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It’s About How to Pivot: Teacher Educators, Teacher Candidates and Twitter

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Listen and learn : Research paper
Roundtable presentation

Research papers are a pairing of two 20 minute presentations followed by a 5 minute Q & A.
This is presentation 1 of 2, scroll down to see more details.

Other presentations in this group:

Dr. Sumreen Asim  
Dr. Samantha Fecich  
Dr. Susan Poyo  

Learn how teacher educators helped teacher candidates build lifelong professional relationships using Twitter. See how a Twitter challenge designed to scaffold teacher candidates' use of social media created before the COVID-19 pandemic provided them with a space to share practical pedagogical advice.

Audience: Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Innovation in higher education
Grade level: Community college/university
Subject area: Higher education, Preservice teacher education
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
For Education Leaders:
Equity and Citizenship Advocate
  • Model digital citizenship by critically evaluating online resources, engaging in civil discourse online and using digital tools to contribute to positive social change.
Connected Learner
  • Participate regularly in online professional learning networks to collaboratively learn with and mentor other professionals.

Proposal summary


The following three lens were used to frame our study: (1)Communities of Practice where groups of people engage in interactions for a common goal and purpose, (2) Situated learning is a pedagogical approach used to actively engage students, and (3) Participatory Culture this further expands on active participation and content creation.

We thematically analyzed a sample of Tweets to better understand the knowledge built through the use of Twitter both before and after school closures due to COVID-19. Throughout the challenge TCs are provided with content to support their learning such as links to podcast episodes and blog posts. Fortuitously, this challenge provided teacher candidates a network of educators to share teacher knowledge, build on ideas, provide resources, validate professionals in the educational space, and ask questions. We see Twitter filling a gap within the traditional professional development community. This Twitter challenge provided teacher candidates a space to share practical and professional pedagogical advice, resources, and connections. During COVID-19 teacher candidates collected and shared resources with the community and they asked questions and sought out learning opportunities. Twitter provided teacher candidates with on demand professional development.


A thematic analysis was done with the data. All posted Twitter tweets were collected using the hashtag #PSTPLN from August 2019 to May 2020. A random sample of 200 tweets from this collection were analyzed after data cleaning – ensuring that the Tweets pertained to education. Open coding was first used to get to know the data, and then search for themes, and finally categorize the Tweets into themes. Four themes were generated in this data set which revealed four types of practice: 1) Teacher Knowledge Construction, 2) Building on another person’s ideas, 3) Reference to helpful resources, 4) Providing information on whom to follow on Twitter. During COVID-19, another iteration of the thematic analysis was done. This particular iteration looked at a random sample of 50 Tweets with the hashtag #PSTPLN from March 15th, 2020 to May 15th, 2020. Twitter.


Initial Findings:Thematic analysis of our random sample of the hashtags #PSTPLN was performed (Braun & Clark 2006). A thematic analysis uncovered the following code densities: (1) teacher education related knowledge, 26%; (2) building on another persons’ ideas, 11%; (3) references to helpful resources, 8 %; and (4) providing information on whom to follow on Twitter, 15%. These codes provide evidence to better understand how teacher candidates are utilizing their Twitter PLN. During COVID-19 finding:
The thematic analysis of data collected during COVID-19 uncovered new information. The following code densities were uncovered: (1) building on ideas such as quotes or articles, 26%; (2) references to online resources, 48%; (3) attending webinars, 16% (4) seeking information while posing questions, 10%.


As research suggests, teacher candidates need support, scaffolded instruction, and affirmation while engaging with professionals in the field (Kearney, Maher & Pham, 2019; Krutka & Damico, 2020). We found in the data clear connections between the scaffolds provided during each day of the challenge. This Twitter challenge provided teacher candidates a space to share practical and professional pedagogical advice, resources, and connections. During COVID-19 teacher candidates collected and shared resources with the community and they asked questions and sought out learning opportunities. Twitter provided teacher candidates with on demand professional development


Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in
Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.
Carpenter, J. P., & Krutka, D. G. (2015). Engagement through microblogging: Educator
professional development via Twitter. Professional development in education, 41, 707-
Hsieh, B. (2017). Making and missing connections: Exploring Twitter chats as a learning tool in
a preservice education course. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 17(4), 549-568.      
Kearney, M., Maher, D., & Pham, L. (2019). Investigating pre-service teachers’ informally-developed online professional learning networks. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 36(1), 21-36. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.4766
Krutka, D.G., & Damico, N. (2020). Should we ask students to tweet? Perceptions, patterns, and problems of assigned social media participation. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 20(1). Retrieved from
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation.
Cambridge University Press.
Trust, T, Krutka, D.G., & Carpenter, J.P. (2016). Together we are better: Professional learning
networks for teachers. Computers & Education. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2016.06.007
Visser, R. D., Evering, L. C., & Barrett, D. E. (2014). Twitter for teachers: The implications of
Twitter as a self-directed professional development tool for K–12 teachers. Journal of
Research on Technology in Education, 46, 396-413.

More [+]


Dr. Sumreen Asim, Indiana University Southeast
Dr. Samantha Fecich, Grove City College
Dr. Susan Poyo, Franciscan University

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