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Tweet me, message me, like me : using social media to facilitate pedagogical change within an emerging community of practice

Goodyear, Victoria A. and Casey, Ashley and Kirk, David (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). pp. 927-943. ISSN 1357-3322

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Abstract

While e-support has been positioned as a means, to overcome some of the time and financial constraints to professional learning, it has largely failed to act as a medium for professional learning in physical education. Consequently, this paper positions teachers prior interest with social media acts as a type of ‘leverage’ for using sites such as Facebook and Twitter for professional learning purposes. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore how social media operates as a communicative space, external to the physical site of an emerging community of practice (CoP) that supported teachers' professional learning and their subsequent longer term changing practice. This study is nested within a wider longitudinal project that explores how teachers learnt and refined their use of a pedagogical innovation (Cooperative Learning) through the overarching methodology, participatory action research. Social media emerged as a form of communication that was not in the study's original design. The paper explores 2125 interactions, through Facebook and Twitter, between five physical education teachers and a facilitator over a two-year period. Through social media, the facilitator re-enforced teachers changing practice, aided the development of the practices of an emerging CoP, and by the CoP situating their use of the innovation in the virtual world, teachers were supported in changing their practice over time, and the use of the pedagogical innovation was sustained. Interactions promoted teacher inquiry, challenged teachers to develop their existing use of the innovation further and encouraged them to work together and develop shared practices. Therefore, social media is presented here as a ‘new’ method for professional learning that supports pedagogical change and overcomes some of the financial and time implications of facilitators and teachers working together.