Teachers are using Twitter to learn. Many teachers have even reported that Twitter is their go-to for professional development. When I designed the research questions for my dissertation, not only did I look at how teachers were using Twitter, I wanted to know if they had any support from their admins for what they were learning and bringing back to their teaching.
The good news from my research study is that about two-thirds of teachers felt supported by their admins. They perceived supportive admins to be those who also were 1) active Twitter users and 2) encouraged teachers to share what they had learned. In some cases, teachers reported having district Twitter chats that encouraged teachers to participate in discussions and may have even provided incentives. Teachers also appreciated when their admins retweeted their tweets. However, some teachers may be more cautious about how they use Twitter because of the presence of their admins.
While most teachers reported having supportive admins, some felt that their admins wanted to maintain the status quo. Some teachers felt dismayed that their admins did not seem to care about what they learned online, partly because they did not seem to trust the information teachers were learning or they had little understanding of social media themselves.
Even though this research was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that admins have shifted their viewpoints regarding the use of social media to help teachers learn. This area of research could have implications for teacher professional development. Finding ways to formalize a learning experience via a Twitter chat or an exchange of ideas with experts could be valuable, especially for teachers who cannot meet in person, and who need to meet a certain number of PD hours.
Now that teachers have had an entire year in which they had to shift their teaching to a mix of remote, hybrid, and in-person, perhaps admins should reconsider their views if they were unsure about social media as a learning tool for teachers. Knowing that the use of the hashtags, #RemoteTeaching and #RemoteLearning, grew during the pandemic (Trust, Carpenter, Krutka, & Kimmons, 2020) shows the relevancy of Twitter as a place for teachers to go for information. For this reason, admins should be looking for ways to support their teachers on Twitter.
Trust, T., Carpenter, J.P., Krutka, D.G, & Kimmons, R. (2020). #RemoteTeaching & #RemoteLearning: Educator tweeting during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 28(2), 151-159. https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/216094/