According to a recent survey of educators, since 2009, teachers’ membership to social networks has increased by 22%. Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter ranked the top three social networks used my educators.

Teachers are taking their professional development into their own hands through use of social networks. When you first think of social networks, Facebook and Twitter may be the first ones that come to mind. What do teachers use Facebook and Twitter for?  Like most Facebook users out there, teachers’ most frequent activity on these social network is to connect with friends and family. Some teachers search hashtags on Twitter to keep up to date with education technology and other specific education topics.

Many schools have blocked social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Image: Twitter

Many schools have blocked social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Image: Twitter

Since many schools block sites like Facebook and Twitter, teachers have been pushed into an entire different realm of social networks specifically geared for teachers. According to the survey, 27% of educators use Edmodo, a social network designed specifically for the classroom. Edmodo allows teachers and students to connect. Teachers are able to assign homework, give tests, share content and classroom material, and have discussions on classroom topics. Educators also like to use Edmodo because it is a place where they can share lesson plans and have conversations with other educators.

Many teachers in the survey said that they would most likely join another education-geared social network rather than another mainstream social network like Facebook and Twitter. This is thought to be due to the privacy concerns and the prohibition of students connecting with teachers online. Also, many schools block sites like Twitter and Facebook. Many educators claim that they feel safer on social networks specifically designed for the education community.

Educators have become rather fond of a social network similar to linkedin, but geared towards teachers. Tioki is a place where educators can connect, allowing them to share ideas, learn from each other, and develop professionally. What’s great about Tioki is that educators can connect with other educators based on specific criteria like the grade level that they teach and their skills, allowing them to talk to and the gain advice that they need.

Using social networks is certainly a great way for educators to learn outside their own classroom and school, allowing them to grow professionally. Membership to education-specific sites is expected to increase as more and more teachers search for ways to connect, collaborate, and share information with other teachers.