Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Past studies have indicated that teachers in the United States have limited opportunities to collaborate with peers; this limitation has been found to be particularly problematic for social studies teachers. An increasing number of educators are using the social media application Twitter to collaborate. Little research exists concerning social studies teachers' use of #edchats, a weekly recurring Twitter session. The focus of this qualitative case study was the collaboration that exists among social studies teachers participating in Twitter edchats. The theoretical framework was communities of practice. Transcripts of 10 edchat sessions in 2013 were coded with an a priori strategy, and emergent themes were triangulated with interviews from 7 of the most consistent contributors from the edchats. Emergent themes included close personal connections among participants consistent with communities of practice and a narrow focus on social studies-specific content. Findings were consistent with existing research describing a general lack of formal training on the methodology of incorporating Twitter and a general consensus among active participants that adopting new technologies was relatively easy. Results indicate the potential of #edchats as an asynchronous and synchronous form of collaboration but also illustrate the need for formal training to help educators who feel less comfortable with adopting new technologies. The project resulting from this study, a free professional development program designed to teach educators how to use Twitter, will contribute to social change by sharing the benefits of creating a collaborative environment through Twitter, thus freeing participants from the constraints of physical location and time at no significant cost.