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A survey of K-12 teachers’ utilization of social networks as a professional resource

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Abstract

Teachers are increasingly using social networks, including social media and other Internet applications, to look for educational resources. This study shares results from a survey examining patterns of social network application use among K-12 teachers in the United States. A sample of 154 teachers (18 males, 136 females) in the United States answered questions about their use of social network applications, their comfort with Web 2.0, and their use of empirically-based resources from social networks. Results provide a user update on factors that predict overall engagement with social networks, which included comfort and trust in using social networks, as well as higher age. We also explored the most popular applications used by teachers and the most popular reasons for their use. Finally, we implemented a new survey methodology to gauge responses about empirically-based posts on social networks and discuss results in the context of balancing free resources with high-quality pedagogical information.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Given that one goal of the study was to ascertain if teachers could discriminate the quality of resources without background information (as posts would be displayed on their own social networks), participants were not aware of the evidence-based classification of the post.

  2. 2.

    West and Midwest cases were disregarded in this analysis due to their underrepresentation in the sample.

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Author information

Correspondence to Leah J. Hunter.

Appendix A

Appendix A

Full Survey (for larger School 2.0 project)

Hello! This survey is designed to help us understand how educational professionals use interactive and social media online technology tools, or “Web 2.0”, to help their students. We will be asking you a variety of questions about your experiences, various tools that you use online, your comfort with technology use, and others. This survey may take you between 15 and 30 min to complete. Remember, you’ll have the opportunity to enter your information to win a $25 Target gift card at the end of the survey. Thank you for your assistance!

figurea

Specific Web 2.0 Applications Used – Web 2.0 is the “second version” of the Internet, which includes any source that allows you to add to its content, like (but not limited to) social media. This section is designed to get information about the different kinds of Web 2.0 tools you may use as part of your job as an educational professional. Please indicate how often you use the following tools.

Scale definitions:

Never = Never used it before.

Rarely = A few times a year.

Sometimes = Once or twice per year.

Often = Once or twice per week.

All the time = More than twice per week.

  Never Rarely Sometimes Often All the time
Social Networking Sites
 Facebook 1 2 3 4 5
 LinkedIn 1 2 3 4 5
Publishing Virtual Media
 WordPress 1 2 3 4 5
 Blogs 1 2 3 4 5
 Wikipedia 1 2 3 4 5
Content Sharing
 Instagram 1 2 3 4 5
 Youtube 1 2 3 4 5
 Flickr 1 2 3 4 5
Web Chat/ Discussion
 Yahoo Messenger 1 2 3 4 5
 GChat 1 2 3 4 5
 Skype 1 2 3 4 5
 Google Hangout 1 2 3 4 5
Microblogging
 Twitter 1 2 3 4 5
 Tumbler 1 2 3 4 5
Videostreaming
 Livestream 1 2 3 4 5
Virtual Worlds
 Second Life 1 2 3 4 5
Others
 Reddit 1 2 3 4 5
 Pinterest 1 2 3 4 5
 Google + 1 2 3 4 5
 Online newspaper/ magazine 1 2 3 4 5
List names of resources:  
 Teachers Pay Teachers 1 2 3 4 5
 What Works Clearinghouse 1 2 3 4 5
 Online Professional Groups 1 2 3 4 5
List names of groups:  

Skip Logic: For those resources indicated as Sometimes/ Often/ All the Time as the following branch items:

I use this tool to: Post/ Contribute Work-Related Ideas Gather/ Download Work-Related Ideas Both Post and Gather Work-Related Ideas
I trust the information I receive from this application: Not at all A little Neutral A little bit A lot
How often do you use this tool to:
  Never Rarely Sometimes Often All the Time
 Establish and maintain professional relationships 1 2 3 4 5
 Connect with leaders in the field 1 2 3 4 5
 Create a professional identity 1 2 3 4 5
 Solicit advice 1 2 3 4 5
 Comment on/discuss education-related topics 1 2 3 4 5
I use this tool to seek information regarding:
 Lesson plans 1 2 3 4 5
 Forms and templates 1 2 3 4 5
 Academic interventions 1 2 3 4 5
 Behavior management 1 2 3 4 5
 Social-emotional adjustment 1 2 3 4 5
 Specific diagnoses 1 2 3 4 5
 Room decorating 1 2 3 4 5
 Professional development activities 1 2 3 4 5

Skip Logic: If a respondent answers Never or Rarely to any of stem items, they will be branched to the following:

I do not use this application because: I am not allowed to use this tool AT SCHOOL by district policy.
If yes: I don’t use it at all; I use it at home for my work but not while at school
I haven’t heard of that! I use it for my personal use but not for professional purposes.
If yes: How often do you use this for personal reasons (same options)

Skip Logic: If a respondent answers Often or All the Time for any Web 2.0 resource, they are branched to the following:

Use of Web 2.0 tools: Your answer to question will to help us have some examples of what you use Web 2.0 for. Please note: we will only look at your posts or information that is public, or already available to the general public, and we will not share your specific usernames in any reports of this research. Please do not give us your private information, like passwords.

Username for this source: [ENTRY SPACE] I don’t remember I prefer not to give it

Skip Logic: If a respondent answers Often or All the Time for Pinterest, they are branched to the following:

How often do you use the things you “pin” in your classroom? 1 2 3 4 5

Comfort with Web 2.0 – This section is to get information about how comfortable you feel using Web 2.0 technology applications in general. Please answer the degree to which you agree or disagree with the following statements.

  Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
I feel that using Web 2.0 is easy 1 2 3 4 5
Using Web 2.0 is a good idea 1 2 3 4 5
I have the knowledge to use Web 2.0 1 2 3 4 5
I have the skills to use Web 2.0      
Using Web 2.0 technologies is entirely within my control 1 2 3 4 5
I feel comfortable using Web 2.0 technologies 1 2 3 4 5
I easily use Web 2.0 technologies on my own 1 2 3 4 5
I don’t know enough to use Web 2.0 technologies 1 2 3 4 5
I am not really a knowledgeable consumer of Web 2.0 technologies 1 2 3 4 5
I know which Web 2.0 technologies are trustworthy 1 2 3 4 5

Information Seeking – These questions are designed to better understand how you use Web 2.0 to get information for your job.

  Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
I use the information from the first source I find 1 2 3 4 5
I use the information if it aligns with my personal experiences in schools 1 2 3 4 5
I use the information if others I trust endorse it 1 2 3 4 5
I use the information if I have heard it from another source 1 2 3 4 5
I use the information if I have also learned about it in a class or professional development activity 1 2 3 4 5
I use the information if I have read it elsewhere (e.g., in a reference book) 1 2 3 4 5
I use the information if I know it is research-based 1 2 3 4 5

Access to Web 2.0 This section is designed to understand how you access the Internet and to understand any barriers you have to access.

  Never Rarely Sometimes Often All the time
A smart phone 1 2 3 4 5
A tablet/notebook 1 2 3 4 5
A work computer 1 2 3 4 5
A personal computer 1 2 3 4 5

Skip Logic : If a respondent answers Never or Rarely to any of the items above, they will be branched to the following:

I do not use this option because (select all that apply): I do not have that kind of device I have that device but do not have service at my school I am not allowed to use these tools by district policy I have unreliable access to the internet I can’t afford that device

Skip Logic: If a respondent answers Often or All the time to any of the items, they will be branched to the following:

I have access to this device because (select all that apply): I own this device I use the school’s device Our school has a grant that allows me to use this device

Classroom/Behavior Management Strategies – This section is designed to get information about the different strategies you use for classroom/behavior management. Please indicate how likely you would be to use the following strategies.

  Very unlikely Somewhat unlikely Neutral Somewhat likely Very likely
Clip chart [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Behavior contract [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Bucket filling story [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Token economy [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Cool down cubes [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Classroom rules [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Polka dot classroom rules [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Class reward marble jar [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Rockin’ behavior [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Calming Glitter Bottle [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Applied Behavior Analysis/Functional Behavior Assessment 1 2 3 4 5
Planned ignoring + contingent praise 1 2 3 4 5
Specific praise for each appropriate behavior 1 2 3 4 5
Minimized classroom distractions 1 2 3 4 5
Time-out from reinforcement 1 2 3 4 5
Other: Name of strategy(ies): [ENTER HERE] 1 2 3 4 5

Reading Improvement Strategies – This section is designed to get information about the different strategies you use for reading improvement. Please indicate how likely you would be to use the following strategies.

I do not teach this area ☐ (skip to next section)
  Very unlikely Somewhat unlikely Neutral Somewhat likely Very likely
Picture of the day [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Roll & retell dice [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Fluency using repeated readings [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Draw conclusions chart [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Sound sorts [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Reading strategy fan [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Sound boxes/Elkonin boxes [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Incremental rehearsal [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Folding flip flap books [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Word sorts [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Other: Name of strategy: [ENTER HERE] 1 2 3 4 5

Math Improvement Strategies – This section is designed to get information about the different strategies you use for math improvement. Please indicate how likely you would be to use the following strategies.

I do not teach this area ☐ (skip section)
  Very unlikely Somewhat unlikely Neutral Somewhat likely Very likely
Math strategy posters [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
What good mathematicians do poster [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Math coach’s corner: place value [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Place value Styrofoam cups [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Clothespin easy addition [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Mathematicians mini posters [picture]      
Counting teddy bears [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Example/non-example graphic organizer [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
My addition strategies mat [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Fact family workstations: Concrete, representational, abstract [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Other: Name of strategy(ies): [ENTER HERE] 1 2 3 4 5
I do not teach this area ☐ (skip section)
  Very unlikely Somewhat unlikely Neutral Somewhat likely Very likely
SSIS overview (Social Skills Improvement System) [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Pay it forward board [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Cool down strategies: birds nest, balloon breathing, boomerang bird, mighty eagle [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Our rules at school [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Super social skills [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Caught being good cards [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Me on the map [picture]      
Social skills progress report [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Social skills curriculum – part 1 – basic friendship skills [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Mustache question [picture] 1 2 3 4 5
Other: Name of strategy(ies): [ENTER HERE] 1 2 3 4 5

Social Skills Improvement Strategies – This section is designed to get information about the different strategies you use for social skills improvement. Please indicate how likely you would be to use the following strategies.

If you would like to be entered for a chance to win a $25 Target gift card for completing the survey, please enter your active email address below. We will contact you at this address only if you are selected to win a gift card.

Email: ____________________.

Thank you for your help!

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Hunter, L.J., Hall, C.M. A survey of K-12 teachers’ utilization of social networks as a professional resource. Educ Inf Technol 23, 633–658 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-017-9627-9

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Keywords

  • Social networks
  • Teachers
  • Information seeking
  • Professional development