Social media has fast become an educator’s dream, with almost immediate responses to questions about teaching strategies, resources, and professional development opportunities.
But how are educators really using social media, and is it really as widely-used as everyone assumes?
FrontRow Education recently asked 1,000 K-8 teachers how they are using social media personally, professionally and as a communication tool with parents and students.
Here are some of the survey’s key findings:
Social media is not widely used to communicate with students or parents
• One in five teachers use social media on a monthly or more frequent basis to communicate with students or parents, with Google + the most widely used platform.
• Some teachers do use Twitter and Facebook to communicate; 13 percent and 12 percent respectively
For personal use, Facebook is the clear winner amongst teachers
• Seventy-one percent of teachers use Facebook daily for personal use, followed by Google + (33 percent), Pinterest (32 percent), Instagram (27 percent) and Twitter (18 percent)
• The differences narrow with weekly use, with 82 percent logging onto Facebook weekly, followed by Pinterest (69 percent), Google + (49 percent), Instagram (40 percent) and Twitter (32 percent)
Pinterest has the largest correlation between professional and personal use; Facebook the smallest
• While 69 percent of teachers use Pinterest weekly for personal use, 67 percent use weekly for professional purposes
• Facebook, on the other hand, is used for professional purposes by just 44 percent of teachers weekly vs. 82 percent for personal use
Where you teach reflects your social media habits both personally…
• Teachers in the West use Facebook the least for personal use, with 65 percent logging in daily; in the Midwest, that number jumps to 76 percent
• Teachers in the Northeast use Google+ daily for personal use, 17 percentage points more than those in the Midwest (37 percent vs. 20 percent)
• Nearly twice as many teachers in the Midwest (40 percent) use Pinterest daily for personal use compared to the Northeast (20 percent)
• Teachers in the West are least likely to use Google + daily for professional use (17 percent) compared to other regions, where on average 28 percent of teachers do so
• Daily Pinterest use for professional purposes is highest in the South (34 percent), and lowest in the Northeast (20 percent)
Age is more than just a number
• The survey found significant differences between teachers in varying age groups when it comes to social media habits.
• Google + is much more popular with the 50+ crowd, with 51 percent of teachers in this age bracket using the platform daily, compared to just 18 percent of those 29 and younger
• Forty-four percent of 29 and younger and 33 percent of 30-49-year-olds use Pinterest daily compared with just 21 percent of those 50 and older