Educators’ use of social media for informal
professional learning
Debbie Fucoloro, Ph.D.
International Society for Technol...
ABOUT ME
• Ph.D. in C & I, Saint Louis University, 2012
• B.A. & M.A.T. in Ed Tech, Webster University
• 20 total years in...
Computers are not being utilized as education
tools as expected.
Bauer and Kenton (2005), Toward Technology Integration in...
Overriding sentiment:
“It’s been 30 years since the advent of the personal
computer and we’re still struggling to get teac...
Purpose
Investigate educators who use social media for
informal professional learning.
What motivates them:
• to seek out ...
Importance of the Research
filling the gap in literature
http://globaltoynews.typepad.com/.a/6a0133ec87bd6d970b014e86e58ea...
So What?
- shed light on how to better support all
educators professionally
- nurture reluctant technology users
- encoura...
Conceptual Framework Evolution
1. How to encourage and support educators in
technology integration when planning
lessons?
...
Foundation of Conceptual Framework
• Paulo Freire – learning is a social act and
dialogue is the heart of education
Foundation of Conceptual Framework
ISTE Standards-S ISTE Standards-T ISTE Standards-C ISTE Standards-A ISTE Standards-CSE
Literature Review
• Adult Learning Theory
• Professional Development
• Personal Learning Network
“Friends educating each other”
Basil Yeaxlee, 1925
Adult Learning Theories
Self-directed
learning, desire
for control,
flexibility, and
feedback
• Inclusion (giving voice)
• Empowerment (belongingness)
• Opportunities to negotiate between
and across cultures
CoPs enable adults
to learn with and
from each other
Adult Learning
Adult Learning
Connectivism
focuses on the
amplification of
learning,
knowledge, and
understanding
through the
extension o...
Professional Development
Professional Development
• the community
concept (social
media) and
• the knowledge
aspect (access to
information) of
lear...
Personal Learning Networks
PLN = “friends educating each other” revived
Typical Teacher Network
by Alec Couros
The Networked Teacher
Socially Networked Teacher
New Paradigm Suggested
• Self-directed
• Differentiated
• Ongoing
• Job embedded
• Flexible
• Encourages self-analysis and...
New Paradigm
• PLNs should be validated as a powerful
professional development component
• Not: Traditional vs Informal
• ...
Research Questions
Q1 What are educators’ perceptions
and reported behaviors associated
with participation in informal, on...
Research Sub-Questions
Q1a motivation
Q1b types
Q1c specific
Q2 Do educator’s perceptions and
reported behaviors differ based on:
• current assignment
• years in education
• age
Resea...
Methodology
“Unless researchers first generate an accurate
description of an educational phenomenon as it
exists, they lac...
Instrumentation
• 1st Demographics
• 2nd Traditional Professional Development and
Technology Integration
• 3rd Using Socia...
• establish a baseline description of
knowledge regarding educators who use
social media for professional development
• la...
Variables
1. Current assignment – grade level, position,
subject area, and school setting
2. Years in education--categorie...
Population Sample
• Pre-K through higher education
• Teachers, administrators, librarians and media
specialists, specialis...
Population
• Snowball sampling method to access
approximately 16,900 educators via Twitter
and Nings
• 1,000 Twitter follo...
Findings
Demographic Sample
• 4,950 visited survey
• 147 began
• 14 dropped out before end of demographic
info and were excluded
• ...
Key Descriptive Findings
Respondent
Demographics
Average Age
43 years-old
Respondent
Demographics
Respondent
Demographics
Respondent
Demographics
Respondent
Demographics
Respondent
Demographics
Findings
Favorite social media application to use
for informal professional development:
http://bettergraphic.com/free-and...
Findings
Open-ended Themes - Why Twitter?
• Community
• Convenience
• Sharing
• Informal learning
• Professional improveme...
Open-ended Themes - Why Twitter?
Community & Convenience
“It is the modern equivalent of the 18th century
coffeehouse—a pl...
Open-ended Themes - Why Twitter?
Community & Convenience
Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter?
Informal Learning & Sharing
“I have created a PLN that I feel meets my needs
by providing...
Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter?
Informal Learning & Sharing
Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter?
