A new national survey from University of Phoenix College of Education suggests K-12 teachers don't know how to integrate social media into the classroom and whether to use it to engage with students and parents. A large majority (80 percent) of teachers worry about conflicts that can occur from using social media with their students and/or parents. Four-in-five teachers use social media for either personal or professional purposes; of those, more than one-third (34 percent) have encountered difficulties with students and/or parents attempting to connect with them via social media.
The survey finds nearly half (47 percent) of all K-12 teachers and 58 percent of high school teachers believe that participation in social media with their teachers can enhance a student’s educational experience. Despite the perceived benefits, only 17 percent of K-12 teachers encourage their students to connect with them via social media and only 18 percent have integrated it into their classrooms. Adoption is only slightly greater for high school teachers, with 21 percent encouraging their students to connect with them via social media and 19 percent incorporating it into classroom learning.
The online survey of more than 1,000 full-time K-12 teachers in the U.S. was conducted on behalf of University of Phoenix College of Education by Harris Interactive in October, 2013.
Social Media Use by Teachers
Eighty percent of K-12 teachers report that they use social media for either personal or professional use, but fewer than one-in-five (18 percent) have integrated social media into their own classrooms. A majority of K-12 teachers (55 percent) have not integrated social media into their classrooms and do not plan to do so. More than one-quarter (27 percent) have not integrated social media, but want to do so.
Teachers may also be hesitant to connect with parents via social media as 69 percent believe that parents sometimes use it to monitor teachers’ work and/or personal lives.
According to Cook, by avoiding the use of these ubiquitous communication tools, teachers may be missing opportunities to leverage social media for learning, teaching and connecting with others.
“Students are engaged daily in social media, so it presents a great way to connect with them,” said Cook. “Social media can also help tie classroom learning to real-world scenarios, which can enhance student learning. Many teachers see the value of using these tools in the classroom, but may be reluctant to engage without clear guidelines and training.”
According to the survey, less than one-third (29 percent) of K-12 teachers say they have received significant or adequate training about interacting with students and parents in social media.