Summary of "Administrators' Professional Learning Via Twitter: The Dissonance Between Beliefs and Actions"

One Sentence Summary

This study investigates the tweets of 17 campus-level school administrators from the US and Canada to determine if they support the claim that Twitter helps administrators with professional learning.


Vincent Cho

Research Questions

This article investigates three research questions:

  • What are the perceived benefits of participating on Twitter?

  • What information do administrators share on Twitter?

  • To what extent (if any) does information from Twitter contribute to administrator practice?

Despite claims that social media will revolutionize professional learning , the choice to use Twitter or other online platforms is and ought to be a personal one.

Major Findings/Discussion Points

While participants reported that Twitter enhanced their growth as administrators, their tweets did not provide strong evidence of knowledge sharing about administrator work.

Perceived benefits of participating on Twitter

Social and professional benefits of Twitter

  • Participants benefited from the increased sense of community and belonging they experienced on Twitter, which helped them feel less socially isolated.

  • Twitter provided a place where participants felt comfortable voicing their issues and concerns and received help from colleagues.

  • Participants felt special because Twitter gave them a place to connect with renowned school leaders from around the world.

Twitter as professional development

  • Participants reported that Twitter allowed them to share ideas and engage with colleagues in a convenient and accessible way.

  • Twitter provided the participants with daily inspiration, new perspectives, and engaging reading.

  • The timeliness of the conversations on Twitter was an advantage over print media, providing them with learning opportunities every day.

Knowledge shared via Twitter

Participants shared both canonical knowledge (describing administrators’ practice) and non-canonical knowledge (the work of school administrators) via Twitter.

  • Canonical knowledge: Participants’ tweets were primarily about technology and technology use, while the least common topics included teaching, leadership, educational policy, and professional growth. While the study found that participants shared some formal knowledge related to their job, there were no tweets about management/operations, community engagement, supervision, or evaluation.

  • Non-canonical knowledge: Participants tweeted announcements, workplace vignettes, and shared real-life stories and interests rather than discussing school leadership.

Outcomes in schools

There were few changes to policy and practices as a result of Twitter. While Twitter had the potential for direct impact on policy and administrators’ practice, this kind of impact was rarely reported.

Full Citation

Cho, V. (2016). Administrators’ professional learning via Twitter: The dissonance between beliefs and actions. Journal of Educational Administration, 54(3), 340-356.

To read this article, click here.