Professional Improvement
“I have developed more as a professional since
participating in ...
Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter?
Professional Improvement
Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter?
Isolation Reduction*
“The largest difference is that I no longer feel
alone in the classr...
Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter?
Isolation Reduction*
Findings
How well did each of the following prepare you
to make effective use of technology for
instruction?
*Remember average age
is 43 years old.
“School districts need to provide opportunities for teachers to find
professional development that matches their needs, no...
"I learn more in an
hour long Twitter chat
than most full day
workshops I've
attended."
Key Comparative Findings
Administrators vs Classroom Teachers
http://leadershipfreak.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/disagreeement.jpg
Current Assignment - Position
• Administrators perceived that employers used
more methods to support technology
integratio...
Yes
No


{
"Social media has filled a gap in my professional development
between the required district pd and the individualized lear...
As age increased:
• confidence using technology decreased
• PD activities made respondents feel more
prepared
• use of soc...
Other Relevant Findings
Findings
• Educators (99%) believed they should take
personal responsibility for continued
professional growth and improve...
"It has allowed
me to find my
passion for
teaching again
and I do not
know where I
would be
without it."
"Being able to
participate in
conferences that I
can't attend in
person is simply
mind-blowing!"
"Being connected with
educators in a variety
of settings and
content areas allow
me to find resources I
might not otherwis...
"Establishing my PLN
has opened up new
worlds to integrate
tech and reexamine
my teaching goals."
"I believe that
through the use of
social media a
teacher can greatly
increase their
development/advanc
ement as a
profess...
"I am on the
computer every
night searching for
new technologies to
use in my classroom
and learning from
my PLN."
?
"I wish my district
acknowledged all
the time I spend
learning via
informal
professional
development
networks such as
Tw...
New Paradigm Suggested
• Self-directed
• Differentiated
• Ongoing
• Job embedded
• Flexible
• Encourages self-analysis and...
New Paradigm
• PLNs should be validated as a powerful
professional development component
• Not: Traditional vs Informal
• ...
Key Recommendations & Implications
• Researchers
• Educational leaders
• Teachers
Key Recommendations to
Future Researchers
1. Examine successful programs currently
supporting the use of, and giving credi...
Key Recommendations to
Future Researchers
2. Is there a correlation between participation in
informal, online professional...
Key Recommendations to
Future Researchers
3. Conduct longitudinal studies to investigate:
- quality of teacher education p...
Key Implications for
Education Leaders
1. Make technology integration a priority.
Focus on sound pedagogy and lesson
plann...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/4138613146/
Key Implications for
Education Leaders
2. Allow educators input regarding professional
development:
- differentiated
- sel...
Key Implications for
Education Leaders
3. Provide professional development that is
ongoing and job embedded.
4. Encourage ...
Key Implications for
Education Leaders
5. Explore ways that would support, honor, and
give credit for time spent in inform...
Key Implications for
Education Leaders
7. Teacher education programs should focus on
teaching pedagogical aspects of effec...
Implications for
Educators
1. Participate in informal, online professional
development by starting your own PLN built
on y...
Implications for
Educators
3. Advocate for the legitimacy and recognition
of time spent participating in informal, online
...
Implications for
Educators
5. Be bold and share what you learn in these
environments and encourage others to join in
the c...
The next best thing to being wise
oneself is to live in a circle of those
who are. ~ C. S. Lewis
http://sociability.ca/blog/thanks-21st-century/
Find me at:
Twitter: @debbiefuco
Blog: The Educators’ Café
Email: debbie.fucoloro@gmail.com
Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning
Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning
Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning
Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning
Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning
Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning
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Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning

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  • Literature review found little on the topic
    Those studies that were available were conducted on closed or managed networks constructed for research purposes
    Lack of in-depth research available on topic of study
  • How do we encourage and support educators to incorporate best practices in technology integration when planning lessons?
    Can educator use of social media for informal professional development increase technology integration and, in turn, student learning?
    However, first it is important to learn more about educators who currently use social media for informal professional development.
  • Literature Review:
    Adult Learning Theory
    Professional Development
    PLN
  • We need to take a step back and consider how things have changed.
