Title: Beyond school walls: teachers' use of professional learning networks to receive help on a global scale

Authors: Torrey Trust

Addresses: University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Abstract: Even though the availability of information and the ability to connect with educators around the world is increasing rapidly through the internet, many teachers continue to seek help for overcoming classroom challenges from within the confines of their schools. In this study, 14 K-12 teachers volunteered to participate in an online course about using professional learning network (PLNs) tools to solicit help from educators around the world. A pre-course survey and post-course survey were administered to determine whether the online course effectively helped teachers expand their help-seeking behaviours beyond their schools. Analysis of the data found that after completing the online course, the participants were more willing to use their PLN to ask for help from a global audience of educators and experts.

Keywords: social media; professional learning networks; PLN; educational technology; teacher professional development; Web 2.0; help-seeking behaviours; communities of practice; virtual communities; online communities; web based communities; teacher learning; information aggregation; USA; United States; K-12 teachers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2013.055745

International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 2013 Vol.1 No.3, pp.270 - 286

Received: 23 Jan 2013
Accepted: 02 Apr 2013

Published online: 28 Feb 2014 *

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