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Title: Professional development in 140 characters? Analyzing Twitter as a professional learning platform for science teachers.

This mixed-methods observational study analyzes Advanced Placement (AP) Biology teachers’ engagement in microblogging for their professional development (PD). Data from three hashtag-based Twitter communities, #apbiochat, #apbioleaderacad, and #apbioleaderacademy (121 users; 2,253 tweets), are analyzed using methodological approaches including educational data mining, qualitative two-cycle content analysis, social network analysis, linear and logistic regression analyses, and hierarchical linear modeling. Results indicate that Twitter adheres to standards of high-quality PD and has the potential to complement more traditional PD activities. Notably, Twitter’s non-hierarchical leadership affords shared content creation and distribution. Additionally, Twitter allows for different temporal participation patterns and supports the personalization of learning experiences aligned to teachers’ needs and preferences. Furthermore, teachers frame their interactions on Twitter positively, thus, creating a supportive environment for professional learning that might reduce teachers’ perceived isolation. Therefore, policy makers and school leaders should feel empowered to encourage teachers to use microblogging complementary to other PD activities.
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American Educational Research Association
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation