Do school administrators support teachers’ learning via Twitter?

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.

To read the full article: Perceptions of Administrators’ Support for Grades K-5 Teachers’ Professional Learning with Twitter: What Does It Look Like?


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.

Featured Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash

An Educator’s Interest in Twitter: The Beginning

Twitter is a popular place for many educators. In 2017, when I was planning my dissertation, I realized that I wanted to know more about how teachers were using Twitter and what they were learning.

Ultimately, my dissertation topic explored how elementary schoolteachers use Twitter for professional development. I found that teachers reported Twitter provided them with a supportive community, new ideas to try out in their classrooms, and how to integrate digital tools into their teaching.

Why Twitter?

I first joined Twitter in 2010 at the recommendation of a colleague. My colleague was an active Twitter user who had connections all over the world. At the time, she was organizing a conference and it seemed as though everything came together from her connections on Twitter.

Initially, I just lurked and read others’ tweets. Then, I came across the hashtag, #MysterySkype. I was fascinated! Here were tweets from teachers looking to connect their classes in a geographic guessing game through Skype calls. I definitely wanted to be a part of it so I exchanged tweets with some teachers and we scheduled Skype calls with our classes.

#MysterySkype was my first realization of the power of Twitter to expand education beyond the four walls of the classroom. I became hooked. One #MysterySkype led to another and another. Soon, the first thing my 3rd and 4th grade students would ask me as they entered our computer lab was “Do we have a #MysterySkype today?” The cheers and excitement that resulted when I said “yes” belied the power of engagement in this new activity.

While engagement is not the only ingredient for student learning, participating in #MysterySkype activated other ingredients as well: motivation, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. With #MysterySkype, the goal is to ask yes/no geographical questions in order to figure out the other students’ location. The inherent “unknown” of the other students’ location provides the motivation, narrowing down which questions to ask involves problem solving and critical thinking, and working as a class involves collaboration. What more could a teacher ask for in her classroom?

My interest in how teachers are using and learning from Twitter is still fresh. I will post summaries of my research on this blog. Here is a link to my article published in the journal Professional Development in Education.

Stay tuned for more.

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