One way an administrator can determine a school’s climate is by the use of surveys. In Kowalski (2007) a school’s “culture is the least visible element of climate and thus the element most difficult to diagnose…teachers may not recognize that their instructional behavior and grading practices are influenced by school culture” (p.108). Taken a step further and determining the personal practices of the school’s staff and teachers would best be served by the administration of a survey.
Recently, a Social Media Analysis survey was created and conducted with the teachers at my school to determine their personal use of social media. Of the 22 teachers requested to take the survey, 81% or 18/22 responded. Analytics were easily generated as the survey was created with the use of Google Forms. Responses were also generated that were not explained in the analytics in the form of a spreadsheet. By using Google Forms, it was easy to gather the necessary information to determine respondent’s uses and ratios. Charts were created by utilizing the “summary of responses” offered in Google Forms.
Five questions were created to gauge the use of social media or to determine individual personal learning communities or PLNs. The survey will be posted on 10/19.
Calculations revealed that for question number one: “1. Do you use social media in your personal life?”, that five or 27% out of the 18 respondents do not use social media at all, while 59% or the remaining 13 respondent’s use a variety of social media with an overwhelming use of YouTube.
When asked “2. Where do you get your news about school issues?” a majority stated televisions news stations, followed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and also the Internet. But 3 responses included “other teachers/principal”, “professional associations and organizations”, followed by “other people”.
Question 3 required respondents to check all that apply when asked: “Whose knowledge and opinions do you trust?” which showed an overwhelming response indicating that family members were the most trusted, next to friends and coworkers. Four respondents added: “school administration”, “known leaders and or authorities in given areas”, “professionals”, and “classmates”.
The fourth question asked how often the respondent viewed the school’s websites and social media. Nearly 50% answered “once a day” and one even answered “I never look at the school website or Edline”. While this survey promised anonymity, curiosity wants to determine which of the 18 teachers chose this “never”. However, of those 50%, 22% use social media several times a day and indicate that it is an important aspect of their life.
The fifth and final question, the survey asked teachers if they have a PLN or Personal Learning Network. Of all the respondents, 17 out of the 18 said “no”, with one elaborating on the use of Twitter as an outlet for additional learning. More than likely, this is the first time the term PLN may have been used or discussed. Therefore, future surveys should elaborate on the meaning and importance of PLNs for teachers and schools.
This survey determined that there is a real need for teachers to include social media within their daily lives and to welcome the use of social media as a learning tool. With a majority of teachers stating that YouTube and Skype were one of the forms of using social media in their personal lives, then that experience would be a great tool for helping student comprehension. By allowing students to learn from outside sources as a “guest speaker/lecturer” via the use of YouTube and Skype in the classroom, lessons would be enriched. As an elementary school, the use of Facebook in the classroom brings with it a myriad of issues, but if accepted and continuously monitored, it could be a great tool for enhancing the school’s current websites.
As an avenue for determining school culture, it is apparent that the teachers trust the personal opinion of coworkers, administration, and leaders within the school’s environment. Armed with this knowledge, the administration has the perfect venue for disseminating communication practices of the school and bringing about evolution and or change within the school, among the staff, and with the students.
In order to determine and identify current areas of social media adaptation, the survey should have included a question that specifically targeted age and or the date of when adaptation of social media took place. A future survey should ask when the respondent started using social media. By doing so, analysis would allow a view into when digital adapters make a transition into the acceptance of the use of social media and the internet. With the knowledge of how long a teacher has used social media personally, it would help administrators understand those who would be the perfect “designer, steward or teacher” that Kowalski (2007) states are the necessary links to change initiatives in improving climate and culture within a school (p. 117).
Kowalski, Theodore J., George J. Petersen, and Lance D. Fusarelli. Effective Communication for School Administrators: A Necessity in an Information Age. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2007. Print.