Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements
 

A Decade of Research on K-12 Teaching and Teacher Learning with Social Media: Insights on the State of the Field


by Christine Greenhow, Sarah M. Galvin, Diana L. Brandon & Emilia Askari - 2020

Background and Context: The increasingly widespread use of social media to expand one’s social connections is a relatively new but important phenomenon that has implications for teaching, learning, and teachers’ professional knowledge and development in the 21st century. Educational research in this area is expanding, but further investigation is necessary to better determine how to best support teachers in their professional development, collaboration, and classroom teaching. Prior literature reviews have focused extensively on higher education settings or particular platforms or platform types (e.g., Facebook, microblogging). This article provides needed insights into K–12 settings and encompasses work from a variety of social media types. We describe a systematic review of more than a decade of educational research from various countries to present the state of the field in K–12 teachers’ use of social media for teaching and professional learning across various platforms.

Research Questions: To define social media’s potentially beneficial roles in teaching and learning, we must first take an in-depth look at teachers’ current social media practices. Toward this end, we approached our review with the following research question: How are social media perceived and used by K–12 teachers for their teaching or professional learning, and with what impacts on teachers’ practices?

Research Design: Guided by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) established standards for rigor and quality in systematic literature reviews, this article reviews empirical research to examine how social media are perceived and used by K–12 teachers with what impacts on teachers’ practices.

Findings: We find that social media features offer several benefits for helping teachers fulfill their goals for classroom teaching, including enhancing student engagement, community connections, and teacher–student interactions, but these affordances come with challenges that must be navigated. The literature also suggests that social media features provide benefits for teachers’ professional learning within both formal professional development programs and informal learning networks.

Conclusions: Implications of this literature review for future research and the design of educational practices are discussed in the final section. Among our conclusions are calls for more data triangulation between teachers’ and students’ learning and experiences on social media, more attention to teachers’ observational behaviors on social media, and further exploration of how social media facilitates interplay between teachers’ formal and informal learning.

Social media and cloud computing are nearly ubiquitous in informal learning settings around the world. Many learners regularly communicate in these spaces to share resources, ideas, and interests. Globally, people are increasingly turning to social media for real-time information and connection in their everyday lives. For instance, approximately 2 1/2 billion people, or one third of the world’s population, are using social network sites across geographical, cultural, and economic borders (Statista, 2017). In fact, social media across platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, find broad engagement and reach in personal, professional, and political domains.


It is in this growing social media space that individuals involved in education—policy makers, administrators, teachers, students, and parents—must better understand the impact of social media in order to acknowledge and leverage the resources, information, and people available through global social networks. Through increased understanding, we may be better able to help teachers collaborate with one another to inform and improve their knowledge and classroom teaching. To advance the field of educational research, we must keep up to date about and critically evaluate new perspectives, findings, and methodologies arising from these evolving social phenomena.


A variety of educational organizations have documented the widespread use of social media in education (e.g., RAND, 2016); however, research on the educational activities occurring within and around social media and their connection to K–12 classroom teaching and school practices is still in its infancy. Educators continue to be interested in exploring social media as a teaching tool and for their own professional learning (Kent & Leaver, 2014), yet many teachers remain uncertain about how to meaningfully integrate this technology or assess its impacts (Crook, 2012).


Web-based social networks introduce tools, people, and materials to school culture that could help to break up established routines and assist teachers and students in getting feedback on their performances (Bransford et al., 1999). Leveraging social media capabilities may give teachers and students access to a different culture that helps them clarify their beliefs about teaching with technology and revise their behaviors (Greenhow et al., 2009, 2015). However, online social networks may also frustrate instructional practice when teachers do not see their value or are unable to form and use such networks to advance learning and teaching goals.


Existing published literature reviews related to social media in education have focused mainly on learning or teaching with a particular social media type (e.g., social network sites) (Greenhow & Askari, 2017; Rodríguez-Hoyos et al., 2015) or platform, most commonly Facebook (Aydin, 2012; Hew, 2011; Manca & Ranieri, 2013, 2016; Wilson et al., 2012) and Twitter (Alias et al., 2013; Buettner, 2013; Gao et al., 2012; Tang & Hew, 2017). Furthermore, the majority of studies in these reviews focus on the perceptions and experiences of college students (Aydin, 2012; Manca & Ranieri, 2013) and higher education faculty (Forkosh-Baruch & Hershovitz, 2012).  


Moreover, the benefits of appropriating social media into teaching and learning contexts are contested in the research literature. For instance, some studies on the integration of social network sites such as Facebook in higher education suggest their affordances for interaction, collaboration, information, and resource sharing (Mazman & Usluel, 2010); encouraging participation and critical thinking (Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008; Mason & Rennie, 2006); and increased peer support and communication about course content and assessment (DiVall & Kirwin, 2012). Others warn against exploiting social media for learning because of its potentially negative impact on student outcomes such as college GPA (Junco & Cotton, 2013; Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010).


Currently, no comprehensive statement of the nature of research on social media in K–12 teaching or teacher learning and its implications has been produced, providing little guidance to K–12 teachers or teacher educators on evidence-based practices. We know that both teachers and students are already using social media (Greenhow & Askari, 2017; Manca & Ranieri, 2016; Tang & Hew, 2017). Therefore, to inform future research, teaching practices and policies for social media use in schools, we focus our attention on understanding what is known about social media’s applications in education. This means focusing on the teachers and classrooms where social media has been used and investigated. An in-depth look at teachers’ current social media practices is the first step toward defining platforms’ potentially beneficial roles in teaching and learning. What does this scholarship look like? What has been learned? Our interest in these questions inspired an extensive literature review guided by the research question, How are social media perceived and used by K–12 teachers for their teaching or professional learning, and with what impacts on teachers’ practices? Next, we provide an overview of the extant knowledge of teaching and teacher learning with social media in education, beginning with a brief definition and history of social media, followed by the identification of common themes and conceptualizations. Specifically, we summarize teachers’ competing goals; factors that influence technological innovation in schools, especially access to varied professional learning opportunities; and current research on social media in education. We then describe our methodological approach, including the systematic review procedures used to collect articles and analyze the content of relevant literature. We present our findings, followed by their implications for future research, with specific reference to gaps in the literature.


TEACHING AND TEACHER LEARNING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA


DEFINITION AND HISTORY OF SOCIAL MEDIA


There is general agreement that the first social media site emerged in 1997 with the creation of Sixdegrees.com, which allowed users to (1) create profiles, (2) list a set of other users with whom they shared a connection, and (3) view and traverse others’ connections (boyd & Ellison, 2007). Although these features existed in various forms independently, Sixdegrees.com was the first to bring them together (boyd & Ellison, 2007). From Six Degrees arose the phenomenon of blogging in the late 1990s and early 2000s on platforms such as LiveJournal and Blogger, which featured the creation and maintenance of web articles posted in reverse chronological order. Around this same time, social media called wikis, used for collaborative web authoring on platforms such as wikispaces, gained in popularity. Before 2001, wikis were virtually unknown outside closed circles of computer programmers. Also around this time, Friendster, considered one of the first social network sites, was growing in prominence, mostly in Asia. Today, there are hundreds of platforms across various types of social media; some of the most prominent include blogs (e.g., Blogger), wikis (e.g., Wikipedia), social network sites (e.g., Facebook), microblogs (e.g., Twitter), photo-sharing services (e.g., Instagram and Pinterest), video-sharing services (e.g., YouTube), products/services review (e.g., Yelp), social bookmarking, and social gaming (Obar & Wildman, 2015).


Hallmarks of social media are that they are Web 2.0 Internet-based applications that feature user-generated content, profiles for the site or app created by users, and the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals or groups within the system (Obar & Wildman, 2015). This last hallmark feature, the facilitation and development of online social networks, is more prominent in some social media types than others: Social network sites such as Facebook spotlight people’s lists of connections and feature the ability to view and traverse the connections of others. Next, we identify central themes and conceptualizations related to K–12 teaching, especially teaching with technology, teacher learning, and social media in education that help ground this review.


TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY


Teaching is a complex endeavor that draws on various types of knowledge in shifting, ill-structured environments (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Spiro et al., 1991). Teachers must adjust their pedagogy based on students’ diverse needs, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessments and “adapt practices to local contexts and coordinate with each other as they do so” (Frank et al., 2011, p. 139). Research on teachers’ motivations highlights their efforts to balance competing goals and beliefs about effective teaching practices with others’ expectations—for example, school norms and pressures from outside influences such as professional development (PD) initiatives (Frank et al., 2010). Teachers’ goals may include building on students’ prior knowledge and preferences, increasing student engagement, enhancing students’ self-expression and agency, designing authentic learning environments, facilitating student–student and student–teacher interactions to create a classroom community, and other practices shown to support how people learn (Bransford et al., 1999).


Moreover, teaching requires knowledge of student thinking and learning (pedagogy), of subject matter (content), and of their intersections (pedagogical content knowledge) or “the ways of representing and formulating the subject that make it comprehensible to others” (Shulman, 1986, p. 9). Innovation—for example, computers and technology introduced into schools—adds complexity to this already complex process. Zhao and Frank (2003) compared the introduction of technology in schools to an “invasion of an ecosystem by a foreign, [invasive] species” (p. 813). Depending on the compatibility between the innovation (invader) and the teacher and the teaching environment, the innovation wins and transforms the status quo; the innovation loses and perishes; or the innovation and teacher co-evolve, influencing each other and developing new properties. Zhao and Frank argued that the teacher’s adaptations are influenced by “the help they receive [or not] and by perceived pressure from others . . . teachers may be reacting to institutions or other forces exogenous to the school” (p. 828). Mishra and Koehler (2006) argued that the complex understanding required for teachers to meaningfully integrate technology into classroom teaching necessitates synthesis of their knowledge of content, pedagogy, and technology, or technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). Some studies have shown that classroom teaching with powerful, multifaceted technologies such as the Internet places huge demands on teachers’ TPACK that some fail to navigate (Wallace, 2004); historically, the promise of computers in schools has not lived up to its potential (Cuban, 2001).


TEACHING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA


On the other hand, never before have Internet technologies such as social media become so ubiquitous in our lives across home, school, and community boundaries, pushing on metaphors of technology as “foreign” or “familiar” in K–12 schools. Much of the research to date on teaching with social media has focused on higher education contexts or on teaching with the specific social media platforms such as Facebook (Aydin, 2012; Hew, 2011; Manca & Ranieri, 2013; 2016; Wilson et al., 2012) or Twitter (Alias et al., 2013; Buettner, 2013; Gao et al., 2012; Tang & Hew, 2017). Existing literature reviews emphasize instructors’ and students’ attitudes toward using social media in university education (Hew, 2011; Manca & Ranieri, 2013; Tang & Hew, 2017), and instructors’ use of social media to supplement traditional learning management systems (Manca & Ranieri, 2013). Literature reviews on Facebook as a learning environment have reported instructors’ use of it largely as a closed, or private, environment; the private group feature is used to post comments and discuss or share resources among students and faculty in the formal classroom space: “Facebook seems to be . . . as a ‘fenced’ space to deliver content and support interactions rather than combine different and heterogeneous sources of instructional materials” (Manca & Ranieri, 2013, p. 494).


In contrast, conceptions of teaching with social media in the literature emphasize its potential to improve or change traditional practices by (1) opening or widening the context for learning beyond the class to a larger networked public; (2) introducing a hybridization of expertise (e.g., past learners, practicing professionals, other teachers); (3) mixing different types of information and resources; and (4) reshaping teachers’ roles toward facilitation and constructivist pedagogies (Manca & Ranieri, 2016). Furthermore, because they can blur boundaries between socializing, leisure, and learning, scholars conceive of social media as tools that teachers can use to achieve their goals of fostering relationships (e.g., student–student, student–instructor), active learning, the development of communication skills, and more—potentially leading to increased student engagement and learning outcomes (Nowell, 2014; Siemens & Weller, 2011).


TEACHER PROFESSIONAL LEARNING


Teachers’ meaningful integration of technologies such as social media in classrooms is influenced by a complex set of factors, including access to the Internet and technical support; organizational aspects, such as school culture and leadership; individual teacher characteristics, such as her willingness to use technology and pedagogical style; and professional learning opportunities (Frank et al., 2011). While many K–12 teachers take part in formal PD—for example, after-school workshops, seminars, courses, or graduate degree programs—research suggests that professionals spend considerable time per week learning in informal interactions with peers about topics related to their work (Eraut, 2011). In fact, teacher PD that involves peer collaboration is a key factor for student achievement (Moolenaar et al., 2012).


Although definitions of formal and informal (and nonformal) learning are varied, often contested in the educational literature, and their interrelationships are complex (Greenhow & Lewin, 2015; Macià & Garcia, 2016), here we refer to formal learning as situations in which some agent—such as a PD facilitator—is directing the learning. The agent guides the learner (e.g., teacher) through a formalized set of objectives, tied to curricula, and typically generated by an external authority, such as standards developed by professional organizations or mandated by the government (Greenhow & Lewin, 2015). Informal learning is described as learning from experience that is not directed by a school or professional organization or externally mandated but is exploratory, spontaneous (Greenhow & Lewin, 2015) and typically “takes place outside formally structured, institutionally sponsored, classroom-based activities” (Watkins & Marsick, 1992, p. 288). Sfard’s (1998) two metaphors for learning are useful in thinking about these distinctions: learning as knowledge acquisition and learning as participation. Teacher learning as knowledge acquisition is evidenced by teachers’ collecting resources and curricula for teaching (Hu et al., 2018), or acquiring knowledge through active, “hands-on” PD and opportunities for experimentation (Frank, et al., 2011). Although teachers need to experiment with new technologies and pedagogies introduced in formal professional development to “co-evolve,” an individual teacher’s experimentation can be limiting because she lacks the time to acquire all the local knowledge necessary to adapt the innovation to the local context (Frank et al., 2011). In this case, a teacher’s knowledge can be supported through interactions with people with diverse knowledge.


Thus, a second metaphor for teachers’ professional learning is learning as participation in professional communities and networks (Sfard, 1998). For instance, communities of practice (CoPs) frameworks emphasize teachers’ collaboration toward a common objective, shared norms, and commitment to learn and develop ideas and resources through sustained participation in a community of practice over time (Wenger et al., 2002). Teacher learning can also occur through participation in informal networks, or the “set of relationships, personal interactions, and connections among participants who have reasons to connect” (Wenger et al., 2011, p. 9). Such network participation can be short- or long term, spontaneous, and provide individuals with the potential to access people and information resources through their social relationships—what sociologists term social capital (Lin, 1999). Understanding these networks is important because “how teachers access information or support from other teachers . . . the flows of such resources can improve teachers’ capacity to teach, innovate, and coordinate with one another” (Frank et al., 2018, p. 2). Thus, by participating in informal learning communities and networks, teachers can learn from others in their local contexts who have adapted innovations given similar students and curricular and organizational elements and who have an interest in supporting others (Frank et al., 2011). Furthermore, teacher learning can also be influenced by the knowledge and expertise that teachers tap beyond the school or district through informal interactions within teacher networks on social media.


TEACHER PROFESSIONAL LEARNING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA


Beyond classroom teaching with social media, educators are logging in to social media for their own professional learning. As Homan (2014) concluded after studying an English teacher’s use of social media in her PD practices,


New technologies are also shaping how the professional networks of teachers are maintained, as these network connections move to online spaces perhaps not commonly considered “professional,” such as Facebook or Twitter. In the 21st century, what it means to “be a teacher” is shifting alongside the technological landscape. (p. 327)


Teachers are reclaiming their PD and redefining what meaningful teacher learning looks like in our digital world (Galvin & Greenhow, 2020).


Macià and Garcia (2016) reviewed the literature for evidence of how teachers have pursued opportunities for professional learning online. They found that informal online communities and networks can provide a source of teacher PD. Practices developed in these communities and networks included sharing experiences and reflecting on practice; posing or answering questions or asking for help; sharing teaching materials and resources; engaging in generic discussion; and offering and receiving emotional support. Prestridge (2017) found that  teachers appreciated the ability to participate in online informal networks of other teachers for PD without time or geographic constraints: “Online professional development can be considered a mechanism for self-renewal where teachers’ beliefs and practices become the focus and influence of the design of professional development through self-generating content and self-directed pathways for learning” (Prestridge, 2017, p. 100).