  • RQ2
  • Demographic sample
  • Average age – 43 years-old
  • Why Twitter?
    Open-ended themes: community, convenience, sharing, informal learning, professional improvement, isolation reduction
  • Open-ended Quotes
    Twitter – Community
    “It is the modern equivalent of the 18th century coffeehouse—a place teaming with ideas, opinions, research, discussion, collaboration, and bold vision.”
    “…it allows me to get ideas and feedback almost instantly…”

  • Open-ended Quotes Twitter – Improve practice
    “I have developed more as a professional since participating in #edchat than I did in the last five years.”
  • Conflict worth exploring
  • Social media helped me: Improve my ability to plan technology enhanced lessons/projects.

    "Establishing my PLN has opened up new worlds to integrate tech and reexamine my teaching goals."
  • My school/district/campus gives me continuing education credit for the time I spend participating in informal professional development.
    "I wish my district acknowledged all the time I spend learning via informal professional development networks such as Twitter.”
    Bottom line. Why not? How? Badges? Proof of learning?
  • Future researchers
  • Edu Leaders
    Differentiated
    Allows for self-direction
    Unconference and edcamp models. cMOOCs, Twitter chats and/or GHOs
  • Educators' use of social media for informal professional learning

    1. 1. Educators’ use of social media for informal professional learning Debbie Fucoloro, Ph.D. International Society for Technology in Education Conference June 29, 2014
    2. 2. ABOUT ME • Ph.D. in C & I, Saint Louis University, 2012 • B.A. & M.A.T. in Ed Tech, Webster University • 20 total years in education • Classroom teacher – • 3rd, 4th, 6th S.S., 7th Sci., and digital video to middle schoolers • Instructional Technology Specialist • Currently, Technology Coordinator
    3. 3. Computers are not being utilized as education tools as expected. Bauer and Kenton (2005), Toward Technology Integration in the Schools: Why It Isn’t Happening
    4. 4. Overriding sentiment: “It’s been 30 years since the advent of the personal computer and we’re still struggling to get teachers and administrators to integrate digital technologies into their daily work in ways that are substantive and meaningful.” ~ Scott McLeod (2011)
    5. 5. Purpose Investigate educators who use social media for informal professional learning. What motivates them: • to seek out and connect with other educators • to advance their professional learning • on their own time
    6. 6. Importance of the Research filling the gap in literature http://globaltoynews.typepad.com/.a/6a0133ec87bd6d970b014e86e58ea8970d-500wi
    7. 7. So What? - shed light on how to better support all educators professionally - nurture reluctant technology users - encouraging and mentoring their participation in these environments - increasing their ability to use best practices in technology integration in order to positively impact student learning
    8. 8. Conceptual Framework Evolution 1. How to encourage and support educators in technology integration when planning lessons? 2. Can use of social media for informal professional development increase technology integration and student learning? 3. However, first it is important to learn more about educators who currently use social media for informal professional development.
    9. 9. Foundation of Conceptual Framework • Paulo Freire – learning is a social act and dialogue is the heart of education
    10. 10. Foundation of Conceptual Framework ISTE Standards-S ISTE Standards-T ISTE Standards-C ISTE Standards-A ISTE Standards-CSE
    11. 11. Literature Review • Adult Learning Theory • Professional Development • Personal Learning Network
    12. 12. “Friends educating each other” Basil Yeaxlee, 1925 Adult Learning Theories
    13. 13. Self-directed learning, desire for control, flexibility, and feedback
    14. 14. • Inclusion (giving voice) • Empowerment (belongingness) • Opportunities to negotiate between and across cultures
    15. 15. CoPs enable adults to learn with and from each other Adult Learning
    16. 16. Adult Learning Connectivism focuses on the amplification of learning, knowledge, and understanding through the extension of a personal network via social media
    17. 17. Professional Development
    18. 18. Professional Development • the community concept (social media) and • the knowledge aspect (access to information) of learning
    19. 19. Personal Learning Networks
    20. 20. PLN = “friends educating each other” revived
    21. 21. Typical Teacher Network by Alec Couros
    22. 22. The Networked Teacher
    23. 23. Socially Networked Teacher
    24. 24. New Paradigm Suggested • Self-directed • Differentiated • Ongoing • Job embedded • Flexible • Encourages self-analysis and personal reflection
    25. 25. New Paradigm • PLNs should be validated as a powerful professional development component • Not: Traditional vs Informal • But a mix of: traditional & emerging, formal & informal
    26. 26. Research Questions Q1 What are educators’ perceptions and reported behaviors associated with participation in informal, online professional development networks?
