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General Science and Teaching

Teachers Social Networking

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Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

Princeton, NJ - December 6, 2012 - The final results of new research that benchmarks educators' participation in social networks and online communities has just been released. The report, A Survey of K-12 Educators on Social Networking, Online Communities, and Web 2.0 Tools 2012 was conducted by MMS Education and sponsored by and MCH Strategic Data. Facebook remains the #1 social network educators have joined, but other sites are gaining ground especially LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, edmodo, and Education-focused social networks are gaining momentum as a category as educators continue to have concerns about privacy and professionalism, particularly with the general/consumer social networks. The new research updates and expands upon a study conducted in 2009, and shows that educators have significantly increased their adoption of social media tools for personal use and professional collaboration. In 2009, 61% of educators who responded said they had joined a social network compared to 82% in 2012 - an increase of 21 percentage points or 34% growth. The final report breaks down results for principals, teachers, and librarians. As in 2009, librarians continue to have the highest percent participation in social networks, followed by teachers, and then principals. All groups have made significant advances in the past three years. The study delves into detail about the sites educators have joined, how frequently they use them, how they use them, and the value and concerns around using social networking in education. The 2012 study asks new questions about the use of mobile devices, Internet bandwidth, and school/district access policies for students and teachers. There is growing awareness that online communities help teachers create an extended personal learning network and access a wealth of professional development resources - often at no cost to the teacher. The benefits of joining online communities has been clearly articulated and advocated by the U.S. Department of Education in the National Education Technology Plan and through the Connected Online Communities of Practice Project (COCP), an initiative that encourages all educators to take advantage of online professional learning opportunities. The U.S. DOE declared August 2012 "Connected Educator Month." Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of commented, "As part of edWeb's participation in Connected Educator Month, we offered to update our 2009 survey to see how participation in social networking has changed in three years. We know from our work in the field that it's increasing, but it's great to have concrete data to look at and to see how participation varies by age, by job function, by context. Based on the comments we received, educators need more training and support to move forward faster, and we have a long way to go to open up access to these kinds of sites for students in the classroom." MMS Education conducted the research. Susan Meell, CEO, commented, "This study highlights the significant changes that have occurred in just the past three years as teachers, librarians and principals adapt to the impact of social media, Web 2.0 tools and mobile devices in education. This new research indicates that more than 50% of the districts/school surveyed allow students and teachers to bring their own mobile devices into the classroom -- that alone has significant implications for marketing, sales and product development."

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Hi Pam, Thanks for posting the information about thanks for posting the information on the Teachers Social Networking Study. My mom, who is also a teacher, and I have discussed how much the internet has changed teaching. Many years ago, my mom relied on teaching magazines, teacher's manuals, and a few resource books. Now, the majority of my planning comes from internet searches. With the onset of social networking, the access to information has taken another big jump. Websites, like this one, gives teachers an opportunity to glean ideas and advice from teacher who may be thousands of miles away. We can even "talk" realtime during the the web seminars. Websites like Pinterest are full of great lesson and classroom management ideas. This innovation in the way we find information in the 21st Century also means that we need to develop new rules for online etiquette and find new ways to organize all of the information we find. This is a great topic, and I look forward to learning more about the findings of this study! Maureen

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

December 18, 4 PM ET – "Using Social Media Tools with Students: 24/7 Collaborative Mobile Learning" The webinar is free

Matt Sandine Matt Sandine 665 Points

Hi Pamela, Social media is an excellent way to collaborate with other teachers and share ideas. In the Teacher Education Program that I belong to, my colleagues and I created a Facebook page where we share ideas and help one another with our lessons. It has come in handy when trying to find ideas for science lessons since not all of use are the most scientifically-inclined people. Truly, it can help for any discipline or teacher of any grade. Just be careful about how much personal information you post on Facebook or any other social media site. Not everything is private these days even if you select "private" for your profile. Students are very tech savvy these days and it only takes one instance for a teacher's great reputation to be destroyed. I'm not sure if you've seen it, but Pinterest is another great social media site which provides classroom lessons and activities for teachers. Much of it is dedicated to crafting and cooking, but I have seen some really unique lessons for teachers on there as well. You need Facebook to join it, but it is worth seeing at least once. Thanks for posting, Matt

Tina Harris Tina Harris 65805 Points

In addition to the concerns that Matt brings up, I once again worry about providing references to sources of materials. I would like to say that my concerns do not include teachers, but I know we are just as bad as our students in some ways of "borrowing" materials from the internet and not providing links to original sources. I have two Facebook accounts, one for family and friends for personal posts which I keep set as private as is practical since my children are not as circumspect as I would like on social networks, and one for colleagues and former students where I keep links to all kinds of science education materials, trying to link to source sites rather than relying on reposts where sources can be lost. Should I instead put these resources into something like edWeb? would my students even look there? And how do we educate our students and other teachers on citing materials when sometimes it is hard to know the origins?