Despite these accounts of the potential for teachers’ professional learning online, published literature reviews reveal little about teachers’ formal or informal professional learning with social media, especially in K–12 education (Greenhow & Askari, 2017; Manca & Ranieri, 2013, 2016). The field calls for theory and an evidence base from which to understand and evaluate how teacher professionalism, knowledge, and practice have evolved along with teachers’ engagement within social media and how such social phenomena could be leveraged to address our most pressing educational problems, such as improving teaching quality and supporting communication and collaboration among educational professionals. Moreover, we have even less evidence about the interchange between online and physical spaces and the impact of those exchanges within K–12 classrooms and schools. Next, we describe our methods for carrying out this review, followed by our presentation of findings.


METHODS


RESEARCH QUESTION AND STUDY DESIGN


The following question guides our review: How are social media perceived and used by K–12 teachers for their teaching or professional learning, and with what impacts on teachers’ practices? To answer this question, we analyzed the contents of educational research articles published in peer-reviewed journals during the 13-year period from 2004 to 2017. We chose this time frame because social media rose to mainstream prominence in 2004 (boyd & Ellison, 2007), and research typically takes a few years to catch up with societal phenomena. Furthermore, unlike prior reviews of the educational research literature that have focused on a specific social media platform, such as Facebook or Twitter, our review synthesized research across several platforms; however, we excluded research on some early social media types (e.g., blogs and wikis) because these technologies have been in use since the late 1990s and early 2000s. Existing literature reviews (García-Martin & García-Sánchez, 2015; Hew & Cheung, 2013; Minocha, 2009) either partially or solely address these platforms. Reich et al. (2012) and Stewart (2015) have already addressed the use of these platforms in K–12 teaching, and Hew and Cheng (2013) addressed both K–12 and higher education. In addition, we sought to focus our review on social media types that prioritize the development of social networks, such as in social network sites, photo- and video-sharing services, and other types of social media that spotlight people’s lists of connections and the ability to view and traverse others’ connections in the system—affordances that have been underexplored in literature reviews to date. Because we sought to understand the educational benefits and challenges of social media spaces with these features in a deep rather than cursory way, we narrowed the scope of our review to focus on these social media types.


The methodology for this literature review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) standards, which emphasize transparent and detailed reporting of search procedures (Moher et al., 2009). These procedures include (1) identification and (2) screening of records, (3) assessing articles for eligibility, and (4) determining whether a given study is to be included in or excluded from the sample based on inclusion and exclusion criteria (see Figure 1 for the PRISMA flow diagram for this review). Informed by our overview of the existing literature, we sought to identify studies that addressed K–12 teaching or teacher learning or PD with social media across the globe.


Our search and identification of records occurred in two phases. In the first phase, we concentrated on identifying studies from electronic databases. With the assistance of a library science expert, we identified four prominent databases for educational research: Education Full Text, ERIC, Scopus, and Web of Science. The selection of these databases was considered sufficient and reasonable given that they are prominent reference sources for education and social sciences research. To address our research questions, we performed searches using the following initial search terms: “(K-12 Teaching OR teacher training OR professional development OR elementary school or middle school or high school) AND (social media or social network sites or social networking sites or Facebook or Twitter or microblogging or Pinterest or Instagram) NOT (higher education).” These were the initial search terms for each database. Based on the relevancy of results in each database, search terms were revised to target various types of social media individually. During these searches, results included only peer-reviewed publications in English and within the 13-year period from 2004 to 2017. This initial phase of the search resulted in 1,253 documents.


In the second phase of the search, we conducted a variety of hand searches. First, we reviewed lists of journals dedicated mostly or entirely to the topic (i.e., educational research journals, educational technology journals, and technology-enhanced learning journals). (See the Appendix for a full list of journals.) To surface any relevant articles in journals not covered in the database search, we conducted a manual table of contents search for each journal for the years available: Journal of Literacy and Technology (2007–2017); Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange (2011–2017); and International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design (2011–2017). Two journals not covered in the database search but that appeared on our list of relevant journals were unavailable through our university library system and therefore excluded: International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning and International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning. Second, we created a snowball sample from the cited references in all the literature reviews that appeared in our search and from the cited references of any literature reviews, empirical articles, conference proceedings, books, or other publications from our own personal collections. Citation entries were reviewed by title and abstract to determine initial relevance. Third, we analyzed the database search results and identified all journals with more than five relevant entries: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, British Journal of Educational Technology, Computers and Education, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking, Educational Media International, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching & Teacher Education, and TechTrends. For each of these journals, we then did a manual table of contents search on our focal topic for the years 2004–2017 to ensure that we did not miss potentially relevant articles. Fourth, we contacted authors in the field whose articles appeared relevant on our initial screening of records or who we knew to be working in our focal area; we requested articles from them, or from others they knew, that might be relevant. Together, these four hand searches in the second phase of the overall search surfaced 60 additional documents.


From this combination of searches, we removed 30 duplicate records, leaving a total of 1,290 records for screening. Screening occurred based on title and abstract review. To remain in our pool, articles had to include social media use by K–12 teachers. They had to be empirical and published in English in peer-reviewed journals. Non-peer-reviewed reports, book chapters, conceptual pieces, unpublished dissertations, conference papers, or master’s theses were excluded. During this screening, 1,191 articles were excluded, leaving a total of 92 studies. The references of these articles were also checked for any potentially relevant articles not identified in previous search procedures. This step resulted in an additional seven articles, bringing the total number of identified articles to that underwent a full review to 99.


Final screening of the 99 studies included a full-text review of each article by two authors who assessed its eligibility. These articles were screened for inclusion by the two author-reviewers and marked as relevant or irrelevant with a written rationale. Any discrepancies were resolved by a third rater. Interrater reliability was calculated at 98%. From this rating process, 41 articles were excluded. These articles were excluded for one of three reasons: The social media platform in the article was outside the parameters of our review (e.g., blogs, wikis, collaboration tools, file sharing tools); the quality of the research was insufficient or not sufficiently described to judge its quality (e.g., the article lacked a methods section, data sources were not identified, data analysis procedures were not described); or the focus was not on teachers (e.g., the study focused on students or school administrators). Thus, the final sample included 58 studies for qualitative analysis.


The process of collecting articles according the PRISMA standards is depicted in Figure 1.


Figure 1. PRISMA flow chart


[39_23303.htm_g/00001.jpg]



DATA ANALYSIS


Once the pool of 58 relevant research studies was identified and included in the final sample, the two author-reviewers read each article again, in subsets of 10–15 articles at a time, and each used a spreadsheet template that included various categories of basic article information, such as citation, abstract, keywords, author, journal, year, and so forth. These spreadsheets also contained a priori categories derived from our prior reading of the literature, which assisted in the development of quantitative descriptions and provided starting points for broader thematic analyses and writing (Yin, 2009). Such a priori categories included country of study, theoretical frameworks, sample description, methodological approach, grade level and course subject focus, social media used, and summary findings. To understand our sample’s characteristics, we created a table (see Table 1) that presents descriptive statistics for the sample, including the year the study was published, social media platform and features used (open/public or closed/private), and teachers’ subject matter and grade level.  



Table 1. Summary of Descriptive Findings

  

Main Focus of Reviewed Articles

  

Formal PD

 

Informal PD

 

Classroom Teaching

 

Classroom and PD Use

 

Total

  

N

%

 

N

%

 

N

%

 

N

%

 

N

%

Studies per year

 

7

12

 

33

57

 

14

24

 

4

7

 

58

100

 

2017

2

3

 

9

16

 

3

5

 

0

0

 

14

24

 

2016

0

0

 

7

12

 

3

5

 

2

3

 

12

21

 

2015

0

0

 

6

10

 

3

5

 

0

0

 

9

16

 

2014

2

3

 

4

7

 

3

5

 

1

2

 

10

17

 

2013

3

5

 

4

7

 

1

2

 

1

2

 

9

16

 

2012

0

0

 

1

2

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

2

3

 

2011

 

 

 

 

 

2010

0

0

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

1

2

 

2009

0

0

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

1

2

 

2008

 

 

 

 

 

2007

 

 

 

 

Social media studied

 


7

12

 

33

57

 


14

24

 

4

7

 

58

100

 

Facebook

2

3

 

7

12

 

3

5

 

0

0

 

12

21

 

Twitter

0

0

 

13

22

 

2

3

 

2

3

 

17

29

 

Edmodo

1

2

 

4

7

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

6

10

 

Other single platforms

2

3

 

2

3

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

5

9

 

Multiple or unspecified platforms

2

3

 

7

12

 

7

12

 

2

3

 

18

31

Open or closed social media use

 

7

12

 

33

57

 

14

24

 

4

7

 

58

100

 

Closed

7

12

 

1

2

 

6

10

 

0

0

 

14

24

 

Between open and closed

0

0

 

2

3

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

3

5

 

Open

0

0

 

23

40

 

0

0

 

2

3

 

25

43

 

Various or unclear

0

0

 

6

10

 

4

7

 

2

3

 

12

21

 

Privacy concerns

0

0

 

1

2

 

3

5

 

0

0

 

4

7

Subject taught

 

7

12

 

33

57

 

14

24

 

4

7

 

58

100

 

English/reading

0

0

 

4

7

 

2

3

 

0

0

 

6

10

 

Math

0

0

 

4

7

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

4

7

 

Sciences

3

5

 

0

0

 

2

3

 

0

0

 

5

9

 

Foreign Language

0

0

 

3

5

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

4

7

 

Social studies

0

0

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

1

2

 

2

3

 

Physical education

1

2

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

1

2

 

Religion

0

0

 

1

2

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

1

2

 

Various/multiple subjects

3

5

 

20

34

 

9

16

 

3

5

 

35

60

Grade level

 

7

12

 

33

57

 

14

24

 

4

7

 

58

100

 

High school

2

3

 

6

10

 

5

9

 

0

0

 

13

22

 

High school and middle school

1

2

 

1

2

 

2

3

 

0

0

 

4

7

 

Middle school

1

2

 

0

0

 

2

3

 

0

0

 

3

5

 

Middle school and elementary

0

0

 

1

0

 

0

0

 

0

0

 

1

2

 

Elementary school

1

2

 

0

0

 

2

3

 

0

0

 

3

5

 

Various levels

2

3

 

25

43

 

3

5

 

4

7

 

34

59



Note.  PD = professional development



In addition to a priori code categories, our coding process involved reading for additional emergent, descriptive codes, following an iterative process informed by two independent coders (Glesne, 2016; Saldaña, 2016). The two coders reviewed 3–10 studies at a time, taking independent notes on the a priori categories and other memos of interesting features, details, or findings from each study, including those that did not fit in (or were extensions of) the predefined codes (e.g., unique implications for policy or teacher education were discussed). Then, the coders met to review notes and discuss each study. From these conversations, new codes and patterns emerged, and additional sections were added to or revised within our coding spreadsheet (e.g., sections to record notes on policy and teacher education were added so that these themes could be tracked across the data set). Coders continually reviewed and revisited previously coded articles as new codes were generated. For example, when coding for methodology, we realized that while indicating qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods was helpful, there seemed to be other trends in data collection worth noting. We added categories for marking each study’s methods (e.g., use of surveys, interviews, focus groups, social media post content analysis, analytics). This uncovered patterns in most-used methods (discussed in the Results section) and drew our attention to another category that we later integrated: quantification of impact (on teaching or learning). Additionally, some changes to our coding spreadsheet occurred to increase the clarity of our data. During our initial coding of sample size, for instance, we needed to reconsider what level of detail to include. Some studies cited the number of individuals posting to a social media platform, whereas others indicated sample by total number of social media posts without tracking individual posters. These became important distinctions when comparing studies focused on thousands of individual posts (e.g., Greenhalgh & Koehler, 2017) to studies focused on the experiences of a few case study participants (e.g., Lindstrom & Niederhauser, 2016). To maintain transparency, each coder worked with her own copy of the spreadsheet template and points of initial disagreement and the resolution were noted and preserved within our spreadsheets.


The final version of our spreadsheet categories addressed the following: article quality, research questions, theoretical framework, methodology description (also broken into qualitative, quantitative, mixed methodologies, and types of data collection—survey, interview, focus group, post content analysis, analytics, use of control groups), participant type (e.g., grade level, teachers vs. students) and number, location, PD (formal or informal) or classroom setting, social media used (open or closed), time span, overall theme (including a generally positive or negative view of social media), impacts quantified, scalability, and categories for open-ended notes on policy, research, teaching, teacher education, and miscellaneous points of interest.

RESULTS


In response to our research question—How are social media perceived and used by K–12 teachers for their teaching or professional learning, and with what impacts on teachers’ practices?—our findings relate to our study’s two focal areas: common themes in teaching with social media and in teachers’ professional learning and developmentNext, we first present the results of our descriptive analysis and then our emergent findings.

DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS RESULTS


Among the articles in our literature review, the majority of articles (N = 44), or 76% of the sample, covered teachers’ social media use in various forms of professional learning (see Table 1). Just 14 studies were categorized as studies that addressed teaching with social media in K–12 settings. As shown in Table 2, in looking at the distribution of studies across the years surveyed (2004–2017), more studies were published in 2017 and 2016 than in any other years. Moreover, almost all studies (N = 54) were published between 2013 and 2017.


Table 2. Categorization of Reviewed Studies by Method

 

Mixed Methods

(n = 26)

Qualitative Methods

(n = 21)

Quantitative Methods

(n = 11)

Ab Rashid (2017)

 

X

 

Asterhan and Rosenberg (2015)

X

  

Bartow (2014)

 

X

 

Bicen and Uzunboylu (2013)

  

X

Blonder et al. (2013)

 

X

 

Blonder and Rap (2017)

X

  

Britt and Paulus (2016)

 

X

 

Carpenter and Green (2017)

X

  

Carpenter and Justice (2018)

X

  

Carpenter and Krutka (2014)

X

  

Carpenter and Krutka (2015)

X

  

Cinkara and Arslan (2017)

X

  

K. Davis (2015)

 

X

 

T. Davis (2013)

X

  

Forkosh-Baruch et al. (2015)

  

X

Gao and Li (2017)

X

  

Goodyear et al. (2014)

 

X

 

Greenhalgh and Koehler (2017)

X

  

Holmes et al. (2013)

X

  

Homan (2014)

X

  

Hur and Brush (2009)

 

X

 

Jimoyiannis et al. (2013)

X

  

Kelly and Antonio (2016)

X

  

Krutka and Carpenter (2016)

 

X

 

Kuo et al. (2017)

  

X

Lapham and Lindemann-Komarova (2013)

X

  

Lindstrom and Niederhauser (2016)

 

X

 

Macià and García (2017)

  

X

Matzat and Vrieling (2016)

  

X

Noble et al. (2016)

 

X

 

Owen et al. (2016)

X

  

Pan and Franklin (2011)

  

X

Pritchett et al. (2013)

  

X

Ranieri et al. (2012)

  

X

Rehm and Notten (2016)

  

X

Robson (2017)

 

X

 

Rodesiler (2015)

 

X

 

Rodesiler (2014)

 

X

 

Rodesiler and Pace (2015)

 

X

 

Rosenberg et al. (2016)

  

X

Ross et al. (2015)

X

  

Rutherford (2010)

X

  

Schwarz and Caduri (2016)

 

X

 

Sumuer et al. (2014)

X

  

Thibaut (2015)

 

X

 

Trust (2015)

 

X

 

Trust (2016)

 

X

 

Trust (2017a)

X

  

Trust (2017b)

X

  

Trust et al. (2016)

X

  

Van Vorren and Bess (2013)

  

X

Vázquez-Cano (2012)

X

  

Veira et al. (2014)

X

  

Visser et al. (2014)

X

  

Vivitsou et al. (2014)

 

X

 

Wang et al. (2014)

X

  

Wesely (2013)

 

X

 

Zhang et al. (2017)

X

  


In examining the geographical distribution of studies, we found that research on teachers’ use of social media is occurring around the globe. About a third of the studies (N = 20, 34%) had a participant population categorized as global (i.e., they included a population of participants not limited to a particular geographical location). It is important to note, however, that these studies varied in the extent of their global reach (i.e., studies marked as global incorporated samples distributed across multiple countries to varying degrees). That is, the openness of social media facilitated the selection of participants from beyond the researchers’ locale, but, as might be expected, the network of connections from which these broader samples were collected still sprung from one geographical place or context (e.g., the country from which the researchers were working or the country from which the educational context of the study was most relevant); therefore, the populations studied were still often skewed toward one or a few countries as the point(s) of origin. For example, Greenhalgh and Koehler’s (2017) study of #educattentats on Twitter after a terrorist attack in Paris was global in that the Twitter chat was open to and did recruit contributors from around the globe; however, the vast majority of participants were from France and neighboring countries such as Germany, which were most impacted by the tragedy. Similarly, other studies examined teachers in groups on open platforms that were available to a global community, but the primary language used or the country from which the group originated localized the types of participants most often engaging in those spaces—for example, Macià and Garcia’s (2016) focus on Spanish-speaking teachers on Twitter, or Ranieri and colleagues’ (2012) focus on Italian-speaking teachers on Facebook. Regardless of this, some studies still reported samples with global diversity beyond a few countries. Trust (2016), for instance, reported a sample with participants from nine countries, in addition to the majority coming from the United States; Carpenter and Justice (2018) reported a sample with participants from 12 countries, in addition to the majority coming from the United States and Canada. For our purposes, studies considered “global” were all those that accessed the affordance of social media to be open to global communities and international participants because the exact extent to which the populations of studies were internationally based was often unclear and could not be effectively evaluated in comparison to others.


