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Ian Guest

Professional development … in 140 characters?

Twitter and teacher learning - process and progress.


Discipline/professional area


Outline of research project

The educational reform agendas which began in the late 1980s continue apace. The changing school landscape, transformed curricula and remodelled assessment structures all aim to secure improved educational outcomes for pupils. The quality of teachers and teaching will prove a significant factor in coping with and capitalising on these changes; consequently teachers will need to be supported by high quality, sustained professional development. (Darling-Hammond et al, 2009; Opfer and Pedder, 2011).

Teachers worldwide have made bold claims that Twitter allows them access to powerful professional learning opportunities. My research seeks to establish how this can be achieved and what the outcomes are for those involved, given the constraints of the 140 character limit. A digital ethnographic approach will be taken which will be conducted largely online and will involve participant observation, semi-structured interviews, participant activity self-reports and blog interviews. Given the degree to which technology mediates both the learning activity of the teachers and that of the research, adopting a sociomaterial sensibility should yield fruitful insights.

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