Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership

Administrators’ Professional Learning via Twitter: The Dissonance Between Beliefs to Actions

Part of this job means earning to take the sting of “rejection” as a positive opportunity to learn. One way to do that is to look at comments from peer reviewers and to see them for what they are: scholarly gifts. People took lots of time to think along with the manuscript and to consider how to push you toward excellence.

In other words, my latest article on administrators’ Twitter use got rejected, but the feedback was great. I’ve already turned around a new draft and resubmitted it elsewhere. The main issue? Reviewers felt that I was being too optimistic/too gung ho in how I was describing the Personal Learning Network phenomenon. They felt that a more circumspect position would help future readers evaluate both sides of the story better. They were right. In the back of my head, I’d been feeling obligated to honor my study participants’ enthusiasm for Twitter, and that made it harder to tell a more balanced story. Leaders are enthusiastic about learning via Twitter, but it’s hard to figure out what they’re actually learning (or doing at their schools based upon that knowledge).

Here’s the new abstract:

Although there has been increasing optimism about the potential for Web 2.0 platforms such as Twitter to support educators’ professional learning, it is yet unclear whether such promises hold true. School administrators are often prone to isolation in their work and may benefit from increased professional ties. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to explore school administrators’ participation on Twitter. This study draws upon interview and Twitter data collected from 17 school administrators from throughout the United States and Canada. The findings from this study present a paradox. On one hand, school administrators were highly enthusiastic about Twitter’s benefits to their sense of belonging and their professional learning. On the other hand, administrator’s Twitter messages were limited in their relevance to the work of school leadership. Further, real outcomes at schools from Twitter use were relatively few. Accordingly, this study raises important questions about issues including: school technology leadership; the use of Web 2.0 for professional learning; and the benefits and costs of being connected via social media.


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This entry was posted on November 4, 2014 by and tagged , , .