Within the remaining 38 articles, 17 different countries were represented. See Figure 2 for a summary of the locations represented. The majority of studies in this group were carried out in North America (N = 18, 31%)—United States, Canada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; followed by Europe (N = 8, 14%)—United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Finland, the Netherlands and Spain; the Middle East (N = 7, 12%)—Israel, Cyprus, and Turkey; Asia (N = 4, 7%)—China, Malaysia, Russia, and Taiwan; and, finally, one study occurred in Australia. The three countries most represented in our data were the United States (N = 15, 26%), Israel (N = 5, 9%), and the United Kingdom (N = 3, 5%).


Figure 2. Geographic location of reviewed studies


[39_23303.htm_g/00003.jpg]


In examining the subject matter focus and grade level of K–12 teachers in our reviewed studies, we found that the majority of articles (N = 35, 60%) studied teachers from multiple subject areas. Few articles focused on a single subject. Of the 23 articles set in specific subjects, six (10%) took place in English and reading courses, five (9%) took place in science classes, four (7%) took place in math, four (7%) took place in foreign language classes, and two (3%) took place in social studies, with one study focusing on physical education and one on religion.


Similar to the distribution of articles across subject areas, the majority of articles, 34 (59%), looked at teachers from varying grade levels. Of the 24 articles that looked at specific grade levels, high school was the most frequently studied context, represented in 13 (22%) studies. Four studies (7%) gathered data from teachers in both high school and middle school settings, and three studies (5%) focused just on middle school. One article studied middle and elementary school contexts, and three studies (5%) were set in elementary schools.


As we considered the types of social media used by K–12 teachers across the various aforementioned types included in our review, we found that social network sites and microblogs were the dominant types of social media studied in our sample. For instance, 12 articles (21%) examined teachers’ uses of the social network site Facebook, and an additional six articles (10%) examined Edmodo, a social network site geared toward education. Seventeen articles (29%) focused on K–12 teachers’ use of the microblog Twitter. Other single-platform studies covered YouTube (Blonder et al., 2013), Ning (Lindstrom & Niederhauser, 2016), Voxer (Carpenter & Green, 2017), and the Online Professional Development Platform (Zhang et al., 2017). The remaining articles (N = 18, 31%) investigated teachers’ social media use across multiple platforms or generally without specifying a particular type.


To summarize, the results of our descriptive analysis reveal that research on K–12 teaching or teacher learning with social media is on the rise, with the majority of studies conducted within the last five years of our review period and covering mainly teachers’ professional learning. The reviewed studies address populations around the globe, with a third conducted in North America. Various subject matters were represented (e.g., English, science, math, and language learning), primarily at the high school level. Twitter and Facebook were the most studied single platforms.


<B>EMERGENT FINDINGS


In this review, as we inquired into the question, How are social media perceived and used by K–12 teachers for their teaching or professional learning, and with what impacts on teachers’ practices?, we were interested both in how this research was conducted (e.g., methodologies, subjects, frameworks) and in what the results were. Thus, in this section, we report emergent findings with respect to (1) research methodologies represented in our sample; (2) characteristics of research subjects; (3) theoretical frameworks; (4) social media platform capabilities used by K–12 teachers for various purposes; (5) themes related to K–12 classroom teaching with social media; and (6) themes in teachers’ professional learning with social media. Table 2 presents a categorization of reviewed studies by methodology. Table 3 provides a charting of all studies, including the author and year of the study; whether it concerned classroom teaching, formal or informal PD, or a combination; research focus and questions; theoretical framework; methods, data collection, and sample; and findings. Next, we present emergent themes in each of the six mentioned areas.


Table 3. Overview of Reviewed Studies

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection,* & Sample

Findings

Ab Rashid (2017)

Informal PD

How does teachers’ Facebook timeline use impact their professional lives?

Dialogic reflective practice

Qualitative

Ethnography

Data from interviews and posts

N = 34 high school teachers

 

Teachers received emotional support from diverse peers through their Facebook timelines. They reflected on their teaching and engaged in informal learning.

Asterhan and Rosenberg (2015)

Classroom

How are teachers using Facebook to communicate with students? What motives and dilemmas are associated with these communications?

Socio-constructivist

Mixed methods

Data from surveys and interviews with secondary teachers

N = 187 surveyed

N = 11 interviewed

Teachers face challenges with privacy, authority, and limiting their availability when connecting with students on Facebook, yet they find ways to use the platform for instructional, psycho-pedagogical, and social-relational communications with students.

Bartow (2014)

Classroom

What does teaching with social media look like?

Poststructuralism, participatory culture, critical pedagogy

Qualitative

Multiple case study

Data from interviews and posts

N = 5 high/middle school teachers




Social media opened more participatory discourses. Social media increases students’ engagement in learning; it increases student-centered pedagogy and fosters classroom communities.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection,* & Sample

Findings

Bicen and Uzunboylu (2013)

Formal PD

After taking a PD course on implementing Facebook in the classroom, did teachers change their opinions on the usefulness of Facebook in education?

Social capital

Quantitative

Pre- and post-PD survey

N = 71 K–12 teachers

Teachers developed more positive views of Facebook’s use in the classroom by the end of the PD course. Teachers believe that Facebook’s Virtual Class affords activities that cannot be accomplished in the classroom and that using Facebook increases students’ teamwork, participation, and motivation.

Blonder et al. (2013)

Formal PD

How did the PD on implementing YouTube in the chemistry classroom impact teachers’ video editing skills, TPACK, and self-efficacy in educational uses of YouTube?

TPACK, self-efficacy

Mixed methods

Data from surveys, interviews, and posts

N = 16 high school chemistry teachers

After the PD, teachers’ skills, TPACK, and self-efficacy regarding the implementation of YouTube in the chemistry classroom increased.

Blonder and Rap (2017)

Formal PD

How did the PD on using the chemistry-based Facebook group impact teachers’ use of the group? What factors influence teachers’ self-efficacy, and what TPACK is developed?

TPACK, self-efficacy

Mixed methods

Data from surveys, interviews, and posts

N = 12 high school chemistry teachers

Teachers’ conceptions of learning did not change through the course of the PD, but they discovered how to use the Facebook group to support the learning they envisioned for their students. Their self-efficacy increased as they gained familiarity with, and were given support in mastering, the platform. They developed TPACK unique to chemistry teachers’ implementation of Facebook.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection,* & Sample

Findings

Britt and Paulus (2016)

Informal PD

How does #edchat function as a community of practice? What are the best practices for PD on #edchat?

Communities of practice, best practices of PD

Qualitative

Instrumental case study

Data from interviews and posts

N = 8

#edchat meets many aspects of a community of practice and accomplishes many best practices of PD, offering individualization and access that is greater than is possible with traditional PD.

Carpenter and Green (2017)

Informal PD

Understanding teachers’ professional use of Voxer.

Heutagogy

 

Mixed methods

Data from survey

N = 240 teachers

Voxer was an effective PD tool that connected teachers with others outside their schools, districts, and regions. Teachers reported that using Voxer impacted their practice.

Carpenter and Justice (2018)

Classroom

What are the opportunities and challenges for teaching for global readiness associated with the uses of technology in the Global Read Aloud (GRA) event?

Global citizenship/readiness, situated practice, critical literacy, transactional experience

Mixed methods

Data from survey

N = 516 teachers

Web 2.0 expanded connections and community-building between classrooms in the GRA; however, the technology also posed challenges to teachers who also had to meet curricula demands and tech restrictions within their schools.

Carpenter and Krutka (2014)

Classroom & PD

How and why do educators use Twitter?

Participatory cultures, affinity spaces

Mixed methods

Data from survey

N = 755 teachers

 

Teachers typically use Twitter for PD (rather than for instruction or communication with students). In particular, they report using Twitter for finding and sharing resources and connecting with colleagues (combating isolation and finding a community). Twitter as PD is preferred to traditional formal PD.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Carpenter and Krutka (2015)

Informal PD

How and why do educators use Twitter for PD?

Social constructivism, affinity spaces

Mixed methods

Data from survey

N = 494 K–12 teachers

Twitter provides autonomous PD that incorporates the individualization and support that teachers lack in traditional PD. Collaboration and the exposure to both diverse perspectives and other like-minded educators are valued. Twitter helps combat teacher isolation.

Cinkara and Arslan (2017)

Informal PD

Understanding which topics EFL teachers most discussed in their Facebook group.

Scaffolding and zone of proximal development, e-mentoring

Mixed methods

Data from posts

N = 360 analyzed posts from K–12 teachers

EFL teachers use the Facebook group for a variety of reasons: knowledge exchange, resources, career development, collaboration, and reflection. Most of the entries were made to share resources, but most of the comments were on threads about career development.

K. Davis (2015)

Informal PD

Understanding how teachers use Twitter for PD and how #edchat contributes to their communities of practice.

Communities of practice, PLN, Connectivist

Qualitative

Data from interviews and posts

N = 19

Twitter provided space for teachers to reflect on their practice, exchange knowledge, and build a sense of belonging and community with others. The amount of information on Twitter can be overwhelming, but overall, teachers found the benefits of Twitter to outweigh the challenges.







 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection,* & Sample

Findings

T. Davis (2013)

Informal PD

Understanding teachers’ PLN on social media.

PLN

Mixed methods

Data from survey

N = 238 teachers

Most teachers used their social media PLN to ask questions and find resources as form of PD. The most important features of these PLN were the 24/7 access to current and relevant resources, diversity of and support from the members, and the platform’s ease of use.

Forkosh-Baruch et al. (2015)

Classroom

Understanding differences between teachers and students who are willing to connect on Facebook.

Teacher–student communication

Quantitative

Data from survey

N = 160 teachers

N = 587 students

Willing-to-connect teachers are younger; willing-to-connect students are older. Willing-to-connect teachers and students are more likely to believe that Facebook can be used for teaching and learning.

Gao and Li (2017)

Informal PD

Understanding the network created through a #edchat event.

Social constructivism, communities of practice

Mixed methods

Data from posts and social network analysis

N = 166 #edchat participants

N = 716 tweets analyzed

A wide range of participant types, from very low contributors to very active contributors. Regardless, #edchat is potentially helpful for gaining new perspectives on real-life teaching problems. The majority of tweets were “how-to” conversations.

Goodyear et al. (2014)

Formal PD

How does social media function as off-school-site  support for teachers changing their practice?

Community of practice

Qualitative

Participatory action research

Data from posts/interactions

N = 5 middle school and high school teachers

Social media allowed the facilitator to reinforce teachers’ changing practice post-PD and contributed to the creation of a community of practice in which their contributions were valued and their confidence was supported.



 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Greenhalgh and Koehler (2017)

Informal PD

Understanding the #educattentats event as an affinity space.

Affinity spaces, social learning, just-in-time PD

Mixed methods

Data from posts and social network analysis

N = 3,598 participants

N = 1,208 original tweets

#educattentats emerged when needed (just-in-time) to facilitate teachers accessing the resources they needed.

Holmes et al. (2013)

Informal PD

Exploring the benefits and drawbacks of teachers using Twitter.

 Communities of practice, PLNs

Mixed methods

Data from posts and analytics

N = 30 teachers

Twitter allowed teachers to take control and ownership over their learning. It was mostly used to find and share new resources.

Homan (2014)

Informal PD

How have interactions and relationships on digital technologies impacted teachers’ PD?

Social network analysis

Mixed methods

Case study

Data from interviews, posts, and social network analysis

N = 1 high school teacher

Social media can be used to extend not only student learning, peer-to-peer connections, and teacher–student relationships, but also teacher PD, shifting what is considered “professional” and what counts as professional networking.

Hur and Brush (2009)

Informal PD

Why do teachers want to participate in self-generated online communities?

Communities of practice, social learning theory, emotional sharing

 

Qualitative

Multiple case

study

Data from interviews and posts

N = 23 teachers

Teachers participate in self-generated online communities to share emotions, use the affordances of online work spaces, combat isolation, explore ideas, and find camaraderie.

Jimoyiannis et al. (2013)

Formal PD

To evaluate the impact of the formal PD on Web 2.0 implementation.

TPACK, authentic learning

Mixed methods

Data from survey

N = 86 teachers

The PD increased teachers’ ability and willingness to integrate Web 2.0 into the classroom and their knowledge of the benefits that Web 2.0 can have on students’ learning.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Kelly and Antonio (2016)

Informal PD

How are teachers supporting each other in Facebook groups?

Social support, social exchange theory

Mixed methods

Data from posts and analytics

N = 224 posts analyzed

Teachers used the Facebook group to get support from peers and share resources; they were less likely to use the group to reflect on their practice or get feedback on a modeled practice.

Krutka and Carpenter (2016)

Classroom & PD

How and why do social studies teachers use Twitter?

Participatory learning and citizenship

Qualitative

Data from survey

N = 151 social studies teachers

Teachers are more likely to use Twitter for PD than for communication with students or classroom activities.

Kuo et al. (2017)

Classroom

Understanding teachers’ friending behaviors on Facebook based on ethical and privacy concerns, intensity of use, and social intimacy.

Communication privacy management theory

Quantitative

Data from survey

N = 435 teachers

Teachers made different friending decisions based on their gender (male teachers were more willing to friend students) and their connection to the student (homeroom vs. classroom student). Privacy concerns, ethical concerns, social intimacy with the student, and Facebook behaviors all influenced teachers’ friending choices.

Lapham and Lindemann-Komarova (2013)

Informal PD

Exploring teachers as leaders and their participation in their own PD and networking.

Civil society, framing based on political climate in Russia

Mixed methods

Data from survey and interviews

N = 55 interviews of teachers and principals

N = 518 surveys of teachers and principals

Teachers who are more likely to actively collaborate and engage in PD if they are older, are in smaller schools, frequently collaborate with others, network in person and on social media, and access the Internet daily.




 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Lindstrom and Niederhauser (2016)

Classroom

Exploring the impact of Ning implementation  on student and teacher literacy practices.

New literacies, digital literacies

Qualitative

Multiple case study

Data from interviews and posts

N = Girls in Grades 3–5

Profile creation constitutes an expression of identity and a type of literacy practice; students use different, informal literacies on SNSs, so asking students to use academic literacies in these spaces might not be appropriate.

Macià and García (2017)

Informal PD

Understanding characteristics of the networks teachers create on Twitter.

Social capital, social networks

Quantitative

Data from social network analysis

N = 333 teachers belonging to 9 online communities

Teachers create community clusters on Twitter, in which certain teachers act as bridges between clusters. These groups are tighter than the general network clusters typically formed on Twitter.

Matzat and Vrieling (2016)

Classroom

Exploring the connection between students’ self-regulated learning and the implementation of social media in the classroom.

