In a climate of rapid digital change many teachers face the challenge of continuously professionalising their practice. It is clear to many researchers that the professional development of teachers is key in improving the quality of education. This case study investigates the perceived value of Twitter as a Network of Practice (NoP) in the light of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of twelve teachers in Flemish secondary education. Although the area of CPD has received much academic attention, an objectivist view towards CPD still firmly is in place. The teacher is in need of specific knowledge and skills in order to meet a ‘deficit’ in his professional practice. This case study investigates the possibility that there is another approach to CPD namely one that is grounded in the experience of inspiration. Teachers learn from abundance of knowledge instead of assuming they need particular knowledge and skills to fill a gap in their professional practice. I will argue that this process of inspiration as knowing can co-exist with the more traditional deficit view of CPD. The analysis of ‘inspiration through Twitter’ has shown a positive impact on work mastery and increased openness to professional experiences. The use of the social medium has lead to engagement with professionals beyond the own school borders and contributes to increased levels of work satisfaction. I will also highlight how the non-linear nature of Twitter reflects this shifted direction of CPD and how the use of mobile devices strongly correlates to the inspirational process of teachers’ professional development.

Key words

Networks of Practice, Twitter, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), perceptions, inspiration, constructivist grounded theory.

Bram Bruggeman

Dissertation February 2016

MSc Technology Enhanced Learning, Innovation and Change

SupervisorRichard Pountney, School of Education, Sheffield Hallam University (UK)

> Suggested: Part one Introduction: Preamble