STEAM Teachers Turn to Social Media for Resources and Training

Teachers with a focus on STEAM turn to social media and websites in great numbers to augment their lessons and for professional development.

A new survey out by the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM found that nine in 10 (92 percent) respondents turn to various well-known sites to supplement their teaching. The most popular were:

  • YouTube, reference by 76 percent of teachers;

  • Teachers Pay Teachers (74 percent); and

  • Pinterest (67 percent).

Facebook was mentioned only by a third (34 percent) and Instagram by half as many (18 percent).

What STEAM teachers are most concerned about for 2020

What STEAM teachers are most concerned about for 2020. Source: "2020 State of Teaching Survey," from the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM

For the purposes of professional development, YouTube was again the top choice, chosen by 61 percent of respondents, followed by Teachers Pay Teachers (40 percent), Facebook (39 percent) and Pinterest (37 percent). Twitter garnered a mention by only 16 percent.

The survey drew about 5,000 responses, almost all teachers, two-thirds (62 percent) of whom teach elementary grades. Two-thirds teach in arts-related classes (37 percent) or the general classroom (29 percent). Another 14 percent are in STEM courses. Most (78 percent) have had seven or more years of teaching experience.

A majority of respondents said that their schools paid for professional development. But nine in 10 also reported that they spend their own money for such pursuits; more than half (57 percent) said they spent $200 or more in 2019. When the employers paid, 54 percent of teachers said their schools spent $200 or more.

A third of respondents said they hold second jobs to supplement their incomes.

When teachers were asked about their biggest concerns for the current year, their top responses touched on classroom management, getting through the curriculum and reaching professional learning goals.

Teachers also told the Institute that they're feeling overwhelmed right now. Two-thirds (65 percent) said there wasn't "enough time or resources to meet the increased demands of their job." More than half (55 percent) said they'd like "more support and respect from administration, parents and community members." And a quarter reported that they were concerned that technology was exacting "an adverse effect on student behaviors, social skills and academic achievement."

As the organization noted in a statement, results from the survey "indicate that teachers don't feel seen as professionals. They have many concerns surrounding competing priorities, student behaviors and lack of resources to accomplish meeting the needs of all learners." The antidote, the report suggested, was encouraging "administration, communities and education organizations to consider tools, resources and behaviors that honor educators as professionals with value and respect."

The Institute is a membership organization that supports teachers, administrators and artists working to integrate the arts into education. It provides curriculum, professional development and accreditation.

The full results are available with registration through the Institute's website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.