Self-regulated learning

Quantitative

Data from survey

N = 459 high school teachers

Social media was used to share resources outside of class and as a teaching tool. Teachers who used self-regulated learning in the classroom were more likely to use social media in class too; however, social media was not employed specifically to increase self-regulated learning. No effects on student–teacher relationships were found to be due to  the use of social media for self-regulated learning in the classroom.

Noble et al. (2016)

Informal PD

How does Twitter enrich the practice of high school social studies teachers?

PLNs, sociocultural theory

Qualitative

Data from interviews and posts

N = 4 high school social studies teachers

Twitter has the potential to improve teachers’ student-centered pedagogy. Twitter interactions led to the sharing of new instructional resources and the building of trust between users; this increased the teachers’ confidence and reflection on their own practice.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Owen et al. (2016)

Classroom & PD

Understanding teachers’ use of social media for professional learning and in the classroom.

Communities of practice

Mixed methods

Data from interviews, survey and focus groups

N = 7 teachers in the focus group
N = 2 teachers interviewed
N = 216 teachers surveyed

Teachers preferred Twitter to Facebook for professional use; types of social media users were identified in five clusters: intellectual rejecters, conscious luddites, skeptics, social media impartials, and social media engagers.

Pan and Franklin (2011)

Classroom

Describing the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and the use of Web 2.0 in their classrooms.

Self-efficacy

Quantitative

Data from survey

N = 559 K–12 teachers

 

Teachers tend to doubt their ability to integrate Web 2.0 tools and rarely integrate them. Their self-efficacy, PD, and administrative support predict the frequency of Web 2.0 use in the classroom.

Pritchett et al. (2013)

Classroom & PD

How do teachers perceive the importance of Web 2.0 in the classroom?

Web 2.0 as a classroom tool, prioritizing PD

Quantitative

Data from survey

N = 842 education professionals

Education professionals indicated virtual learning networks, video sharing, and online event scheduling as the most important Web 2.0. Administrators, media specialists, business educators, and female participants had among the highest perceived importance of Web 2.0.

Ranieri et al. (2012)

Informal PD

Understanding the membership and participatory attitudes and behaviors of teachers, and the perceived impact on practice that stems from teaching-based Facebook groups.

Social capital, networks of practice

Quantitative

Data from survey

N = 1,107 teachers from selected Facebook groups

Participation in Facebook groups may positively influence PD, and social networks afford varying kinds of social capital. While different types of groups generate different membership motivations, generally the sharing of relevant professional content was valued equally in all group types.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Rehm and Notten (2016)

Informal PD

Understanding social capital and network formation in teachers’ use of Twitter.

Social capital theory

Quantitative

Data from social network analysis

N = 4,196 Twitter users from #edchatde

Participating in #edchatde contributed to teachers’ social capital, increasing their network connections and facilitating reciprocal resource sharing.

Robson (2017)

Informal PD

Exploring teachers’ professional identities on social media.

Identity theories, professional identity

Qualitative

Ethnography

Data from interviews and posts

N = 20 middle and high school teachers interviewed

Observation of three online spaces (online forum, Facebook page, and Facebook group)

Using social media for online PD does influence teachers’ professional identities. It provides a safe place for self-expression, as well as an opportunity for teachers to manage their identity presentations more strategically to present an idealized self.

Rodesiler (2015)

Informal PD

Describing English teachers’ professional social media participation.

Participatory culture, socio-cultural theory

Qualitative

Data from posts

N = 4 high school English teachers

Four practices in the teachers’ online behaviors were identified: supporting others, seeking support, curating ideas and information, and promoting one’s own content.

Rodesiler (2014)

Informal PD

What features of Web 2.0 do English teachers explore for PD?

Participatory culture, importance of context: surround view and weaving view theory

Qualitative

Data from interviews and posts

N = 5 high school English teachers

The key features identified as being used by English teachers were multimodal affordances, a/synchronous flexibility, classroom teaching experiences, connecting to other teachers, and maintaining a touch of levity.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Rodesiler and Pace (2015)

Informal PD

Describing English teachers’ online professional experiences.

Narrative formation

Qualitative

Data from interviews and posts

N = 5 high school English teachers

Teachers’ experiences with online professional experiences were summarized in six themes: finding relief from isolation, building networks and support, informing thinking and shaping practice, promoting writer identity, identifying new professional opportunities, and increasing support to students.

Rosenberg et al. (2016)

Informal PD

Describing state educational Twitter hashtags as affinity spaces.

Affinity spaces

Quantitative

Data from analytics

N = 500 Twitter profiles analyzed

N = 68,552 unique Twitter users participated in the hashtags analyzed

Participation in the state educational Twitter hashtags was self-driven, active, and reflective of affinity space characteristics. The hashtags were a valuable resource for PD.

Ross et al. (2015)

Informal PD

Exploring if and how teachers are using Twitter for PD and how this compares to their experiences in traditional PD.

PLN, connectivism

Mixed methods

Data analysis from survey and interviews

N = 160 teachers surveyed

N = 32 teachers interviewed

Teachers are using Twitter for collaboration, networking, and PD. Most teachers (90%) reported that they are extremely likely to use Twitter for PD within six months. Twitter provides instant, personalized access to resources and a PLN that meets the needs of teachers better than traditional PD.

Rutherford (2010)        

Informal PD

To what extent can participation in the Ontario teacher Facebook group be considered effective PD?

Qualities of effective PD

Mixed methods

Data from posts and analytics

N = 384 group participants examined

 

The majority of discussion topics in the Facebook group were practical (teaching based). The group facilitated teachers finding and sharing resources, allowing them to take both teacher and student roles.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Schwarz and Caduri (2016)

Classroom

Exploring teachers’ use of social network sites in their classrooms.

Built on Asterhan and Rosenberg’s (2015) findings—3  main categories of how teachers use Facebook to interact with students: academic-

instructional, psycho-pedagogical, and social-relational purposes.

Qualitative

Data from interviews and posts

N = 5 high school teachers

Social media improves students’ social learning, autonomy, and active engagement, creating a meaningful learning community.

Sumuer et al. (2014)

Informal PD

To explore K–12 teachers’ Facebook uses and habits.

Facebook can be used by teachers for a variety of reasons and poses a variety of complications for teachers to consider.

Mixed methods

Data from survey

N = 616 K–12 teachers

Teachers use Facebook daily. The platform is used for both social and PD purposes, so many teachers have privacy concerns regarding connecting with students and parents, not wanting to share personal information.

Thibaut (2015)

Classroom

How are primary school teachers using Edmodo in their classrooms? What literacy practices can be observed among students using the site?

New literacies, social learning

Qualitative

Data from survey, interview, and posts

N = 30 primary students

N = 4 primary teachers

Edmodo allows students to engage in multimodal literacies, facilitating self-directed learning and peer-teaching. Students gained a greater awareness of authorship and audience.





 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Trust (2017a)

Informal PD

How does participation in the Edmodo math subject community shape teacher learning and practice?

Social learning

Qualitative

Data from survey and interviews

N = 150 math teachers surveyed

N = 10 math teachers interviewed

Edmodo was found to inspire teachers’ motivation, empowerment, and innovation. The majority of teachers (64%) reported that the Edmodo math subject community impacted their teaching. Teachers liked the support and resources they gained through the group and appreciated the autonomy of being able to access the group at any time and personalize their own PD experience.

Trust (2017b)

Informal PD

Understanding teachers’ seeking and sharing practices in the Edmodo math subject community.

Professional development network, cultural historical activity theory

Qualitative

Data from survey, interview, posts, and analytics

N = 150 math teachers surveyed

N = 10 math teachers interviewed

Most teachers accessed the group to find new instructional resources. The group was found to be a safe, professional space where teachers could be comfortable seeking support.

Trust (2016)

Informal PD

How are teachers learning on Edmodo?

Social learning

Mixed methods

Data from survey and interview

N = 150 teachers surveyed

N = 10 teachers interviews

A new tool to help teachers develop and evaluate their online learning networks is presented, incorporating 8 stages: defining goals, finding knowledge, assessing knowledge, selecting knowledge, curating knowledge, adapting knowledge, implementing knowledge, and evaluating knowledge.

Trust (2015)

Informal PD

Analyzing math subject community on Edmodo as a community of practice

Community of practice

Mixed methods

Data from survey, interview and post content analysis

N = 150 teachers surveyed

N = 10 teachers interviewed

The math subject community on Edmodo meets the definition of CoP only broadly; the professional development network is offered as an alternative model.

 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Trust et al. (2016)

Informal PD

Understanding teachers’ PLNs.

PLNs

Qualitative

Data collected by survey

N = 732 teachers

 

Teachers reported Twitter as their most commonly used platform for their PLNs, and they found their PLNs to impact their emotions, interests, and attitudes as educators, including their sense of belonging. Teachers also reported their PLNs positively influencing their students’ engagement and learning.

Van Vooren and Bess (2013)

Classroom

Null hypothesis: There is no association between the use of Twitter and the success of students’ performance.

 Digital natives vs. digital immigrants

Quantitative

Data from experimental design

N = 86 students in Grade 8

Students in the experimental group who received communications from their teacher through Twitter scored significantly higher on two standardized tests.

Vázquez-Cano (2012)

Classroom

How does Twitter impact the language learning of students?

ICT competency

Mixed methods

Data from survey, interview, post content analysis, and quasi-experimental design

N = 280 students

N = 15 teachers

Using Twitter improved students’ test scores in key reading and writing competencies.

Veira et al. (2014)

Classroom

How are teachers and students using social media outside the classroom?

Digital natives

Mixed methods, action research

Data from survey, interview and focus groups

N = 283 teachers and students

Students preferred using a Facebook group to Google; students found the discussions and resources in the group useful.




 Study

Category

Research Focus

Framework

Methods, Data Collection* & Sample

Findings

Visser et al. (2014)

Informal PD

How are teachers using Twitter for PD and student interaction?

Personal learning networks

Mixed methods

Data collected from survey

N = 324 teachers

Teachers frequently use Twitter for self-directed PD but do not often contact students through the platform.

Vivitsou et al. (2014)

Classroom

How do teachers use social media for teaching?

Metaphors as extensions of meaning

Qualitative

Data collected from interviews

N = 2 high school teachers

The metaphors used by the teachers revealed the teachers’ values and conceptualizations of the digital technology they use in the classroom.

Wang et al. (2014)

Formal PD

How did formal PD on implementing technology in the classroom impact teachers’ practices and students’ use of technology in their learning?

New literacy studies

Mixed methods, design-based research

Data collected from focus groups, test results, and classroom observations

N = 25 middle school science teachers

The PD led to positive changes in teachers’ classroom practice to more student-centered learning with more integration of ICTs.

Wesely (2013)

Informal PD

Describing the CoP of world language teachers on Twitter.

CoP

Qualitative

Data from interview and post content analysis

N = 9 world language teachers

Teachers used Twitter to support their professional learning.

Zhang et al. (2017)

Formal PD

How are primary school teachers using a social media site (Online Professional Development Platform) for collaborative learning?

 Constructivism

Mixed methods

Data from survey, interview, post content analysis and analytics

N = 83 elementary teachers

Teachers reported that the PD experience improved their learning and professional development; however, low levels of interaction between the teachers were noted.

Note. *Data collection coded for the following categories: use of survey, interview, focus groups, post content analysis, analytics, and control-treatment design. PD = professional development; TPACK = technological pedagogical content knowledge; PLN = professional learning network; community of practice = CoP; ICT = information and communication technology.




Research Methodologies


Mixed-methods designs were most commonly used (N = 26, 43%) in our sample. Qualitative studies were the next most frequent research designs (N = 21, 36%), and quantitative designs were found in only 11 articles (21%). (See Table 2.)

Looking more closely at the types of methods employed, surveys and interviews paired with content analysis of social media posts were the most prevalent approaches. For instance, 31 articles (53%) used either surveys alone (N = 17) or surveys combined with other methods of data collection (N = 14).  Twenty-eight articles (48%) incorporated interviews into at least part of their data collection, and half (48%) included social media post content analysis in at least some part of their data collection. Thirteen articles (22%) drew findings solely from interviews and analysis of social media posts.

The remaining lesser used methods identified from the sample were social media analytics, focus groups, and student test score analysis. Analytics were most used in combination with other forms of data collection; only three articles (5%) relied solely on social media analytics, but a total of 10 articles (17%) used either analytics alone or paired with other methods. Focus groups were present in three articles (5%), two of which (3%) also included survey and interview data. Student test data served as the sole form of data collection in one article (2%); Van Vooren and Bess (2013) used control and treatment groups to investigate whether the implementation of Twitter reminders from the teacher and sent to eighth-grade students in a science class would be related to their level of success on standardized tests.


Research Subjects and Sample Size


The majority of studies focused solely on data directly from teachers (52 out of 58 articles), with all but two sample sizes ranging from 1 to 1,107 participants. Two outlying articles collected more extensive samples using tweets: Rehm and Notten (2016) studied 4,196 unique Twitter users of the #edchatde hashtag, and Rosenberg et al. (2016) studied 69,552 unique Twitter users of the #educattentats hashtag. Although the main focus of this review was on K–12 teachers, three articles (5%) included students, in addition to teachers, in their samples (Forkosh-Baruch et al., 2015; Thibaut, 2015; Vazquez-Cano, 2012). Additionally, three studies (5%) identified unique social media posts rather than individual people (Cinkara & Arslan, 2017; Greenhalgh & Koehler, 2017; Kelly & Antonio, 2016).


Theoretical Frameworks


Participatory, constructivist, and social learning frameworks were the most widely applied frameworks across the sample. Fourteen articles (24%) adopted these theoretical perspectives. The second most frequently used frameworks were professional learning networks (PLNs) and communities of practice (CoPs). PLNs as the only informing theory appeared in five articles (9%), and when including articles that paired PLNs with other underpinnings, PLNs were used in a total of eight articles (14%). CoP as the only informing theory also appeared in five articles (9%), and when including those that paired CoPs with other underpinnings, CoPs were also used in a total of nine articles (16%).

Other theories referenced less frequently were social capital, TPACK, self-efficacy, digital literacies, social network analysis, and affinity spaces. Social capital perspectives were applied in four articles (7%). TPACK, in combination with self-efficacy (two articles, 3%) and authentic learning (one article, 2%), was found in a total of three articles (5%). In addition to its use with TPACK, self-efficacy was applied in three articles (5%). Digital literacy underpinnings were similarly found in a total of three articles. Social network analysis (SNA) was used as the only informing theory of network structure in one article (2%) and paired with an additional theory in a second article. Similarly, affinity spaces appeared as the sole framework in one article (2%) and paired with another theory in one additional article—its overall usage also totaling two articles (3%). The 18 remaining studies (31%) reviewed covered a range of other frameworks not seen in more than one article, including conceptualizations of identity (Robson, 2017), cultural historical activity theory (Trust, 2016), global citizenship (Carpenter & Justice, 2018), and self-regulated learning (Matzat & Vrieling, 2016).


Social Media Affordances Used by Teachers for Various Purposes


Across the reviewed studies, different platforms were used for their various capabilities (see Table 1). For instance, as mentioned in our literature review, open capabilities can widen the context for learning, facilitating more connections to people and content than is otherwise possible within a particular course or classroom. Comparatively, closed capabilities of social media allow the fencing off or bounding of connections; users often need permissions to find or view other users or content. Our findings suggest that teachers use social media along a continuum of open and closed capabilities that resists simple dichotomies. In the sections that follow, we highlight the affordances of social media used by K–12 teachers for various purposes.


Open social media contexts for informal professional learning. The largest group of reviewed studies (25 articles, 43%) focused on the open capabilities of social media. Studies in this category covered Twitter extensively (15 articles, 26%), but also included articles on Facebook (five articles, 9%), Edmodo (four articles, 7%), and other platforms that host teacher-centered communities (i.e., WeTheTeachers, Teacher Focus, and LiveJournal’s teacher community; one article, 2%). None of the articles was set in the K–12 classroom; all emphasized the teachers’ perspectives on informal PD, with a few also interviewing or surveying teachers about their opinions on classroom use. Accessing social media to share resources and connect with communities of practice were common themes. For example, in Noble and colleagues’ (2016) study, four social studies teachers shared how Twitter helped them make connections with other teachers beyond their school building, reflect on their own practice, and build their confidence in the classroom. Of note were the seven articles (12%) covering specific Twitter hashtags (e.g., #edchat). Twitter’s general dominance in teachers’ informal professional learning may be reflective of its more public nature, emphasis on brief but extensive exposure to content, and ease of finding teachers with similar interests through the use of hashtags. Teachers are using Twitter to build far-reaching connections and explore new content (organized by hashtags). For instance, after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, Greenhalgh and Koehler (2017) traced how teachers in France and beyond accessed the Twitter hashtag #educattentats to find “just-in-time” support and resources for addressing the tragedy in their class discussions.