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43135 Points

Pam, the numbers are fascinating. It’s amazing how much the internet, social networking and computers in general have changed in the last five years alone. I was having a discussion with a fellow teacher the other day about my first computer 25 years ago. It took a real floppy disk, you know, the black one you could bend. My computer had less memory than a $3.00 memory stick and at that time I wondered what would I ever do with so much space. There were really only a few programs to run, Wordstar was what I used and everything started up on a DOS command. There was never a thought we could actually use the computer to go to an outside source to find or share information. When Facebook first became available all I could think of was, “Why would anyone ever want to do this?” It seemed like such a waste of time for one, and two, who would care what I was thinking or doing in “real time?” Now, I as much as my students, am addicted. I can’t wait to find out what is happening with my “friends.” As a whole new generation enters teaching, that has known life only digitally, I can’t help but wonder how different their classrooms and lessons are managed and taught. As Maureen mentioned, I still have many of my teacher’s manuals and resources. I really should clean out the physical resource books and give them away, but have no idea to whom. There are still lots of great ideas in them, but after 21 years, I have my notebooks and file cabinets full of favorites. I am sure they too will become obsolete, but not sure I am ready to part with them. I look forward to hearing how others have adapted their practice, but even more so, what did you do with resources that still have some life in them.

Patty McGinnis Patricia McGinnis 25595 Points

Sandy, You may want to scan those ideas from your physical books; that way have an electronic copy and may be more likely to use it. I remember piloting computers for the school where I worked in the 1980's---we've come a long way from 5" floppy (really floppy!) disks and having to use the arrow keys to move around (they are probably museum pieces by now:)

Mary Ann Ng Mary Ann Ng 3385 Points

I have been using social media in my personal life years before I became a teacher. But I am now just using twitter ( I don't follow my students), wikispace ( set that only I can post), flickr ( pictures of student work) and edmodo ( professional collaboration)in a non-social way because of three reasons. For one, our administrators do not encourage it to avoid behavioral and legal issues. On my part, I find that the use of social media for students entails creating an online behavioral management and monitoring system which I am not able to consistently maintain. Finally, very few of my students are buying into the use of social media in class. I started with edmodo 3 years ago, but they didn't like it and thought of it as just another school requirement. Now, I'm trying to get teachers at our school whom I need to work with to use edmodo. But it has not been successful so far. Maybe the challenges that I am facing are just related to the context of the school. I do think that if admin were social media friendly, then I can at first require the students to use those tools rather than hoping for them to voluntarily join.

Stacy Hobson Stacy Hobson 55 Points

Thanks for the information!! I am moving towards using more technology to assit my kids. on my website, I have them to sign up so I can gather their phone numbers and email address. I usually text them extra credit assignments twice a week. It is a great way to keep them interactive!

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67935 Points

Like Mary Ann, I have found kids tend to dissociate social media from learning as much as possible. I have found that sites like Edmodo are extremely valuable in allowing students to anticipate content, and be able to access materials when they have missed class or need extra copies. I also have a college-age daughter, however, and she is quite likely to use tools like Google Drive to assemble a group project; however, even at that level, they prefer to meet face-to-face for at least a part of the planning and assembly, from my observations.

Adah Stock Adah Stock 101510 Points

I think all of what you are writing about is great. Now if we can just get the older folks to using it as well then we could harness their experiences and knowledge to help the younger generation. Just a thought. I would like to find out what networking tools advocate teacher social networking. I know that Linkedin has some groups. Are there other groups more specific to grade taught as well as subject tuaght? Adah

Patty McGinnis Patricia McGinnis 25595 Points

Hi Adah, Have you checked out Classroom 2.0? They have terrific groups for teachers to network (mostly about technology items).

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