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.
In this research study, Twitter was used to gather a population of teachers who leverage Twitter as a professional development platform. Researchers were required to use the platform for the survey as they found it hard to find enough of a population to support such a research study in a face to face environment because, at the time of this study, the number of teachers using Twitter for professional learning was the minority in most schools. 324 k-12 teachers participated in an online survey that allowed them to explain their use of the platform for professional growth. The survey found that the majority of the respondents utilize Twitter to participate in a Professional Learning Network that provides them instructional ideas, materials for reflections, and support from fellow educators.
The survey for this study was sent out on Twitter. While this may not be the best way to find a diverse sampling of teachers, it was the most viable way for the researchers. This also made it impossible for the researchers to determine the response rate for this study as the post was Tweeted and reTweeted a number of times and there is no way to know how many people saw it but did not answer. Those who answered the survey self-reported that they were above average in their use of technology. While this may be true, it is hard to verify this fact for any of the users.
Even with a few limitations, this study provides a good starting point for investigating the use of social media as a personalized professional development platform. This study was completed in 2014. It is a fair assumption to make that there are more users now than there were then. Using this study, researchers can continue to dig into the impact Twitter and other social media have had on professional development opportunities for teachers. Perhaps we are at the point that finding more Twitter users in a single school is more likely than it was in 2014 allowing for a study on a specific population to be done. It would also be interesting to see if this survey were sent out now what number of responses would come back just by posting on Twitter.