Social Media

Research: 9 in 10 Teachers Don't Use Social Media in the Classroom

Nearly nine of 10 — 87 percent — of teachers have not incorporated social media into their classrooms, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the University of Phoenix. The survey also found that more teachers, 62 percent, said they are reluctant to incorporate social media in their classrooms than in 2013, when 55 percent reported such hesitation.

Only 44 percent of teachers surveyed said that social media can enhance a student's educational experience.

"A lack of tools and training top the list of educator concerns," according to a news release. "Almost all (95 percent) of K-12 teachers say they have had some level of training related to integrating technology in the classroom; however, more than half (62 percent) have had minimal or no training in the area of interacting with students and parents through social media. Nearly half (48 percent) of K-12 teachers express the desire to learn more about integrating technology into the classroom."

A majority, 82 percent, also reported that they worry about conflicts that may arise from using social media with students or their parents and 62 percent said that use of personal devices outside the classroom makes it harder for students to pay attention in group settings inside the classroom. Twenty percent of teachers who responded said they've felt intimidated by their students' knowledge or use of technology.

"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 at University of Phoenix College of Education, in a prepared statement. "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."

Cook offered six suggestions to help teachers integrate social media with their classrooms:

  • Make sure you and your students understand your school or district's guidelines for social media. If there are none, consider developing some;
  • Use closed sites designed for school environments, such as Edmodo, TodaysMeet, Kidblogs or Edublogs;
  • Use products such as Global Read Aloud or Skype in the Classroom to connect students with peers around the world;
  • Use social media to bring experts into the classroom;
  • Use social media to get students involved in social service projects; and
  • Use Twitter or other social media platforms to connect with other teachers to share ideas for social media in the classroom.

"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," said 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."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].