Date of Award

Spring 2016

Type

Dissertation

Major

Doctor of Education

Department

Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

Abstract

Social media has revolutionized technologies used today. While social media was originally developed for personal use, it has also permeated the professional world. Teachers are among those who are embracing social media for professional purposes. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate how and why kindergarten through twelfth grade public school teachers were using social media for professional development. The participants were 78 teachers from a rural school district in the southeastern United States. All participants completed a social media questionnaire, and the researcher conducted fifteen individual interviews and a focus group interview for follow-up. Data analysis revealed 96% (n=75) of the participants used social media for professional development. A majority of participants, 88% (n=66), used social media websites as their preferred application to meet professional development needs. Participants indicated they were using social media: to seek out new instructional strategies and ideas, 88% (n=70); obtain resources for the classroom, 87% (n=68); further professional knowledge, 76% (n=59); deliver instructional content, 63% (n=49); and collaborate with other teachers, 50% (n=39). In addition, a major finding from the study was a majority of participants, 56% (n=34), rely solely on their personal judgment to assess the credibility of information obtained through social media sources.

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