Adoption of Technology and Social Media in the Post-Secondary Agricultural Classroom Before and as a Result of COVID-19
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Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) disrupted daily life on a global scale. Arguably, those involved in education were among the most affected by COVID-19 as mandated school closures demanded an abrupt shift to online classrooms. To maintain continuity, educators were required to integrate technology and new methods of communication into their classrooms, especially for disciplines with applied concepts, such as agricultural sciences. The diffusion of innovation theory provides the framework for our study, which evaluated post-secondary agricultural faculty adoption and plans for continued use of social media for teaching as a result of COVID-19. Agricultural faculty reported an increase in the use and frequency of use of computers, smartphones, or tablets for teaching as a result of COVID-19. We did not observe the same increase for most social media channels (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter); however, there were major shifts in the use of YouTube and LinkedIn as a result of the pandemic. When asked about plans for use after COVID-19, faculty indicated they would be using social media in their classrooms where they were not before, especially YouTube and LinkedIn. These data indicate COVID-19 impacted post-secondary agricultural faculty use of technology and social media for teaching with potential long-term impacts.