18 SES 08, Technology and Social Networking in Teacher Education and Physical Education
Teachers are increasingly using Social Networking Sites (SNSs) for self-directed professional learning (Visser et al., 2014). Moving beyond two-way conversations inherent in emails, SNSs have the capacity to form communities (King, 2012) and act as communities of practice (CoP)(Wesley, 2013). However, little is known about the characteristics of such communities or how they impact learning and practice (Carpenter &Krutka, 2014). This paper explores the characteristics of an online Twitter-based community and how different physical education practitioners were supported in their engagement and learning. Nearly 2,000 tweets were ‘harvested’ from two separate #pechats occurring across five time zones. Participants included #pechat moderators, teachers, teacher educators, pre-service teachers, and prospective pre-service teachers. Five moderators and 15 participants, from different international contexts and with varying levels of engagement, participated in in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed through constant comparative analysis. Analysis identified three themes: Engagement, Direction, and Shared Practices. Engagement (i.e. tweeting) was related to expertise, social acceptance, and confidence. Participants with a high level of posts (50+) were established community members. Those with the least tweets (0-5) were newcomers and prospective teachers who ‘lurked’ (Preece, et al., 2004) due to feeling they had little to offer. Direction was dependent on moderator’s tweets. Moderators challenged participants (“what do you mean”) and shared their perceptions (“my STs [students] said…”) to encourage participants to share transferable practices (“we use e-portfolios”). Participants created shared practices they could “take forward into my lessons”. SNSs create opportunities to develop full and legitimate peripheral participation in a CoP. Drawing on peripherality, 'lurking' affords the lurker an "approximation of full participation" (Wenger, 1998, p. 100) by lessened risk and imitation. To better understand how SNSs form authentic CoPs that can enhance practice we need to engage in an ongoing exploration of SNSs use.
Carpenter, J. P., & Krutka, D.G. (2014). How and why educators use twitter: a survey of the field. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46, 414-434. King, K.P. (2012). Professional learning in unlikely spaces: social media and virtual communities as professional development. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 6, 40-46. Preece, J., Nonnecke, B., & Andrews, D. (2004). The top five reasons for lurking: improving community experiences for everyone. Computers in Human Behavior, 20, 201-223. Visser, R.D., Evering, L.C., & Barrett, D.E. (2014).#TwitterforTeachers: the implications of Twitter as a self-directed professional development tool for K-12 teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(4), 396-413. Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice; Learning, Meaning and Identity (UK, Cambridge University Press). Wesley, P.M. (2013). Investigating the community of practice of world language educators on Twitter. Journal of Teacher Education, 64, 305-318.
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