Ray, Frances Nicole (2019-05). Pin It, Share It, Like It, Retweet It: California Agriculture Teachers Perceived Usefulness of Social Media in their Professional Learning. Doctoral Dissertation.
Limited research exists on practicing secondary teachers use of professional learning networks (PLN) and their role in teachers professional learning continuum. The purpose of this research was to identify California agriculture teachers perceived usefulness of social media in their professional learning. Adult learners are unique in several ways: need to know, the learner's self-concept, unique life experiences, willingness to learn, desired teaching method and motivating factors. Because social media provides a platform that allows educators to network with other professionals in a way that facilitates the exploration of their personal learning objectives and other characteristics of adult learners, it should be considered professional learning. A digital survey utilizing a Likert scale was distributed to a sample of 464 California agriculture teachers, 164 teachers completed the instrument. Constructs of perceived usefulness of professional social media use, as well as their perceived usefulness of school sponsored professional learning were compared to social media engagement and several other demographic characteristics relating to the teacher and their teaching assignment. Although there was variation in perceived usefulness of social media in relation to gender, age group, career phase, and teaching assignment, there was no difference between groups by credential type, highest degree, and teacher isolation. There was also a significant difference between teachers perceived usefulness of professional social media use when compared to their school sponsored professional learning. Predictors for perceived social media use were perceived usefulness of school sponsored professional learning, social media use, participation in content specific professional learning, career stage, and teaching assignment. The findings of this study quantitatively support literature relating to teachers' positive behaviors and attitudes toward social media use in their professional learning.