In completing my action research for my administrative degree, I decided to focus on teachers' professional learning networks. At the beginning of my research, I didn't know to call it "professional learning networks." I called it "social media to enhance instruction." Well, that's what research is for, right? If you were following my blog back in December, I posted this pretty picture with a link to a survey.
Thank you so much for taking it! I got so many great qualitative and quantitative results and I'd love to share them with you. Are you ready?
Here were my research questions:
Here is a demographic chart about my 90 participants- the majority had between 4 and 7 years of teaching. Most were from New Jersey, and 97% were female.
Here's the fun stuff! The results! Go ahead and take a look and then we'll talk.
Ok! Lots of information there. I have to give a huge shout-out to my amazing Excel wizard husband. He helped me aggregate all the data and make it read-able and chart-able. For those of you still with us, in Figure 1 you can see that Pinterest and YouTube rank highest in use at 74%, with TPT just trailing at 70% use. Teacher blogs ranked a lot lower (47%) than my unofficial hypothesis (no hypothesis allowed in action research) which was that use would be a lot higher. I mean, look how many followers some of the top teacher blogs have! I thought the age difference when using Twitter was very interesting! I would love to do the survey again with lots more teachers and see what happens.
Figure 4 (below) reflects some qualitative data I selected to give general view of comments. One I did not include in the graphic but is worth mentioning is "lack of technology." I know that is an issue in many districts in New Jersey.
Here is the "action" portion of my research. The research in my literature review pretty much centered on creating a professional learning network. That is basically any sort of online collaboration you might have with colleagues around the nation or around the world. It can be through blogging (yay!), Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Edmodo...or any other online medium you can think of. If you are reading this, you most likely already have one! And if so, this study wasn't for you! (Sorry.)
It was for the 5% of the teachers I surveyed who have zero professional learning network at all. A larger percent use only YouTube. An even larger percent use only Pinterest. How many teachers in your school do not have a professional learning network? I would say that 5% is about on target for my small school. So how can we bring teachers into the 21st century, just as we're expected to bring students into the 21st century?
If you made it this far, thank you! I would love your feedback on my research questions, findings, or action plan. Do your colleagues have professional learning networks? I'd love to know!