Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Second International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Social Media for Networking and Participatory Professional Learning
Catherine McLoughlin

Last modified: 07-06-2016


There is widespread acceptance of the need for professional learning opportunities and support for teachers and for academics transitioning into the higher education workforce. In Australia and globally, social networking sites (SNS) provide teachers with formal and informal networking opportunities. While higher education institutions are responding to an ever-changing digital environment, scholarly work aimed at understanding optimal use of, and interaction with new Web 2.0 capabilities is a pressing area of concern among academics. Limited studies are available on how and why teachers in higher education employ social networking tools to create learning networks, share professional ideas and build creative collegiality. This scoping review article investigates motivations for the adoption of SNS in higher education and the benefits and opportunities presented by social networking tools such as blogs and Twitter in teacher professional learning and practice. Results show that academics are interested in connecting with peers, sharing knowledge and networking in open participatory forums as means of building community and accessing resources. The findings indicate that the affordances of microblogging and SNS are valued by academics and that they appreciate the immediacy, relational aspects and interactions that expand their professional networks.

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