Few Teachers Use Social Media in Class, Reluctance Growing


A survey conducted by the University of Phoenix College of Education determined that only 13% of current K-12 teachers in the United States make use of social media in their curriculum.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Poll and completed by 1,002 K-12 teachers, suggests that teachers today are overwhelmingly not making use of social media in their classrooms, as 87% of participants reported that they did not use social platforms. In addition, 62% of teachers reported a reluctance to include social media up from 55% in 2013.

Despite this reluctance on the part of teachers to incorporate social media into their daily lesson plans, a number of opportunities exist for teachers that would allow them to make the most of social media. However, only 44% of participants reported a belief that social media could in fact improve the educational experience.

"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."

Although 95% of participants said they had received some form of training pertaining to incorporating technology into the classroom, 62% had received little to no training on social media interactions with parents and students. Almost half of participants, 48%, said they would like to learn more about how to best make use of technology within the classroom.

Still, 82% reported concerns over conflicts that could occur if social media were to be used more, and 59% worried that if personal tech devices were to be used outside the classroom it could make it more difficult for students to pay attention while in a group setting within the classroom environment. In addition, 20% said they felt intimidated by the knowledge their students held pertaining to technological devices.

Cook said that teachers need more than just training on how to integrate social media in the classroom. She said it is up to educators to teach students to be responsible while online.

"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," added Cook. "It is essential to train teachers in digital citizenship so that they can educate students about preserving their online integrity. One misstep can have ramifications for years to come, including among future employers."

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