Closed social media environments in formal education. As mentioned earlier, teachers must balance the practices they believe are effective in their own classrooms (i.e., efficacy), with adopting norms to fit into their school (i.e., conformity), with external influences such as the introduction of innovation such as new technologies. Fourteen studies emphasized social media’s closed capabilities. With closed or private social media spaces, teachers created supplementary learning spaces for students, while still protecting or limiting their exposure to external others and content outside of the class. Students grouped in a particular classroom (six articles, 10%) or teachers participating in a particular formal PD (seven articles, 12%) joined a closed social media space to collaborate and learn together within the bounds of their immediate peers. For example, Lindstrom and Niederhauser (2016) explored how three fifth-grade girls used digital literacies as part of their participation on Ning in class. Similarly, in Blonder and Rap’s (2017) study of teachers’ use of Facebook in high school chemistry classrooms, the PD provided to the teachers emphasized using Facebook to create closed classroom groups. All formal PD studies identified in this review embraced closed social media.


Closed social media not only afford bounding a social group, but also provide safeguarding of users’ privacy. This is of particular concern for underage students accessing the Internet and for defining the types of online relationships between teachers and students. A small subset of studies (four studies, 7%) addressed this issue and investigated types of connections between teachers and students on Facebook (Asterhan & Rosenberg, 2015; Forkosh-Baruch et al., 2015; Kuo et al., 2017; Sumuer et al., 2014). Set in Israeli schools, where teachers are prohibited from contacting students on Facebook, Asterhan and Rosenberg (2015) found that teachers frequently communicated with students on the Facebook platform and developed strategies for balancing privacy and authority concerns with getting to know their students. The research indicates that teachers and students find value in online connections and are actively building relationships in these spaces; however, both teachers and students also express concerns and some reluctance to withdraw from traditionally clear personal and school–life boundaries (Kuo et al., 2017; Sumuer et al., 2014).


New terrain: The intersection of open and closed social media. While a portion (12 studies, 21%) did cover multiple platforms or spanned open and closed spaces, research investigating teachers’ use of social media at the intersection of open and closed affordances is rare. Only three studies fell in this category; each focused on different platforms and showcased teachers exploring both closed and open capabilities of social media (Carpenter & Green, 2017; Homan 2014; Vázquez-Cano, 2012).


For instance, Carpenter and Green (2017) explored how teachers used a mobile instant messaging platform, Voxer. They discovered that although the social media itself favored closed qualities (i.e., small-group private chats in which members can share documents, voice memos, and other resources), 85.8% of teachers reported using it to connect with educators outside their state, and 72.5% reported using it to connect with educators outside their district (compared with the 25.4% who reported using Voxer to connect with others at their school).


In Vázquez-Cano’s (2012) study, teachers again blended open and closed affordances, this time in the context of Twitter. Three Spanish high schools participated in an experimental study to see if implementing Twitter as part of students’ Spanish language, social sciences, and natural sciences classes improved their national standardized reading and writing test scores, and findings indicated that scores were significantly higher with the implementation of Twitter. Although the specific levels of openness employed were not clarified (e.g., which, if any, hashtags were used? To what extent did students engage with others outside their immediate classroom peers?), the interactive nature of the Twitter assignments described in the article suggests that students were engaging in content-based conversation in Twitter’s public spaces (i.e., collaborative poetry, stories, or shared-histories and discussion-based prompts).


The third study that showcased a teacher’s exploration of both closed and open capabilities of social media was an ethnographic examining the digital life of one teacher, Sylvia (Homan, 2014). This study was unique in that although the focus was not on how Sylvia used one specific social media platform in ways that blended open and closed affordances, the research did illuminate how Sylvia’s digital identity balanced both ends of the spectrum across platforms. For example, Sylvia wrote a public blog and participated on Twitter, but she also used closed affordances on Facebook to limit her exposure to students until after they graduated. Homan (2014) described how Sylvia’s personal and digital lives melded into one; the distance between online and physical spaces seemed to collapse, and Sylvia found that social media changed the types of interactions she was able to have with her students. Instead of teacher-as-authority communications, she had more “side-by-side” conversations that reshaped students’ learning processes. Other studies that addressed multiple platforms almost exclusively used survey methods aimed at gathering general-use data. We found few in-depth qualitative studies that examine how and for what purposes open and closed affordances become embedded in teachers’ practices.


In summary, the literature suggests that the closed capabilities of social media are most used in the K–12 classroom, whereas the open, public nature of social media is most used for teachers’ informal professional learning. The points of intersection between open and closed social media affordances and how they might function effectively in PD or classroom settings remain underexplored.


K–12 Teaching With Social Media


Interestingly, we found that the majority (N = 44) of the 58 reviewed studies focused on teachers’ professional learning and development. Only 14 studies looked at K–12 teaching with social media from the teacher’s perspective. (See Table 3 for an overview of the reviewed studies.) Of the 14 studies categorized as classroom based, only five focused on a particular lesson or learning activity (Bartow, 2014; Lindstrom & Niederhauser, 2016; Thibaut, 2015;  Van Vorren & Bess, 2013; Veira et al., 2014), and six considered teachers’ social media implementation more broadly through general survey or interview approaches (Carpenter & Justice, 2018; Matzat & Vrieling, 2016; Pan & Franklin, 2011; Schwarz & Caduri, 2016; Vázquez-Cano, 2012; Vivitsou et al., 2014). Three studies were not directly tied to classroom instruction, but instead investigated teacher–student relationships on social media (see the section that follows, which is dedicated to teacher–student interactions). Most studies focus on older students or surveyed teachers across grade levels. Only two of the 11 classroom studies focused on elementary learners (Lindstrom & Niederhauser, 2016; Thibaut, 2015). Similarly, the majority of the articles include various subject areas (seven studies); two studies were set in science classrooms (Van Vorren & Bess, 2013; Veira et al., 2014), and two in English or language classrooms (Lindstrom & Niederhauser, 2016; Vivitsou et al., 2014).


In the following sections, we describe themes in what teachers perceive as the benefits and challenges of implementing social media in their classrooms and the role of social media in teacher–student relationships. Finally, we comment on the lack of attention in the research base to K–12 classroom teaching with social media and their impacts on student learning.


Benefits in classroom implementation. The benefits of bringing social media into the classroom resonated across the studies, echoing themes of connectedness and engagement. As mentioned in our introduction, a common goal of teachers is facilitating a connected and engaging learning environment; using social media, teachers were able to facilitate students’ relationship building not only with local classmates (Lindstrom & Niederhauser, 2016; Schwarz & Caduri, 2016), but also with global peers (Carpenter & Justice, 2018). Carpenter and Justice (2018) surveyed 516 teachers from 14 countries participating in an international social-media-based teaching effort called the Global Read Aloud (GRA). The goal of the program was to help teach global readiness; Carpenter and Justice adopted Kerkhoff ’s (2017) definition of global readiness as “global citizenship with the multiliteracies necessary in the 21st century to participate, collaborate, and work in a global society” (Carpenter & Justice, 2018, p. 66). The use of social media such as Facebook and Edmodo facilitated the success of the GRA by allowing teachers to connect with classrooms that would otherwise be outside their reach and expand students’ perception of “community.” Social media were used to break down the isolation of classroom walls and situate students’ learning within wider social contexts.


Teachers’ use of social media in their teaching also helped promote students’ critical thinking and self-directed and active learning. Several studies investigating the role and impact of social media in the classroom found that teachers reported on how platform implementation benefitted student learning experiences. For instance, based on interviews with middle school teachers and students about how they perceived the functionality of Twitter in the classroom, Vázquez-Cano (2012) concluded that the platform facilitated the creation of community, offered relevant applications of technology within the classroom, and inspired students’ self-discovery and the development of critical attitudes. Schwarz and Caduri (2016) noted that when asked to share how, why, and for what purpose they incorporated social media into their classrooms, high school teachers reported using social media to increase social learning, autonomy, and active participation in their students. In Thibaut’s (2015) study of elementary teachers’ and students’ uses of Edmodo for literacy practices, analysis of Edmodo posts, classroom observations, and interviews with teachers and students showed that the platform increased awareness of audience and authorship, prompting more interactive and collaborative learning and less teacher-centered work. Social media was found to empower students to take ownership of their learning and embrace education as a connected experience


Challenges to classroom implementation. As noted in the opening to this article, multiple factors influence the integration of innovation (i.e., technology) into the school ecosystem (Zhao & Frank, 2003). Although none of the 11 classroom studies warned against implementing social media in the K–12 classroom, five studies noted important challenges that teachers faced when they tried to integrate platforms meaningfully into lessons. Teachers faced barriers from outside of their classroom, stemming from lack of supportive policy, or school administrators and curriculum restrictions (Bartow, 2014; Carpenter & Justice, 2018). Additionally, teachers must refine new pedagogical strategies for navigating the new learning spaces created by social media. For example, in Lindstrom and Niederhauser (2016), the teachers only retrospectively recognized the essential literacy and identity work woven into students’ profile creation on Ning. They also reflected on the importance of modeling formal versus informal language expectations for students before embarking on future projects asking students to compose profiles for “formal” learning in an “informal” space. Teachers also had concerns about the time and effort it took to implement social media (Bartow, 2014; Veira et al., 2014). Mastering new tools and committing to managing and assessing learning in complex spaces can easily be overwhelming and discouraging. Pan and Franklin’s (2011) survey of 559 teachers summarized the sentiments echoed across our reviewed studies: Professional development, self-efficacy, and support from school administration were all predictors of teachers’ use of social media with their students. Teachers need to be prepared, feel prepared, and have reassurance from their school and local policy that social media is a learning tool worth investing time and effort in using.


Teacher–student interactions. One goal of effective teachers is encouraging teacher–student interactions and getting to know students as individuals (Bransford et al., 1999). Of the 14 studies exploring teaching with social media, three emphasized defining and managing teacher–student interactions in digital spheres. Israel was the setting for two of these studies, reflecting the fact that Israel has attempted strong central-government regulation of teacher use of social media. For instance, Asterhan and Rosenberg (2015) examined the Facebook interactions of students and teachers in Israel, where, at the time data were collected (June–October 2012), the government officially prohibited student–teacher interaction on social media. Nevertheless, of 178 teachers surveyed, 70% were active Facebook users; of those, 54% responded that they had past or current connections on Facebook with students (Asterhan & Rosenberg, 2015). Although the majority of teachers surveyed (62%) suggested that teachers avoid friending students on Facebook, 38% encouraged this practice (Asterhan & Rosenberg, 2015). Teacher survey responses were supplemented by interviews with 11 teachers who had been using social media to communicate with students for at least one year. Teachers’ motivations for interacting with their students via social media included “monitoring and getting to know the students’ world better (20.72%), improving personal relationships with students (12.42%), improving teacher’s status (11.90%), academic (learning) purposes (18.57%), and management and organization (12.71%)” (Asterhan & Rosenberg, 2015, p. 137). The authors grouped concerns related to teachers’ use of Facebook with students into three categories according to the type of boundary that can be blurred when teachers and students interact on social media: privacy boundaries, authority/friendship boundaries, and availability/responsibility boundaries.


Another Israel-based study on teacher–student interactions (Forkosh-Baruch et al., 2015) surveyed 160 teachers and 587 students in middle and high school. This study explored the characteristics of teachers and students who are willing to connect via Facebook in comparison with those who are not. Forkosh-Baruch et al. (2015) used Likert-scale questions adapted from the Teacher-Student Relationship Inventory, a tool created to measure teachers’ assessments of their relationships with students. Forkosh-Baruch et al. (2015) found that generally, teachers who are open to interacting with students on Facebook tend to be younger, newer to the profession, and more experienced on Facebook than are teachers who are less enthusiastic about Facebook as a medium for connecting with students. Transaction costs may be higher for teachers new to the technology or for veteran teachers in school contexts resistant to social media or with more to lose if things go wrong (Frank et al., 2010). Further, Forkosh-Baruch et al. (2015) found that students open to connecting with teachers on Facebook tend to be older, with higher numbers of Facebook friends than their peers. Students willing to connect with teachers on Facebook also are more likely to be male. Among both teachers and students comfortable with teacher–student Facebook interaction, there is a tendency to view social media as a potential tool for learning and a preference that schools stop restricting use of social media in classrooms. Overall, Forkosh-Baruch et al. (2015) concluded that teacher–student relationships are more complex in digital spaces than they are in face-to-face contexts.


Kuo et al. (2017) also examined teacher–student relationships on social media; they surveyed 435 secondary teachers in Taiwan about their willingness to accept friend requests on Facebook from a range of people associated with their work, including fellow educators, students in a class the teacher is teaching, students in the teacher’s current homeroom, other students known to the teacher, and students with whom the teacher had no prior relationship. The researchers found that male teachers were more likely to friend colleagues, students who are unknown to the teacher, and current homeroom students. The identity of the friend requester also was an important factor in the teacher’s decision to connect with the requester or not. Teachers were most likely to respond positively to friend requests from coworkers outside of school administration. Teachers were least likely to accept friend requests from unknown students. Kuo et al. (2017) explored teacher responses to questions about privacy and ethical boundaries and found that privacy concerns were widely expressed by teachers, but their use of privacy controls in Facebook was not universal. Teachers reported more use of such controls when connecting on Facebook with students whom the teachers did not know, students in their current classes, and administrators.


Impacts on students’ learning. Only two studies in this review focused on attempting to measure the impact of K–12 teachers’ use of social media in their classrooms on student learning. Van Vooren and Bess (2013) evaluated the impact of reminder tweets from teachers on the performance of 86 U.S. students, as measured by their scores on homework and tests. In a control classroom, teachers employed more traditional reminding techniques, such as writing on the board and giving spoken reminders. They found that the teachers’ reminder tweets were effective in increasing student performance.


Vázquez-Cano (2012) attempted to capture the impact of teachers’ social media use on student learning by surveying 280 students and 15 teachers in Spain about their social media use related to learning. They found that students who reported more engagement with social media in educational contexts tended to score higher in reading and writing on Spain’s national assessment test than their peers who were less engaged with social media for learning.


Teacher Professional Development With Social Media


The vast majority of articles (N = 44, 76%) covered teachers’ social media use for professional learning: formal and informal. As mentioned earlier, formal PD includes structured, official development opportunities, such as classes or trainings offered through schools, districts, or other professional organizations. Informal PD encompasses teachers’ self-directed learning activities typically outside a class, course, or workshop. Twitter chats and Facebook groups are two examples of voluntary, additional learning activities that teachers access. Only seven articles (12%) discussed social media as a part of formal PD (Bicen & Uzunboylu, 2013; Blonder et al., 2013; Blonder & Rap, 2017; Goodyear et al., 2014; Jimoyiannis et al., 2013; Wang et al., 2014; Zhang et al., 2017), while 33 articles (57%) studied social media as part of informal PD. We focus on trends in both groups of studies next.


Formal learning with social media: Aims and impacts. The aim of the majority of formal PD opportunities studied was to improve teachers’ technology integration in their classrooms (Bicen & Uzunboylu, 2013; Blonder et al., 2013; Blonder & Rap, 2017; Jimoyiannis et al., 2013; Wang et al., 2014). Both platform-specific and content-specific trainings were studied—that is, Facebook (Bicen & Uzunboylu, 2013); YouTube in chemistry (Blonder et al., 2013); Facebook in chemistry (Blonder & Rap, 2017); and middle school science (Wang et al., 2014)—as were general Web 2.0 trainings (Jimoyiannis et al., 2013).


