Social media for teacher professional learning

Teaching is forever an unfinished profession … never complete, never conquered, always being developed, always changing. Grundy & Robison, 2004

One thing that is emerging from my PhD research into teacher learning is the power of social media, Twitter in particular, as a professional learning tool and community.

For educators and researchers, Twitter means we can find like-minded individuals, even when those in our own organisations don’t share our passions or practices.

Social media connects us outside of our physical sphere – our schools, districts and countries – to professionals, thinkers and writers around the world who generate and share information, ideas, practices and activism which inspires, incites or affirms us.

Imagine my delight when global school change titan Andy Hargreaves responded to my first (ever) blog post. Here was social media linking me to one of education’s thought leaders whose work shapes my classroom teaching, my school leadership practice and my PhD research.

In 2013, Kathryn Holmes, Greg Preston, Kylie Shaw and Rachel Buchanan published a paper which found that “Twitter is a valuable conduit for accessing new and relevant educational resources on the internet and also as a viable means of social support for like-minded educators. The cost effective nature of the microblogging platform ensures that it can act as a medium for sustained professional development, while leaving the individual participants to control and take ownership of the learning.” So Twitter can be socially and intellectually supportive, and it can facilitate and drive sustained engaged learning which is owned by the individual.

Jon Tait explains Twitter’s role as professional development platform in his blog post and has designed this infographic to summarise Twitter uses for teachers.

JonTait_TwitterTeacherInfographic

As I move for the first time from content curation to content creation (this being my second-ever blog post), the functions of the professional social media world and those who engage in it are a point of reflection.  Who will read my words and see my images? Who will interact with my thinking and add their own? How might social media support, connect and educate me?