School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Jerry Woodbridge


Twitter, Professional Development, Online Social Networks


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


This transcendental phenomenological study explored the perception of 21-29-year-old public school teachers’ use of Twitter in their professional development. However, while teachers in the 21-29-year-old age range were part of the demographic dominating online social media use in general, they did not use online social networks for professional development purposes as much as their older peers (Carpenter & Krutka, 2014; Visser et al., 2014). While professional development was important for improving teachers’ classroom performance and student achievement (Coldwell, 2017), traditional professional development often was ineffective in changing classroom instruction (Carpenter & Krutka, 2014; Dingle, Brownwell, Leko, Boardman, & Haager, 2011; Harcourt & Jones, 2016; Visser, Evering, & Barrett, 2014). Also, lack of relative professional development was cited as a reason teachers leave the profession within a few years of joining (Barry & Shields, 2017). Using Twitter for professional development was used by older teachers effectively, but younger teachers did not use it for potentially helpful professional development (Carpenter & Krutka, 2014; Visser et al., 2014). The theoretical frameworks of this study include sociocultural learning (Vygotsky, 1978), social networking theory (Moreno, 1946), and communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Participants selected were six licensed K-12 public school teachers aged 21-29. The setting was a South Carolina suburban public middle school. Data collection methods included interviews, focus groups, and observation of Twitter use after participation in a professional development session on using Twitter in education. Data analysis included horizonalization, reduction and elimination, clustering, and thematizing recommended by Moustakas (1994) to develop themes to understand how teachers age 21-29 perceive using online social networks for professional development.