Courses not focused on social media integration generally or content-specific technology integration used the technology as part of the teachers’ formal learning experience (Goodyear et al., 2014; Zhang et al., 2017). In these studies, social media played a positive role in the formal PD course, but this role was emergent rather than engineered. For instance, in the Goodyear et al. study (2014), the PD facilitators had not planned to use social media to support teachers in making pedagogical changes, but they found, through the course of their two-year study, that Facebook and Twitter were spaces outside the school building where they could offer participating teachers moral support, encouragement, and additional resources. Furthermore, teachers began engaging with each other through social media, sharing resources and affirmations of classroom efforts.


In reviewing the literature, we identified that there was a lack of underlying pedagogy for PD. An exception was Jimoyiannis and colleagues’ study (2013), which articulated a design-based learning approach in which teachers created materials for their classrooms; most studies depicted PD broadly in terms of the number of hours or sessions involved, with few details about the course design. These formal PD efforts were not typically tied to national or international reform initiatives or standards, except one effort that was tied to Common Core Standards (Wang et al., 2014) and a second, led by the Web 2.0 European Resource Centre supported by the European Union, that trained teachers on how to increase meaningful Web 2.0 implementations in their classrooms (Jimoyiannis et al., 2013).


Although we were interested in how social media are perceived and used by teachers for their professional learning, with what impacts on teaching practices, few formal PD studies actually tracked changes in teachers’ practices and/or in students’ learning. Only four studies considered the impact of PD on teachers’ practices, beyond their self-reported intent to change (Blonder et al., 2013; Blonder & Rap, 2017; Goodyear et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2014). In these studies, the researchers followed the participants for a length of time after the PD intervention to determine what, if any, lasting changes were made. Following up with participants via formal interviews was one approach (Blonder et al., 2013; Blonder & Rap, 2017), as was PD facilitators’ use of social media to maintain contact with participants and support them in making pedagogical changes over time (Goodyear et al., 2014). Wang et al. (2014) studied two cohorts of teachers and students, using the first iteration of the PD course to inform revisions for the second cohort. In addition to conducting multiple follow-up focus groups with the teachers across the three years of data collection, the researchers attempted to capture changes in student learning. They found that students’ confidence on a survey of information and communication technology (ICT) skills was higher in the experimental group than in the control group but cautioned that other factors could have influenced the results. Thus, while acknowledging the importance of formal PD that has a lasting impact on teachers’ and their students’ learning, few studies of formal teacher PD with social media actually assessed any impact or change over time.


Informal learning with social media. At the beginning of this article, we summarized prior research on teachers’ informal learning that suggested that teachers turn to these communities and networks, including those beyond school boundaries, to find inspiration, unique resources, diverse expertise, and more, perhaps especially in managing innovation (Frank et al., 2011). Of the 58 reviewed articles, 33—the largest portion of our data set—present research on how social media are perceived and used by teachers for their informal professional learning. These studies emphasize the affordances of social media both as doorways to wider networks of knowledge and as spaces that address teachers’ more immediate individual and social needs (e.g., combating loneliness, finding emotional support). The following sections present the four emergent themes that we identified with respect to teachers’ informal learning with social media: self-directed learning; revisiting communities and networks; defining meaningful participation; and impacts on teachers’ practice.


Self-directed learning. The most prominent theme, present in two thirds of this subset of articles, was teachers’ references to social media as providing just-in-time supports for their individualized needs. Self-directed learning, or facilitating learners’ choice and control over what and how they learn and at what pace, is advocated in recent U.S. educational policies (Office of Educational Technology, 2017) and manifested here in our findings. For example, in Holmes et al. (2013), educators exercised autonomy over their learning; they used Twitter to share and find resources, as well as for social support. In T. Davis (2013), teachers reported most valuing their professional learning network (PLN) on social media because of its 24/7 availability, diversity, community, and general ease of use. Across the studies, teachers appreciated the flexibility of social media as spaces that were always convenient and adaptable to their individual needs (Carpenter & Green, 2017; Greenhalgh & Koehler, 2017; Hur & Brush, 2009; Lapham & Lindemann-Komarova, 2013; Rodesiler, 2014; Ross et al., 2015; Wesely, 2013).


The convenience teachers ascribed to social media was tied to the range of resources made available through shared materials and diverse networks. In Carpenter and Krutka’s (2015) study of teachers’ Twitter use, Twitter was found to be efficient, accessible, and interactive, connecting teachers to communities and teaching-related resources beyond their immediate schools and districts. Many studies noted the importance that teachers placed on resource sharing in particular (e.g., Cinkara & Arslan, 2017; Ranieri et al., 2012; Rutherford, 2010; Sumuer et al., 2014; Trust, 2016, 2017a, 2017b).


Furthermore, this theme of teachers tapping into social media for self-directed, informal professional learning encompassed more than exercising control over what, how, when, and from whom they accessed relevant resources; teachers were also seeking relief from isolation and emotional support from networks of peers (Ab Rashid, 2017; Kelly & Antonio, 2016). For example, in Visser et al. (2014), Twitter served as more than self-directed PD; it served as a public space in which teachers reportedly engaged in meaningful interpersonal relationships within a participatory culture. The study’s authors defined participatory culture as informal memberships within an online community in which individuals can express themselves, contribute and produce information, learn from and collaborate with others, and share or contribute their creations and knowledge (Jenkins et al., 2006). Teachers stepped into social media spaces to combat the isolation of their individual classrooms and build a sense of belonging with others (K. Davis, 2015; Rodesiler & Pace, 2015; Trust et al., 2016).


Community. A second theme present in the research on how teachers used social media for informal professional learning focused on its community aspects. Specifically, a number of studies examined #edchat, a teacher-initiated weekly conversation on Twitter—designated with the Twitter hashtag #edchat—that draws thousands of teacher-participants from around the world. For instance, through the lens of CoP theory, Britt and Paulus (2016) examined a group of teachers meeting online via #edchat to discuss their own PD. The researchers identified several indicators of a strong community of practice, including sustained relationships, quick agreement on problems to be tackled, and speedy information-sharing. Similarly, using interviews and analysis of online activity within #edchat, K. Davis (2015) found it to be a supportive, learner-centered space for educators: “While participants experienced the pace and volume of information as being overwhelming at times, educators developed skills to manage this and perceived discussions to be learner-centered and supportive” (p. 1551). K. Davis (2015) described teachers’ collaborative inquiry and the sense of belonging that teachers found through Twitter. Gao and Li (2017) analyzed the network structure and practices within one hour on #edchat. The researchers found that almost 60% of the posts in the hour studied were about how to integrate technology into teaching (Gao & Li, 2017). Other posts were about building relationships and related topics. Rehm and Notten (2016) looked at a German-language version of #edchat (i.e., #edchatde) from a social capital perspective. The researchers found that teachers developed social capital, or “relational resources and knowledge,” by participating in this Twitter community (Rehm & Notten, 2016, p. 220). Wesely (2013) conducted a netnography, or ethnography of Internet cultures, of teachers participating in #edchat, with a focus on how these teachers used their social media contacts over a year to develop a community of practice. The study found “evidence that an online, dispersed CoP focused on PD for teachers can successfully support learning in a variety of ways” (p. 315). In aggregate, these studies depict a widely popular, teacher-driven space within social media that demonstrated aspects of an informal professional learning community or network. Britt and Paulus (2016), quoting one teacher’s tweet, stated, “I learned more in a year on Twitter than my previous fourteen years in education. #edchat” (p. 57).


On the other hand, disagreements regarding the framing of teachers’ professional learning in social media—that is, as a community of practice, learning network, affinity space, or something else—were evident in the literature. Of the 33 studies addressing teachers’ informal learning, six applied a CoP framework (Britt & Paulus, 2016; K. Davis, 2015; Holmes et al., 2013; Hur & Brush, 2009; Trust, 2015; Wesely, 2013), five applied PLN perspectives (T. Davis, 2013; Noble et al., 2016; Ross et al., 2015; Trust et al., 2016; Visser et al., 2014), two used affinity spaces (Carpenter & Krutka, 2015; Rosenberg et al., 2016), one proposed a network of practice (Ranieri et al., 2012), and one generated the notion of a professional development network (Trust, 2017b). As mentioned earlier, just as teachers are tapping social media’s open and closed capabilities for various purposes, forging new terrain in their intersections, teachers are also tapping into social media for professional learning in ways that problematize existing definitions and resist conventional boundaries. For example, although several studies conceptualize teachers’ informal learning within social media (e.g., #edchat) as CoPs (K. Davis, 2015; Holmes et al., 2013; Hur & Brush, 2009; Wesely, 2013), other studies suggest that existing definitions of CoPs are inadequate to describe the networking practices observed. Britt and Paulus (2016) argued that #edchat meets most aspects of a CoP, but also that teachers’ informal learning with Twitter is “redefining what constitutes an online CoP” (p. 57) and what should be considered effective PD. Similarly, Trust (2015) concluded that the math subject community on Edmodo aligned with only some aspects of a CoP; she generated instead a new framework from her findings: a professional development network.


Participation. As noted earlier, understanding teachers’ informal learning with social  media as meaningful participation (Sfard, 1998) in communities of practice (e.g., Britt & Paulus, 2016; Trust, 2015; Wenger, 1998), PLNs (e.g., Trust, 2012), or affinity spaces (e.g., Carpenter & Krutka, 2014; Rosenberg et al., 2016) is a prevalent theme in the literature; however, about a fifth of the studies in the informal learning category (seven out of 33) also noted a lack of active participation among many teacher-users. Robson (2017), for instance, described teachers’ passive and active engagement on Facebook and a discussion forum, tying both forms of engagement to professional identity construction. Greenhalgh and Koehler (2017) noted that approximately 11% of participants in #educattentats posted original tweets and that more than half of the original tweets were contributed by the most active 1% of contributors. Cinkara and Arslan (2017), Gao and Li (2017), Rosenberg et al. (2016) and Rutherford (2010) reported similar findings among teachers on Twitter and in Facebook groups: Participation was most characterized as active among a small group of users with few posts per teacher on average. Trust (2017b), who studied teachers’ participation in the math subject community on Edmodo, found that large numbers of users (thousands) viewed and shared resources gathered from the math subject community wall, but very few teachers added material to the wall or interacted with the creator through comments: The wall grew by 5–10 new posts each day, and posts received an average of only 4.9 comment replies. Considering the self-direction, community, and just-in-time affordances that teachers reportedly value on social media, these studies suggest some discrepancies between perceived benefits and their distribution and measured utilization. Our data set indicates rich insights from the most active users, yet the majority of teachers accessing social media platforms are not well represented. Moreover, as we consider what teachers’ learning as participation means in these social media contexts, we know even less about indirect participation and contribution (e.g., liking, sharing, favoriting, retweeting, mentioning, replying) beyond original posts, like tweets or comments, or the impacts of these forms of participation on the participant or the community, network, or space.


Impacts on teachers’ practices. Although the reviewed studies report informal learning on social media as meeting many of teachers’ individualized needs that are not easily addressed through formal trainings, there was only limited discussion of how this more self-directed PD impacted pedagogy. Four of the 33 studies in this category directly considered changes in teacher practices, most incorporating self-report questions asking teachers to reflect on whether they perceived growth in their pedagogy (Carpenter & Green, 2017; Trust, 2017a; Trust et al., 2016). All four studies indicate teachers’ belief in the positive changes informal PD brings to their teaching. In Trust and colleagues’ (2016) study, for example, 68% of teachers reported that their PLNs impacted their practice and learning. Noble et al. (2016) offered perhaps the most in-depth view on the impact of informal learning experiences in the classroom. Interviews with the four social studies teachers in this study revealed that trust was important in making online PD through Twitter effective; it increased teachers’ confidence. Teachers cited specific examples of how their experiences on Twitter inspired more student-centered teaching, such as facilitating creative project-based assignments, integrating live Twitter streams into lessons, and adopting “flipped” classroom approaches in which students interacted with content online outside of class, complemented by active, hands-on in-class activities. Although the literature supports social media as a promising informal learning space for teachers, the field lacks supporting evidence for this claim beyond teacher approval. Critical directions for research on teachers’ PD are to examine how teachers are (or are not) applying what they learn on social media and what changes in pedagogy or practices they are making as a result.


LIMITATIONS


A limitation of this review is that by incorporating only research published in English and in peer-reviewed, education-related journals, we overlook potentially similar or divergent trends in non-English-speaking countries and in other disciplines that could help broaden and enrich our perspective (e.g., see Rehm et al., 2019, for a network analysis of the social media in education research across multiple disciplines). Another limitation is the array of terms that researchers use without agreement regarding what they mean—“social media,” “learning,” “engagement,” “global,” and so on—such that different uses of these terms necessarily change how we view the findings and the conclusions we can draw.  


DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS


This literature review examined how social media are perceived and used by K–12 teachers for their teaching or professional learning, with what impacts on teachers and their students. We hope that addressing this question is a first step toward defining beneficial teacher practices with social media and understanding how the interplay between various types of professional learning opportunities can facilitate such practices.

Although research on K–12 teaching and teacher learning with social media is on the rise, the current knowledge base covers mainly teachers’ informal professional learning. Social media have been widely adopted, with potential research contexts around the world, yet research in English has been carried out mainly in developed countries in North America, the Middle East and Europe, with a focus on Twitter and Facebook and on secondary-level schooling. This situation could be due to the pace of research, which typically lags behind technological advancements, as well as education policies, technical infrastructures, or organizational cultures that constrain the adoption of social media in education and limit the scope of these findings to the regions represented in the reviewed studies (Macià & Garcia, 2016).


In terms of methods, we found that mixed-methods and qualitative research approaches dominated in the reviewed studies. This finding is consistent with what others have found (e.g., Macià & Garcia, 2016) and with the early state of the field. With social media rising to mainstream use only since the early 2000s, we are still in the beginning stages of theorization and research, with an abundance of implementation studies, or studies that investigate how technologies already in use are being implemented and attempt to explain how, why, and for whom the technological approach works well in given situations (Roblyer, 2005). This type of study contrasts with other types needed to advance the field of education and educational technology, most notably studies that establish the technology’s effectiveness at improving student learning; that report on common uses to shape educational practices; and that monitor impact on important societal goals (e.g., equity goals, citizenship goals; Roblyer, 2005).


Despite the prevalence of survey methods, we were encouraged by the number of studies that incorporated teachers’ understandings of social media (e.g., through interviews or focus groups) and digital artifacts of practice (e.g., social media posts). We need more research efforts that triangulate teachers’ and students’ perceptions and experiences of social media with observations of what they actually do within particular platforms. Data on teachers’ pedagogy and students’ work as evidence of learning—beyond test scores—are especially important in this regard. We also advocate design-based research, which focuses on the collaborative and iterative development of interventions in context (Brown, 1992; Collins, 1992). In design-based studies, practitioners and researchers collaborate to develop, adjust, and evaluate new practices. Through iterative cycles of design, implementation, and study in naturalistic settings, design research can help teachers’ and technology co-evolve (Zhao & Frank, 2003).


Along with these methodologies, social media provide opportunities to expand educational research practices because of (a) digital traces created and left behind with social media use, (b) the scalability of data, as these traces can be studied in their minutiae or collected en masse, and (c) emergent forms of digital methods, such as new ways of combining human and machine methods necessary to conduct both large-scale and small-scale studies (Greenhow et al., 2019, in press). For instance, Staudt Willet (2019) collected digital traces related to approximately 1.2 million tweets containing “#edchat,” which provided an opportunity to study both broad trends in educators’ contributions to ongoing conversations about educational practices organized by the #edchat hashtag on Twitter, and the specific purposes evidenced by the content of these tweets. Taken together, digital traces, scalability of trace data, and emergent digital methods provide new techniques and contexts for educational researchers’ exploration.


Conceptually, the different theoretical models present in the reviewed studies limit comparison of findings across studies. For instance, the variations in definitions used to conceptualize the informal learning structures studied—communities, networks, or a combination thereof—align with the diversity of frameworks uncovered by Macià and Garcia’s review (2016) of research on teachers’ online informal learning generally. However, as Trust (2015) and Britt and Paulus (2012) have demonstrated, this variation also helps generate new models where existing ones fail to help us understand these complex phenomena, such as teacher learning that occurs at the intersection of traditionally defined formal and informal learning structures.