    27. 27. Research Sub-Questions Q1a motivation Q1b types Q1c specific
    28. 28. Q2 Do educator’s perceptions and reported behaviors differ based on: • current assignment • years in education • age Research Questions
    29. 29. Methodology “Unless researchers first generate an accurate description of an educational phenomenon as it exists, they lack a firm basis for explaining or changing it.” ~ Gall, Gall & Borg
    30. 30. Instrumentation • 1st Demographics • 2nd Traditional Professional Development and Technology Integration • 3rd Using Social Media/Networks to Meet Professional Development Needs
    31. 31. • establish a baseline description of knowledge regarding educators who use social media for professional development • lay the groundwork for further in-depth studies based on the findings
    32. 32. Variables 1. Current assignment – grade level, position, subject area, and school setting 2. Years in education--categories included 1-10 years, 11-20 years, and 21+ years 3. Respondent’s age included a drop-down box for exact age
    33. 33. Population Sample • Pre-K through higher education • Teachers, administrators, librarians and media specialists, specialists (Art, Music, P.E., Foreign Language) • Instructional support personnel (Technology Specialists, Special Ed., Counselors, Gifted Ed., Language acquisition) • Education industry (retirees, consultants, bloggers, authors)
    34. 34. Population • Snowball sampling method to access approximately 16,900 educators via Twitter and Nings • 1,000 Twitter followers • 10,000 members of Educator’s PLN Ning • 6,000 members of ISTE Community Ning
    35. 35. Findings
    36. 36. Demographic Sample • 4,950 visited survey • 147 began • 14 dropped out before end of demographic info and were excluded • 133 participants
    37. 37. Key Descriptive Findings
    38. 38. Respondent Demographics Average Age 43 years-old
    39. 39. Respondent Demographics
    40. 40. Respondent Demographics
    41. 41. Respondent Demographics
    42. 42. Respondent Demographics
    43. 43. Respondent Demographics
    44. 44. Findings Favorite social media application to use for informal professional development: http://bettergraphic.com/free-and-paid-fonts-used-in-logos-of-popular- brands/
    45. 45. Findings Open-ended Themes - Why Twitter? • Community • Convenience • Sharing • Informal learning • Professional improvement • Isolation reduction
    46. 46. Open-ended Themes - Why Twitter? Community & Convenience “It is the modern equivalent of the 18th century coffeehouse—a place teaming with ideas, opinions, research, discussion, collaboration, and bold vision.” http://blog.songcastmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/twitter-community-600.jpg
    47. 47. Open-ended Themes - Why Twitter? Community & Convenience
    48. 48. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Informal Learning & Sharing “I have created a PLN that I feel meets my needs by providing resources, ideas, and challenges to improve learning for my students.” http://images.wisegeek.com/people-independently-working-in-a-cafe.jpg
    49. 49. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Informal Learning & Sharing
    50. 50. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Professional Improvement “I have developed more as a professional since participating in #edchat than I did in the last five years.” http://appliedsimplicity.org/files/u2/group_3w.jpg
    51. 51. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Professional Improvement
    52. 52. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Isolation Reduction* “The largest difference is that I no longer feel alone in the classroom. I think it is hard for those outside of education to realize how isolated teachers were before social media.”
    53. 53. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Isolation Reduction*
    54. 54. Findings How well did each of the following prepare you to make effective use of technology for instruction?
    55. 55. *Remember average age is 43 years old.
    56. 56. “School districts need to provide opportunities for teachers to find professional development that matches their needs, not a cookie cutter approach that everyone is in the same place.”
    57. 57. "I learn more in an hour long Twitter chat than most full day workshops I've attended."
    58. 58. Key Comparative Findings
    59. 59. Administrators vs Classroom Teachers http://leadershipfreak.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/disagreeement.jpg
    60. 60. Current Assignment - Position • Administrators perceived that employers used more methods to support technology integration than classroom teachers. • Administrators had a more positive view of the effectiveness of PD in educational technology provided by school, district, or campus than classroom teachers.
    61. 61. Yes No   {
    62. 62. "Social media has filled a gap in my professional development between the required district pd and the individualized learning I want."
    63. 63. As age increased: • confidence using technology decreased • PD activities made respondents feel more prepared • use of social media decreased
    64. 64. Other Relevant Findings
    65. 65. Findings • Educators (99%) believed they should take personal responsibility for continued professional growth and improvement.
    66. 66. "It has allowed me to find my passion for teaching again and I do not know where I would be without it."
    67. 67. "Being able to participate in conferences that I can't attend in person is simply mind-blowing!"
    68. 68. "Being connected with educators in a variety of settings and content areas allow me to find resources I might not otherwise know of."
    69. 69. "Establishing my PLN has opened up new worlds to integrate tech and reexamine my teaching goals."
    70. 70. "I believe that through the use of social media a teacher can greatly increase their development/advanc ement as a professional."
    71. 71. "I am on the computer every night searching for new technologies to use in my classroom and learning from my PLN."
    72. 72. ? "I wish my district acknowledged all the time I spend learning via informal professional development networks such as Twitter."
    73. 73. New Paradigm Suggested • Self-directed • Differentiated • Ongoing • Job embedded • Flexible • Encourages self-analysis and personal reflection
    74. 74. New Paradigm • PLNs should be validated as a powerful professional development component • Not: Traditional vs Informal • But a mix of: traditional & emerging, formal & informal
    75. 75. Key Recommendations & Implications • Researchers • Educational leaders • Teachers
    76. 76. Key Recommendations to Future Researchers 1. Examine successful programs currently supporting the use of, and giving credit to and recognizing educators for participation in informal, online professional development networks.
    77. 77. Key Recommendations to Future Researchers 2. Is there a correlation between participation in informal, online professional development and: - Improved practice - Increased student learning - Increased technology integration - Increased confidence in tech integration and lesson planning - Increased feeling of belongingness—less isolation - Increased satisfaction with personal professional development
    78. 78. Key Recommendations to Future Researchers 3. Conduct longitudinal studies to investigate: - quality of teacher education programs - employer-provided professional development on the integration of technology for instruction
    79. 79. Key Implications for Education Leaders 1. Make technology integration a priority. Focus on sound pedagogy and lesson planning rather than just tools and application use.
    80. 80. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/4138613146/
    81. 81. Key Implications for Education Leaders 2. Allow educators input regarding professional development: - differentiated - self-directed - example – unconference and edcamp models, cMOOCs, Twitter chats and/or GHOs
    82. 82. Key Implications for Education Leaders 3. Provide professional development that is ongoing and job embedded. 4. Encourage (don’t demand) participation in informal professional development networks and support development of PLNs.
    83. 83. Key Implications for Education Leaders 5. Explore ways that would support, honor, and give credit for time spent in informal, online professional development. 6. Administrators need to lead by example by modeling effective use of technology—for example, in communicating with students, parents, and staff.
    84. 84. Key Implications for Education Leaders 7. Teacher education programs should focus on teaching pedagogical aspects of effective technology integration.
    85. 85. Implications for Educators 1. Participate in informal, online professional development by starting your own PLN built on your needs and passions—start small, find mentors, be patient. 1. Take responsibility for your own professional growth and improvement.
    86. 86. Implications for Educators 3. Advocate for the legitimacy and recognition of time spent participating in informal, online professional development networks. 4. Advocate for professional development that is self-directed, differentiated, ongoing, and job embedded.
    87. 87. Implications for Educators 5. Be bold and share what you learn in these environments and encourage others to join in the conversation. 6. Model lifelong learning by staying as up to date as possible regarding technology integration.
    88. 88. The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are. ~ C. S. Lewis
    89. 89. http://sociability.ca/blog/thanks-21st-century/
    90. 90. Find me at: Twitter: @debbiefuco Blog: The Educators’ Café Email: debbie.fucoloro@gmail.com

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