Although a longitudinal study on how educators use a social medium such as Twitter is valuable, this clearly involves a range of variables that go beyond the scope of this case study. Variables such as teachers' subjective theory (Kelchtermans, 2005, p. 263 2009), personal motivations, personal and professional contexts of teachers, impact of school culture, frequency of participation on the social medium, etc. are variables that go beyond the scope of my case study.
My ambition is to draw upon the power of social media networks in the light of teachers' professional development. This case study investigates the perceived value of social media and its effect on the professional development of teachers. At the same time, the scope of this study is limited because the sampling of the participants occurred entirely through Twitter itself, resulting in convenience sampling. The scope is consequently limited. The meaningful transfer to the actual professional practice of the teacher clearly needs a bigger data set population and more research, as I exemplify in the Discussion & Implications section.
Therefore I will focus on the perceived value of the social medium in the context of the professional development of teachers in secondary education, through the lens of a Network of Practice (Brown & Duguid, 2002).
During the TELIC master programme we got acquainted with the notions of Communities of Practice. Wenger et al. (2002, p.4) define Communities of Practice as ‘groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis’. This case study has shown that the kind of informal learning through a social medium like Twitter is not necessarily about ‘deepening knowledge’ and not per se ‘on an ongoing basis’. In my first research proposals I considered investigating my subject through the lens of Communities of Practice but further reading brought my attention to the work of John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid.
The focus of a Network of Practice (NoP) is on facilitating information exchange between individuals with practice related goals and not so much on the shared practical sets of problems. See section Literature review for more information on NoPs.
> Now that you've got the basics of my dissertation, go to my methodology.