Interestingly, only one quarter of the reviewed studies actually focused on classroom teaching with social media in K–12 education. Among this subset, only five articles addressed subject matter teaching with social media in a particular lesson or learning activity, and of these, only one study (Van Vorren & Bess, 2013) attempted to connect teaching with social media (i.e., Twitter) to student learning or outcomes. Despite this lack of evidence of the clear connections between teaching with social media and impacts on teachers’ practices or students’ learning, teachers perceived the integration of social media as benefitting student engagement and connections between students, between students and teachers, and, in one case, to a “global citizenry” beyond school walls (Carpenter & Justice, 2018). That said, reformers’ visions of opening the contexts for learning and exposing students to distributed expertise and resources beyond classroom and school borders were not realized in this literature (Office of Educational Technology, 2017). Likely contributing to this gap between the vision of technology in education and the reality are the challenges reported in the reviewed research to implementing social media in classrooms (e.g., lack of supportive policies, curriculum constraints, lack of time, negotiating social media as an informal learning space within a formal learning setting). These challenges align with those previously identified in the technology integration literature, such as negotiating local school norms and expectations of academic work with external social media norms and literacies (Zhao & Frank, 2003). As stated in the U.S. National Educational Technology Plan (Office of Educational Technology, 2017), using technology such as social media to bridge informal and formal learning across home, school, and community is often a “missed opportunity”:


Historically, a learner’s educational opportunities have been limited by the resources found within the walls of a school. Technology-enabled learning allows learners to tap resources and expertise anywhere in the world, starting with their own communities. . . . Few schools have adopted approaches for using technology to support informal learning experiences aligned with formal learning goals. Supporting learners in using technology for out-of-school learning experiences is often a missed opportunity. (pp. 8–9)


Teacher PD is often cited in the technology integration literature as very important to helping teachers improve or reform their practices. As mentioned earlier, the majority of reviewed studies addressed the integration of social media for teachers’ formal or informal professional learning. Teachers’ formal PD focused on content-specific technology integration or the integration of social media generally in one’s teaching but did not mainly assess the impact of the PD on either teachers’ practices or students’ learning. The field would benefit from more design-based research that examined the development, implementation, and assessment of social-media-enabled teaching and learning over time, including digital trace data and social media analytics, which could document teachers’ and students’ work as evidence.


Furthermore, our literature review revealed that teachers turned to social media for informal learning purposes. They used social media, mainly Twitter, to direct their own learning and participate in communities and networks. Our findings that teachers’ main practices in using social media—resource exchange, garnering emotional and social support, learning about technology integration and other topics, and combating isolation—aligned with those reported in similar reviews (Macià & Garcia, 2016). However, as we consider teachers’ informal learning through the lens of learning as participation (Sfard, 1998), the lack of participation among teachers on social media, as reported in several studies, gives us pause. What does meaningful teacher participation for learning on social media look like, and how should it be fostered and measured today? Preece et al. (2004), in studying online communities more than 15 years ago, suggested that people use communities online to lurk, or observe, for several reasons: They wish to understand community norms and conventions before participating, they question whether their participation will be helpful to others; they lack the technical skills to post; or they do not need to post. Macia and Garcia (2016) argued that the notion of “communities” is problematized in the informal teacher professional development literature; research documents the lack of discussion, consensus, and teaching materials posted by a minority of teachers in these online spaces while the majority of teachers use them without posting feedback. On the other hand, as we have seen, technologies such as social media extend and reframe how people organize and express boundaries and relationships (Carpenter et al., 2019; Wenger et al., 2009), making new conceptions of communities and networks possible that, in turn, require a reframing of meaningful participation as learning:


The potential of holding groups of different dimensions . . . degree of public openness, and the opportunity to join new communities . . . make new kinds of participation possible. This kind of participation is an important source of learning for teachers who observe but do not directly participate, although active members are not always aware of this invisible process. (Macià & Garcia, p. 293)


Research on teachers’ informal learning online is not extensive in contrast to the vast number of studies that have investigated teachers’ formal PD online (Dede et al., 2009). The field needs more research on how and why teachers acquire knowledge and learn through participation in informal learning opportunities via social media, including those “invisible” or indirect processes of reading, curating (e.g., favoriting), sharing, passing along others’ information (retweeting), and more. In addition, we need more research on what impact participating in these social media configurations has on teachers’ PD, especially their development of new or improved teaching practices. Our findings extend those of Macià and Garcia (2016), who noted in their literature review on teachers’ informal learning online that none of the research reports impact teachers’ classroom practices, making it “difficult to establish direct links between conversations and activities on social media and intentional changes in classroom practice” (p. 304). We need research that goes beyond teachers’ reported perceptions of positive change to examine actual artifacts of teaching and students’ learning.


We also need educational research that investigates the interplay, or boundary crossings, between teachers’ formal and informal learning with social media tied to changes in pedagogy. Recent research suggests that online participation in informal PLNs should be combined with other forms of PD to provide the mechanisms for teachers to contextualize their conversations in practice. In Cranefield and Yoong (2009), the existence of “multiple engagement spaces (communication and sense-making settings) in combination with the focus of a professional change programme created a high number of boundary crossings opportunities and activities” (p. 270), which required recontextualizations and personalization of new professional knowledge. What is the interplay between teachers’ learning through knowledge acquisition and participation in formal PD, and their learning through informal interactions with local and external teacher-networks? How does this interplay affect teachers’ implementation of innovations? Frank et al. (2018) argued that the intersections of


formal and informal processes raises an interesting proposition about the primacy of either. On the one hand, informal interactions among teachers can affect teachers’ commitment and sense of efficacy . . . on the other hand, implementation reforms certainly depend on the direct support of formal leaders. (p. 305)


If teachers are shaped through conformity to school norms, school-based teacher social networks, and formal PD opportunities (Frank et al., 2018), informal networks of teachers via social media that transcend the school boundary can also shape teachers and schools, and provide important new terrain for educational research.


Finally, the field needs ethical and critical work in pursuing this agenda for research on social media in education. Recent controversies have hit social media companies. Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of millions of Facebook users’ personal data without consent and for political purposes drew outrage from users, politicians, and consumer activists (Perrin, 2018). Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have long touted making the world “more open and connected” (Jacoby, 2018), but this has included “connecting” hate groups, conspiracy theorists, and more, and the benefits of integrating social media into education are not equitably distributed as women, people of color, and other minoritized groups are most often harassed online (Nagle, 2018). Thus, we need more clarity about what we mean by these terms: “connected,” “community,” “open,” and more. They should not be proxies for educative experiences as these can also be mis-educative (Krutka et al., 2019).


References


Ab Rashid, R. (2017). Dialogic reflection for professional development through conversations on a social networking site. Reflective Practice, 19(1), 105–117. https://doi.org/10.1080/14623943.2017.1379385

 

Ajjan, H., & Hartshorne, R. (2008). Investigating faculty decisions to adopt Web 2.0 technologies: Theory and empirical tests. The Internet and Higher Education, 11, 71–30.

 

Alias, N., Sabdan, M. S., Aziz, K. A., Mohammed, M., Hamidon, I. S., & Jomhari, N. (2013). Research trends and issues in the studies of Twitter: A content analysis of publications in selected journals (2007–2012). Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 103, 773–780.

 

Asterhan, C. S. C., & Rosenberg, H. (2015). The promise, reality and dilemmas of secondary school teacher–student interactions in Facebook: The teacher perspective. Computers & Education, 85, 134–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2015.02.003

 

Aydin, S. (2012). A review of research on Facebook as an educational environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(6), 1093–1106.

 

Bartow, S. M. (2014). Teaching with social media: Disrupting present day public education. Educational Studies, 50(1), 36–64. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131946.2013.866954

 

Bicen, H., & Uzunboylu, H. (2013). The use of social networking sites in education: A case study of Facebook. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 19(5), 658–671.

 

Blonder, R., Jonatan, M., Bar-Dov, Z., Benny, N., Rap, S., & Sakhnini, S. (2013). Can you tube it? Providing chemistry teachers with technological tools and enhancing their self-efficacy beliefs. Chemistry Education. Research and Practice, 14(3), 269–285. https://doi.org/10.1039/C3RP00001J

 

Blonder, R., & Rap, S. (2017). I like Facebook: Exploring Israeli high school chemistry teachers’ TPACK and self-efficacy beliefs. Education and Information Technologies, 22(2), 697–724. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-015-9384-6

 

boyd, d., & Ellison, N. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210–230.

 

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning.

 

Britt, V. G., & Paulus, T. (2016). “Beyond the four walls of my building”: A case study of #Edchat as a community of practice. American Journal of Distance Education, 30(1), 48–59. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2016.1119609

 

Brown, A. L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2(2), 141–178.

 

Buettner, R. (2013). The utilization of Twitter in lectures. GI-Jahrestagung, 244-254.

 

Carpenter, J. P., & Green, T. D. (2017). Mobile instant messaging for professional learning: Educators’ perspectives on and uses of Voxer. Teaching and Teacher Education, 68, 53–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2017.08.008

 

Carpenter, J. P., & Justice, J. E. (2018). Can technology support teaching for global readiness? The case of the Global Read Aloud. LEARNing Landscapes, 11(1), 65–85.

 

Carpenter, J. P., Kimmons, R., Short, C.R., Clements, K., & Staples, M. E. (2019). Teacher identity and crossing the personal-professional divide on twitter. Teaching and Teacher Education, 81, 1–12.

 

Carpenter, J. P., & Krutka, D. G. (2014). How and why educators use Twitter: A survey of the field. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(4), 414–434.

 

Carpenter, J. P., & Krutka, D. G. (2015). Engagement through microblogging: Educator professional development via Twitter. Professional Development in Education, 41(4), 707–728. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2014.939294

 

Cinkara, E., & Arslan, F. Y. (2017). Content analysis of a Facebook group as a form of mentoring for EFL teachers. English Language Teaching, 10(3), 40. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v10n3p40

 

Collins, A. (1992). Toward a design science of education. In New directions in educational technology (pp. 15–22). Springer-Verlag.

 

Cranefield, J., & Yoong, P. (2009). Crossings: Embedding personal professional knowledge in a complex online community environment. Online Information Review, 33(2), 257–275.

 

Crook, C. (2012). The “digital native” in context: Tensions associated with importing Web 2.0 practices into the school setting. Oxford Review of Education, 38(1), 63–80.

 

Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in schools, 1980-2000. Harvard University Press.

 

Davis, K. (2015). Teachers’ perceptions of Twitter for professional development. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(17), 1551–1558. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2015.1052576

 

Davis, T. (2013). Building and using a personal/professional learning network with social media. The Journal of Research in Business Education, 55(1), 1–13.

 

Dede, C., Ketelhut, D. J., Whitehouse, P., Breit, L., & McCloskey, E. M. (2009). A research agenda for online teacher professional development. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), 8–19.

 

DiVall, M. V., & Kirwin, J. L. (2012). Using Facebook to facilitate course-related discussion between students and faculty members. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 76(2), 1–5.

 

Eraut, M. (2011). Informal learning in the workplace: Evidence on the real value of work-based learning (WBL). Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, 25(5), 8–12.

 

Forkosh-Baruch, A., & Hershovitz, A. (2012). A case study of Israeli higher-education institutes sharing scholarly information with the community via social networks. The Internet and Higher Education, 15, 58–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.08.003

 

Forkosh-Baruch, A., Hershkovitz, A., & Ang, R. P. (2015). Teacher-student relationship and SNS-mediated communication: Perceptions of both role-players. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Skills and Lifelong Learning, 11, 273–289.

 

Frank, K. A., Kim, C., & Belman, D. (2010). Utility theory, social networks, and teacher decision making. In 

A. J. Daly (Ed.), Social network theory and educational change (pp. 223–242). Harvard University Press.

 

Frank, K. A., Lo, Y., Torphy, K., & Kim, J. (2018). Teacher networks and educational opportunity. In B. Schneider (Ed.), Handbook on the sociology of education (pp. 297–316). Springer.

 

Frank, K. A., Zhao, Y., Penuel, W. R., Ellefson, N. C., & Porter, S. (2011). Focus, fiddle and friends: Sources of knowledge to perform the complex task of teaching.  Sociology of Education, 84(2), 137–156.

 

Galvin, S., & Greenhow, C. (2020). Educational networking: A novel discipline for improved K–12 learning based on social networks. In A. Peña-Ayala (Ed.), Educational networking: A novel discipline for improved learning based on social networks (pp. 3–41). Springer.

 

Gao, F., & Li, L. (2017). Examining a one-hour synchronous chat in a microblogging-based professional development community. British Journal of Educational Technology, 48(2), 332–347. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12384

 

Gao, F., Luo, T., & Zhang, K. (2012). Tweeting for learning: A critical analysis of research on microblogging in education published in 2008–2011. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(5), 783–801. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01357.x

 

García-Martín, J., & García-Sánchez, J.-N. (2015). Positive effects of the use of blogs and wikis in psycho-educational variables: A review of international studies (2010–2013). Estudios Sobre Educación, 29, 103–122. https://doi.org/10.15581/004.29.103-122

 

Glesne, C. (2016). Becoming qualitative researchers (5th ed.). Pearson.

 

Goodyear, V. A., Casey, A., & Kirk, D. (2014). Tweet me, message me, like me: Using social media to facilitate pedagogical change within an emerging community of practice. Sport, Education and Society, 19(7), 927–943. https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2013.858624

 

Greenhalgh, S. P., & Koehler, M. J. (2017). 28 days later: Twitter hashtags as “just in time” teacher professional development. TechTrends, 61(3), 273–281. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0142-4

 

Greenhow, C., & Askari, A. (2017). Learning and teaching with social network sites: A decade of research in K–12 related education. Education and Information Technologies, 22(2), 623–645.

 

Greenhow, C., Cho, V., Dennen, V., & Fishman, B. (2019). Education and social media: Research directions to guide a growing field. Teachers College Record, 121(14).

 

Greenhow, C., Galvin, S., & Staudt Willet, K. B. (in press). What should be the role of social media in education? Policy Insights From Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

 

Greenhow, C., Gibbins, T., & Menzer, M. (2015). Re-thinking scientific literacy: Arguing science issues in a niche Facebook application. Computers & Human Behavior, 53, 593-604.

 

Greenhow, C., Gleason, B., & Staudt Willet, K. B. (2019). Social scholarship revisited: Changing scholarly practices in the age of social media. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50, 987–1004.

 

Greenhow, C., & Lewin, C. (2015). Recrafting formal education: Shifting the boundaries of formal and informal learning. Learning, Media & Technology, 40(3), 128–148.

 

Greenhow, C., Robelia, E., & Hughes, J. (2009). Web 2.0 and classroom research: What path should we take now? Educational Researcher, 38(4), 246–259.

 

Hew, K. F.  (2011). Students’ and teachers’ use of Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 662–676.

 

Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K–12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

 

Holmes, K., Preston, G., Shaw, K., & Buchanan, R. (2013). “Follow” me: Networked professional learning for teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(12), 55–65.

 

Homan, E. (2014). The shifting spaces of teacher relationships: Complementary methods in examinations of teachers’ digital practices. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 22(3), 311–331.

 

Hu, S., Torphy, K. T., Opperman, A., Jansen, K., & Lo, Y. J. (2018). What do teachers share within socialized knowledge communities: A case of Pinterest. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 3(2), 97–122. doi:10.1108/JPCC-11-2017-0025

 

Hur, J. W., & Brush, T. A. (2009). Teacher participation in online communities: Why do teachers want to participate in self-generated online communities of K–12 teachers? Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(3), 279–303. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2009.10782532

 

Jacoby, J. (2018). The Facebook dilemma. Boston, MA: FRONTLINE. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/facebook-dilemma/

 

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robinson, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century (White paper). John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. https://www.macfound.org/media/article_pdfs/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

 

Jimoyiannis, A., Tsiotakis, P., Roussinos, D., & Siorenta, A. (2013). Preparing teachers to integrate Web 2.0 in school practice: Toward a framework for pedagogy 2.0. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(2), 248–267.

 

Junco, R., & Cotton, S. R. (2013). No A 4 U: The relationship between multitasking and academic performance. Computers & Education, 59, 505–514.

