About a week and a half ago, I sent a twtpoll (Twitter poll) around my Twitter network asking educators on Twitter how they would describe their school.

To be honest, it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.

What spurred the poll were the last few weeks’ #edchats on Twitter.  (For an explanation of what #edchat is, see this previous post or this post by my friend Shelly Terrell).

One of the great things about the discussions on #edchat is that you can connect with educators from all over the world who teach in many different kinds of schools as well as non-educators with technology integration roles or an interest in education who come from many different backgrounds and viewpoints.

This causes some healthy debate at times.

 

With so many people coming from so many backgrounds, countries, schools and mindsets, we are bound to have disagreements along with our shared values about education and teaching children.  While it’s fairly easy to see where someone is from as well as their mindset (aka their tweets) through Twitter,  I began to wonder about what these varied backgrounds and schools looked like.

How representative are we of teachers as a whole?

I had so many assumptions about my fellow teachers on Twitter. From the conversations I’ve had, I assumed that most were from small or average-size suburban schools with a good amount of resources. I have found a few teachers who are urban teachers, a few teachers who work in districts with limited resources, as well as some teachers who work in rural areas. This variety of people has taught me a lot, but those assumptions were still there.

Hence, the poll.

Here are the results:

(if the graphic doesn’t load well, try this link to the poll)


It turns out that many of my assumptions were true.  Most of the 122 teachers who participated were from suburban schools of average size with moderate resources. What really surprised me was that very few (5%) of the teachers came from private schools, and that even fewer (1%) came from charter schools.


This was the most striking part of the poll.  I began wondering what this implies about how technology is or isn’t being used in these kinds of schools.  Or is this merely due to the fact that these schools make up a smaller percentage of the overall school population?  Still, with five out 122 educators stating that they work in charter schools, there has to be some kind of implication there.  After all, charter schools are popping up everywhere and have been touted by Arnie Duncan as the “wave of the future.”

Perhaps those who work in charter schools are more isolated by nature?  They are made up of a small community focused around a particular theme or goal, so maybe educators in these schools are not exposed to educators outside of their small network as often.  Or perhaps, with fewer initiatives shoved down their throats, they are less exposed to new trends and fads in education like other, larger public schools (like mine).

The fact that most Twitter educators work in suburban schools with moderate resources also has implications.  Can this gap on Twitter be aligned with the achievement gap that exists between urban or rural schools and suburban schools?  Are teachers in suburban areas provided with better professional development?  Does this disparity have to do with leadership in these schools? 

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment!

4 Comments

  1. 2ndgradetchr

    Reply

    Charter Schools do seem to be popping up everywhere, but with my experience, the teachers working there tend to have the same outlook as most teachers–they want to get in the classroom, teach and make a difference. My colleagues and I are constantly reaching out into the community and finding new resources. I just haven't convinced the rest of them to get on twitter yet 🙂

  2. Mary Beth Hertz

    Reply

    Karyn,

    Of course you guys have the same outlook! Often you have a better chance at succeeding in making a difference than those of us in huge, mismanaged public schools that lack vision, cohesion and organization. I've only managed to get one or two of my colleagues on Twitter, so I understand. I still wonder why it is that these suburban teachers in public schools are more open or more encouraged (?) to use Twitter…..hmmm…..

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