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More than a third of Higher Education Faculty are on Twitter

by Kelly Walsh on October 31, 2010

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Twitter use by Higher Education Faculty is more extensive than you might expect, and it’s on the rise. 

This last week I came across this report from Magna Publications, published last month, which discusses their second annual survey of Twitter usage among college faculty. The survey was conducted over the summer and had 1,372 respondents.

I have to say that I been somewhat surprised by the extent to which educators have been interested in Twitter. For example, since the inception of this blog, two of the most popular posts on this site have been “6 Examples of Using Twitter in the Classroom” and “100 Ways to Teach With Twitter“, with the later consistently pulling more traffic than any other article here. 

I guess this shouldn’t be too surprising given the fact that Twitter has more than 100 million users, with over 300,000 new users signing up every day. However, education tends to be a bit of a laggard when it comes to the adoption of new technologies, so the high level of interest in this topic versus the many others I have covered is a little unexpected.

This new report confirms the growing popularity of the microblogging application among college and university instructors. 

Some of the facts

  • 35.2% of respondents used Twitter in some way, compared to 30.7% last year, so use is clearly on the rise
  • 29.7% claimed to be either “very familiar” or “extremely familiar” with Twitter (versus 21.9% last year)
  • Of those that do use the application, 53.9% said they rarely or never use it to communicate with students
  • 16.9% of faculty said they have used Twitter but then stopped using it
  • 47.9% of faculty respondents have never Tweeted

How/Why are Faculty using Twitter?

  • To share information with peers (71.2% indicated that they use Twitter this way occasionally or frequently)
  • As a real-time news source (70.4% either occasionally or frequently use Twitter this way) 
  • Only 34.6% faculty have used Twitter as a learning tool in the classroom either “sometimes”, “occasionally”, or “frequently”

I’ve made this video blog post as a companion piece to this article. There are many quotes included in the report, both in favor of, or arguing against, the use of Twitter in educational settings. I’ve read some of these quotes in this vlog entry. 

As always, we would love to hear from readers about their experiences and opinions, so if you want to share something, please do! Do you think this report’s conclusions accurately reflect Twitter adoption trends across the wider sphere of academia? Let us know what you think.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
100 Ways to Teach With Twitter
Education Technology Twitter Post Weekly Summaries

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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