 

Kelly, N., & Antonio, A. (2016). Teacher peer support in social network sites. Teaching and Teacher Education, 56, 138–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2016.02.007

 

Kent, M., & Leaver, T. (2014). An education in Facebook? Higher education and the world’s largest social network. Routledge.

 

Kirschner, A. P., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 1237–1245.

 

Krutka, D. G., & Carpenter, J. P. (2016). Participatory learning through social media: How and why social studies educators use Twitter. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 16(1), 38–59.

 

Krutka, D., Manca, S., Galvin, S., Greenhow, C., Koehler, M., & Askari, E. (2019). Teaching “against” social media: Confronting problems of profit in the curriculum. Teachers College Record, 121(14).

 

Kuo, F. W., Cheng, W., & Yang, S. C. (2017). A study of friending willingness on SNSs: Secondary school teachers’ perspectives. Computers & Education, 108, 30–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.01.010

 

Lapham, K., & Lindemann-Komarova, S. (2013). (Re)Thinking teacher networking in the Russian Federation. European Education, 45(2), 75–93. https://doi.org/10.2753/EUE1056-4934450204

 

Lindstrom, D. L., & Niederhauser, D. S. (2016). Digital literacies go to school: A cross-case analysis of the literacy practices used in a classroom-based social network site. Computers in the Schools, 33(2), 103–119. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2016.1179025

 

Lin, N. (1999). Building a network theory of social capital. Connections, 22(1), 28–51.

 

Macià, M., & Garcia, I. (2016). Informal online communities and networks as a source of teacher professional development: A review. Teaching and Teacher Education, 55, 291–307.

 

Manca, S., & Ranieri, M. (2013). Is it a tool suitable for learning? A critical review of the literature on Facebook as a technology-enhanced learning environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(6), 487–504.

 

Manca, S., & Ranieri, M. (2016). Is Facebook still a suitable technology-enhanced learning environment? An updated critical review of the literature from 2012 to 2015. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 32(6), 503–528. doi:10.1111/jcal.12154

 

Mason, R., & Rennie, F. (2006). Using Web 2.0 for learning in the community. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(3), 196–203.

 

Matzat, U., & Vrieling, E. M. (2016). Self-regulated learning and social media—a “natural alliance”? Evidence on students’ self-regulation of learning, social media use, and student–teacher relationship. Learning, Media and Technology, 41(1), 73–99. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2015.1064953

 

Mazman, S. G., & Usluel, Y. K. (2010). Modeling educational uses of Facebook. Computers in Education, 55(2), 444–453.

 

Minocha, S. (2009). Role of social software tools in education: A literature review. Education + Training, 51(5/6), 353–369. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400910910987174

 

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054.

 

Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D. G., & The PRISMA Group. (2009). Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. ​Public Library of Science Medicine, 6​(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097

 

Moolenaar, N. M., Sleegers, P. J., & Daly, A. J. (2012). Teaming up: linking collaboration networks, collective efficacy, and student achievement. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(2), 251-262.

 

Nagle, J. (2018). Twitter, cyber-violence, and the need for a critical social media literacy in teacher education: A review of the literature. Teaching and Teacher Education, 76, 86–94.

 

Noble, A., McQuillan, P., & Littenberg-Tobias, J. (2016). “A lifelong classroom”: Social studies educators’ engagement with professional learning networks on Twitter. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 24(2), 187–213.

 

Nowell, S. D. (2014). Using disruptive technologies to make digital connections: Stories of media use and digital literacy in secondary classrooms. Educational Media International, 51(2), 109–123.

 

Obar, J. A., & Wildman, S. (2015). Social media definition and the governance challenge: An introduction to the special issue. Telecommunications Policy, 39(9), 745–750.

 

Office of Educational Technology. (2017). Reimagining the role of technology in education: 2017 National Education Technology Plan update. https://tech.ed.gov/netp/

 

Owen, N., Fox, A., & Bird, T. (2016). The development of a small-scale survey instrument of UK teachers to study professional use (and non-use) of and attitudes to social media. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 39(2), 170–193. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2015.1041491

 

Pan, S. C., & Franklin, T. (2011). In-service teachers’ self-efficacy, professional development, and Web 2.0 tools for integration. New Horizons in Education, 59(3), 28–40.

 

Perrin, A. (2018). Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook. Pew Research Center. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/

 

Preece, J., Nonnecke, B., & Andrews, D. (2004). The top five reasons for lurking: Improving community experiences for everyone. Computers in Human Behavior, 20(2), 201–223.

 

Prestridge, S. (2017). Conceptualising self-generating online teacher professional development. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 26(1), 85–104. doi:10.1080/1475939X.2016.1167113

 

Pritchett, C. C., Wohleb, E. C., & Pritchett, C. G. (2013). Educators’ perceived importance of Web 2.0 technology applications. TechTrends, 57(2), 33–38.

 

RAND. (2016). The role of technology in improving K-12 school safety (Research Report No. 1488). https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1400/RR1488/RAND_RR1488.pdf

 

Ranieri, M., Manca, S., & Fini, A. (2012). Why (and how) do teachers engage in social networks? An exploratory study of professional use of Facebook and its implications for lifelong learning: Professional development and social network sites. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(5), 754–769. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01356.x

 

Rehm, M., Manca, S., Brandon, C., & Greenhow, C. (2019). Beyond disciplinary boundaries: Mapping educational science in the discourse on social media. Teachers College Record, 121(14).

 

Rehm, M., & Notten, A. (2016). Twitter as an informal learning space for teachers!? The role of social capital in Twitter conversations among teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 60, 215–223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2016.08.015

 

Reich, J., Willet, J., & Murnane, R. J. (2012). The state of wiki usage in U.S. K–12 schools: Leveraging Web 2.0 data warehouses to assess quality and equity in online learning environments. Educational Researcher, 41(1), 7–15.

 

Roblyer, M. D. (2005). Educational technology research that makes a difference: Series introduction. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(2), 192–201.

 

Robson, J. (2017). Performance, structure and ideal identity: Reconceptualising teachers’ engagement in online social spaces: Teachers’ engagement in online social spaces. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(3), 439–450. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12551

 

Rodesiler, L. (2014). Weaving contexts of participation online: The digital tapestry of secondary English teachers. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 14(2), 72–100.

 

Rodesiler, L. (2015). The nature of selected English teachers’ online participation. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(1), 31–40. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaal.427

 

Rodesiler, L., & Pace, B. G. (2015). English teachers’ online participation as professional development: A narrative study. English Education, 47(4), 347–378.

 

Rodríguez-Hoyos, C., Salmón, I. H., & Fernández-Díaz, E. (2015). Research on SNS and education: The state of the art and its challenges. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 100–111.

 

Rosenberg, J. M., Greenhalgh, S. P., Koehler, M. J., Hamilton, E. R., & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). An investigation of state educational Twitter hashtags (SETHs) as affinity spaces. E-Learning and Digital Media, 13(1–2), 24–44. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042753016672351

 

Ross, C., Maninger, R., LaPrairie, K., & Sullivan, S. (2015). The use of Twitter in the creation of educational professional learning opportunities. Administrative Issues Journal Education Practice and Research, 5(1), 55–76. https://doi.org/10.5929/2015.5.1.7

 

Rutherford, C. (2010). Facebook as a source of informal teacher professional development. In Education, 16(1), 60–74.

 

Saldaña, J. (2016). The coding manual for qualitative researchers (3rd ed.). Sage.

 

Schwarz, B., & Caduri, G. (2016). Novelties in the use of social networks by leading teachers in their classes. Computers & Education, 102, 35–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.07.002

 

Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4–13. doi:10.2307/1176193

 

Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.

 

Siemens, G., & Weller, M. (2011). Higher education and the promises and perils of social network. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento, 8(1), 164–170.

 

Spiro, R. J., Feltovich, P. J., Jacobson, M. J., & Coulson, R. L. (1991). Cognitive flexibility, constructivism, and hypertext: Random access instruction for advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. Educational Technology, 31(1), 24–33.

 

Statista. (2017). Number of social media users worldwide from 2010-2021 (in billions). https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/

 

Staudt Willet, K. B. (2019). Revisiting how and why educators use Twitter: Tweet types and purposes in #Edchat. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 51, 273-289.

 

Stewart, O. G. (2015). A critical review of the literature of social media’s affordances in the classroom. E-Learning and Digital Media, 12(5–6), 481–501. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042753016672895

 

Sumuer, E., Esfer, S., & Yildirim, S. (2014). Teachers’ Facebook use: Their use habits, intensity, self-disclosure, privacy settings, and activities on Facebook. Educational Studies, 40(5), 537–553. https://doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2014.952713

 

Tang, Y., & Hew, K. F. (2017). Using Twitter for education. Beneficial or a waste of time? Computers & Education, 106, 97–118.

 

Thibaut, P. (2015). Social network sites with learning purposes: Exploring new spaces for literacy and learning in the primary classroom. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 38(2), 83–94.

 

Trust, T. (2015). Deconstructing an online community of practice: Teachers’ actions in the Edmodo math subject community. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 31(2), 73–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/21532974.2015.1011293

 

Trust, T. (2016). New model of teacher learning in an online network. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(4), 290–305. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2016.1215169

 

Trust, T. (2017a). Motivation, empowerment, and innovation: Teachers’ beliefs about how participating in the Edmodo math subject community shapes teaching and learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 49(1–2), 16–30. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2017.1291317

 

Trust, T. (2017b). Using cultural historical activity theory to examine how teachers seek and share knowledge in a peer-to-peer professional development network. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(1), 98–113.

 

Trust, T., Krutka, D. G., & Carpenter, J. P. (2016). “Together we are better”: Professional learning networks for teachers. Computers & Education, 102, 15–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.06.007

 

Van Vooren, C., & Bess, C. (2013). Teacher tweets improve achievement for eighth grade science students. Journal of Education, Informatics & Cybernetics, 11(1), 33–36.

 

Vazquez-Cano, E. (2012). Mobile learning with Twitter to improve linguistic competence at secondary schools. The New Educational Review, 29(3), 134–147.

 

Veira, A., Leacock, C., & Warrican, S. (2014). Learning outside the walls of the classroom: Engaging the digital natives. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 30(2), 227–244.

 

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.

 

Vivitsou, M., Tirri, K., & Kynäslahti, H. (2014). Social media in pedagogical context: A study on a Finnish and a Greek teacher’s metaphors. International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design, 4(2), 1–18.

 

Wallace, R. M. (2004). A framework for understanding teaching with the internet. American Educational Research Journal, 41(2), 447–488.

 

Wang, S.-K., Hsu, H.-Y., Reeves, T. C., & Coster, D. C. (2014). Professional development to enhance teachers’ practices in using information and communication technologies (ICTs) as cognitive tools: Lessons learned from a design-based research study. Computers & Education, 79, 101–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.07.006

 

Watkins, K. E., & Marsick, V.J. (1992). Towards a theory of informal and incidental learning in organizations. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 11(4), 287–300.

 

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press.

 

Wenger, E., McDermott, R. A., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Harvard Business School Press.

 

Wenger, E., Trayner, B., & de Laat, M. (2011). Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: A conceptual framework. Ruud de Moor Centrum.

 

Wenger, E., White, N., & Smith, J. D. (2009). Digital habitats: Stewarding technology for communities. CPsquare.

 

Wesely, P. M. (2013). Investigating the community of practice of world language educators on Twitter. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(4), 305–318.

 

Wilson, R. E., Gosling, S. D., & Graham, L. T. (2012). A review of Facebook research in the social sciences. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(3), 203–220.

 

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (4th ed.). Sage.

 

Zhang, S., Liu, Q., Chen, W., Wang, Q., & Huang, Z. (2017). Interactive networks and social knowledge construction behavioral patterns in primary school teachers’ online collaborative learning activities. Computers & Education, 104, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.10.011

 

Zhao, Y., & Frank, K. A. (2003). An ecological analysis of factors affecting technology use in schools. American Educational Research Journal, 40(4), 807–840.




APPENDIX


List of Journals Included in Search Procedures


Adult Learning

ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology

American Journal of Distance Education

Australasian Journal of Educational Technology

Behaviour and Information Technology

British Educational Research Journal

British Journal of Educational Technology

Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology Communication

Communication Education

Computer Applications in Engineering Education

Computer Science Education

Computers and Composition

Computers & Education

Computers in Human Behaviour

Computers in the Schools

Contemporary Educational Technology

Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education

Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking

Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences

Distance Education

Education and Information Technologies

Educational Horizons

Educational Media International

Educational Technology & Society

Educational Technology Research and Development

e-Learning Papers

Electronic Journal of e-Learning

Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology Environmental Education Research

First Monday

Higher Education

IEEE Transactions in Education

Indian Journal of Open Learning

Information & Communication Technology

Innovate: Journal of Online Education

Innovations in Education and Teaching International Innovative Higher Education

Instructional Science

Interacting with Computers

Interactive Learning Environments

International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education

International Journal of  Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

International Journal of Continuing Education & Lifelong Learning

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning

International Journal of Education & Development Using

International Journal of Educational Research

International Journal of Electrical Engineering Education

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

International Journal of Knowledge and Learning

International Journal of Learning Technology

International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation

International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design

International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education

International Journal of Technology and Design Education

International Journal of Technology-Enhanced Learning

International Journal of Technology in Teaching & Learning

International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies

International Journal on e-Learning

Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks

Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Journal of Computing in Higher Education

Journal of Digital Information

Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education

Journal of Distance Education

Journal of Educational Computing Research

Journal of Educational Technology & Society

Journal of Educational Technology Development & Exchange

Journal of Educational Technology Systems

Journal of Engineering Education

Journal of Information Systems Education

Journal of Information Technology Education

Journal of Interactive Learning Research

Journal of Interactive Media in Education

Journal of Interactive Online Learning

Journal of Language and Social Psychology

Journal of Literacy & Technology

Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Journal of Science Education and Technology

Journal of Teacher Education

Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Journal of Universal Computer Science

Journal of Web Semantics

Journal of Workplace Learning

Learning and Instruction

Learning Environments Research

Learning, Media and Technology

MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning

Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento

Social Science Computer Review

Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice

Teaching & Teacher Education

Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning

Technology, Pedagogy and Education

TechTrends

The European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning

The International Journal of Education and Development Using Information and Communication Technology

The International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

The Internet and Higher Education

The Journal for Open & Distance Education & Educational Technology

The Journal of the Learning Sciences

Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education

Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology

Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry

World Journal on Educational Technology





Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 6, 2020, p. 1-72
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23303, Date Accessed: 10/21/2021 3:06:09 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
 
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Christine Greenhow
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    CHRISTINE GREENHOW, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Educational Psychology & Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. She studies various forms of learning with social media, the design of social-mediated environments for learning, and changes in scholarship practices with new media. Recent publications and projects can be found at http://www.cgreenhow.org.
  • Sarah Galvin
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    SARAH GALVIN is a PhD student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. Her research interests surround the intersection of social media and writer identity in adolescent learning. More specifically, she looks at how student authorship differs on social media compared with in the classroom and what implications this might have for writing pedagogy. She has an in-press publication in the Teachers College Record Yearbook with colleagues from the #Cloud2Class conference entitled “Teaching ‘Against’ Social Media: Confronting Problems of Profit in the Curriculum” and an upcoming coauthored chapter in Educational Networking: A Novel Discipline for Improved K–12 Learning Based on Social Networks, describing a literature review of teachers’ use of social media for educational networking.
  • Diana Brandon
    Charleston Southern University
    E-mail Author
    DIANA L. BRANDON is an alumna of the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. She currently is the distance learning coordinator at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina. Her research interests include technology integration in K–12 and higher education and professional development for teachers and higher education personnel. Her recent work includes a brief paper presented at SITE 2019, “Not Your Mother’s Professional Development: A Flexible Approach to Faculty PD” and a coauthored article in Written Communication, “Multidimensional Levels of Language Writing Measures in Grades Four to Six.”
  • Emilia Askari
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    EMILIA ASKARI is a PhD student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University, a lecturer at the University of Michigan, and a former journalist at the Detroit Free Press. Her research interests include social media, education, and journalism. She was the recent lead author of “Youth, Learning and Social Media in K–12 Education: The State of the Field,” published in the proceedings of the International Society of the Learning Sciences.
 
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS