PHOENIX, Sept. 1, 2015 — Social media is a main form of communication and connection used by today’s students. Despite the expansion of EdTech tools as classroom resources, educators have not warmed to the idea of integrating social platforms as quickly as other types of classroom technology. A University of Phoenix® College of Education survey conducted online by Harris Poll in April among 1,002 U.S. K-12 teachers finds only 13 percent of today’s K-12 teachers have integrated social media into classroom learning, with an overwhelming majority (87 percent) reporting they have not embraced social platforms. Additionally, more teachers are citing a reluctance to incorporate social media into classroom learning than in 2013 (62 percent vs. 55 percent).
Although there is reluctance, opportunities exist for teachers to harness social media’s benefits to help students understand how to use digital platforms to promote learning. Less than half of K-12 educators seem to be aware of the opportunities, with 44 percent stating social media can enhance a student’s 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.”
Why the digital disconnect?
A lack of tools and training top the list of educator concerns. 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.
K-12 teachers raise many concerns, with four-in-five (82 percent) worrying about conflicts that can occur from using social media with their students and/or parents, and more than half (59 percent) stating use of personal tech devices outside the classroom makes it more difficult for students to pay attention in a group setting in the classroom. Twenty percent have also felt intimidated by students’ knowledge/use of technology devices.
“Social media is here to stay, so it is critical to invest in our educators through expanded training,” said Cook.
According to Cook, training extends beyond providing educators tools to integrate social media into the classroom. In addition to being prepared to use social media as a learning tool, teachers also need to be able to teach students to be responsible with their online behavior.
“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.”
Tips for teachers in a digital world
As the 2015-16 school year starts, Cook suggests the following additional tips for K-12 teachers to help them integrate social media into their classrooms to supplement school- or district-sponsored resources.
To learn more about University of Phoenix College of Education degree programs, visit www.phoenix.edu/education. For information about University of Phoenix programs, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, please visit phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix College of Education between April 14 and April 27, 2015, among 1,002 U.S. teachers aged 18 and older who work full time in education teaching grades K-12. In addition, oversamples of teachers from Arizona (n=101), California (n=207), Florida (n=103), and Colorado (n=100) were also included. A similar survey was conducted between October 7 and 21, 2013, among 1,005 U.S. teachers. This online survey is not based on a probability sample; therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Heather McLaughlin at email@example.com.
About University of Phoenix College of Education
University of Phoenix College of Education has been educating teachers and school administrators for more than 30 years. The College of Education provides bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for individuals who want to become teachers or current educators and administrators seeking advanced degrees to strengthen their professional knowledge. With education programs available throughout most of the U.S., the College of Education has a distinct grasp of the national education picture and priorities for teacher preparation. Faculty members on average bring more than 17 years of professional experience to the classroom. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu/education.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.