Twitter as a Professional Development Platform Among U.S. Physical Education Teachers

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate how U.S. physical educators who actively engage with professional content on Twitter view it as a platform for continuing professional development. Method: Thirty-two U.S.-based physical educators participated in semistructured telephone interviews. Most of these teachers were White (n = 29; 91.00%) and taught in elementary schools (n = 26; 81.25%). The data were coded inductively and deductively, using role socialization theory as the guiding framework. Results: Four themes were generated: (a) socialization into Twitter takes time and is often encouraged by existing members; (b) socialization through Twitter focuses on improving practices via the sharing of resources; (c) everyone has a voice on Twitter, but the content requires critical appraisal; and (d) teachers create a community on Twitter that addresses marginalization and isolation. Discussion/Conclusion: The participants used Twitter to develop a sense of professional community and reduce perceptions of isolation. Twitter has the potential to support the improvement of practice through grassroots continuing professional development.

Richards, Kinder, Badshah, and Cushing are with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA. Killian is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Richards (karichar@illinois.edu) is corresponding author.
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