Engaging Teachers in Professional Learning using Social Media

Today, I had the pleasure of presenting at a conference co-sponsored by the Ontario Teacher Federation and the Ontario Association of Deans in Education (#otfoade). The theme this year was on Social Media and Teacher Learning. It was a wonderful conference, not only because it was well-organized, but because it brought together teachers, administrators, and researchers all under the same roof. This led to some interesting conversations; rarely do educators have opportunities to connect like this.

My presentation addressed the issues of engaging teachers in professional learning using social media. This is based off of our experience at Queen’s in enacting a Twitter blended-learning professional learning community for learning classroom assessment.

In this presentation, I discuss some of the problematics around contemporary teacher education posed by various constraints–time, $, personnel, physical space–and consider how social media, as a form of disruptive innovation, might help redress these constraints in ways that open up new spaces that might be conducive to teacher learning.

I report on the lessons learned from a case study on engaging preservice teachers in using social media to develop their pedagogy in practicing contemporary classroom assessment in an integrated fashion. Using these findings to spring-board the discussion, I offered what emerged to be two particular dilemma facing those trying to engage teachers in professional learning using social media: 1) legitimizing social media to those involved in the learning process, and 2) (re)considering what concrete strategies might help promote teacher learning over social media.

This presentation was given at the Ontario Teacher Federation/Ontario Association of Deans in Education 2012 Conference, Faculty of Education, UOIT, on February, 4, 2012.