Register Here

About MMS Education
MMS Education helps for-profit and not-for-profit organizations reach, engage, and measure impact in the PreK-20 education market. Clients turn to us for market research, marketing and communications, sales and support programs, technical support/help desk services, outreach programs, and information management systems. MMS is particularly interested in helping clients uncover opportunities in the education market and connect more directly with the educators who use their products and services in classrooms every day. For more information, visit www.mmseducation.com, call 800-523-5948, or contact Susan Meell, CEO, at smeell@mmseducation.com or Kelly Stewart, Sr. Director of Marketing at kstewart@mmseducation.com.

About edWeb.net
edWeb.net is a professional social and learning network for the education community that makes it easy to connect and collaborate with colleagues, share information and best practices, and create professional learning communities. edWeb promotes collaboration with easy-to-use Web 2.0 tools that transform the way educators share information and receive professional development. edWeb hosts professional learning communities for educators on key topics in education. Through a partnership with MCH Strategic Data, edWeb reaches out to more than 3.5 million K-12 educators in the U.S. to promote the value of online collaboration and personal learning networks. edWeb.net is free for educators and is funded with the support of partners and sponsors. Learn more at www.edweb.net. For further information about edWeb.net, contact Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO, at 908-407-2755 or by email at lisa@edweb.net. Follow edWeb on Twitter @edwebnet.

About MCH Strategic Data
MCH Strategic Data is a leading source of compiled data on education, health, and government institutions in the United States. MCH is a privately owned company that has been in the education market for over 80 years. MCH is a strategic partner of edWeb.net and is helping to spread the word about the edWeb to the preK-12 education community. For more information, contact John Hood, president, at 800-776-6373 or by email at johnh@mchdata.com. Visit the MCH Strategic Data website at www.mchdata.com.

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Carletta