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How teachers can use Facebook groups

to connect with and support others as


part of a Personal or Professional
Learning Network.
Introduction
This case study was created to begin investigation into why teachers use Facebook groups as part of
their Personal Learning Networks or Professional Learning Networks. Facebook groups are one
method that teachers use to connect with each other outside of schools. Other social media and
networking sites are also used by many teachers. However this case study focuses on the use of
Facebook groups and why some teachers use these.

Process
The process used for this case study included conducting a literature review and surveying two
targeted Australian based Facebook groups and surveying the administrators of these groups.
Originally it was planned to interview the administrators via the Facebook messaging service,
however to make analysis easier, a second survey was created for them to complete. Members of
other Facebook teacher groups were also encouraged to complete the survey via Twitter. The two
Facebook groups that were targeted were Relief Teaching Ideas Community (RTIC) and Teachers of
Adelaide (ToA). These groups were selected as the author is a member of these groups. The RTIC
group has over 10,000 members and 4 administrators. The ToA group has over 2,000 members and
two administrators. Given the time of year that these groups were asked to complete the survey,
107 responses were returned. The free version of Survey Monkey was used to create and collect
responses which only allowed ten questions and 100 responses to be viewed.

Literature Review
A literature review was conducted to see how Personal Learning Networks and/or Professional
Learning Networks were used by teachers, particularly in an online format. Both terms were used in
the literature. This case study will refer to both as PLN. Some prefer the term Personal Learning
Networks as they are connections that they have made for personal learning, not just professional
learning.

In this case study, they will be used interchangeably. Some literature refers to

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communities of practice (Ranieri, Manca, & Fini, 2012; Ranieri et al., 2012) which when extended to
the online world, can be referred to as networks of practice (Ranieri et al., 2012) are also forms of
PLNs. It is to be noted that much of the research in using Facebook in education relates to using
Facebook in the tertiary setting (Ranieri et al., 2012). Other social networking and media platforms
have more often been researched for application in the classroom and for PLNs therefore a more
general social networking and media literature review was conducted.

De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins note that reasons for using social networking sites include
to meet new people and to be part of a group or community (2007, pp. 217, 218). Anderson
explains that
Social media gives me access to the movers and shakers in education. It allows me to share
amazing resources with educators all over the globe, to try our new ideas, and grow as a
professional. It gives me a voice (cited in Ishizuka, 2010, p. 36).
Trust notes that PLNs allow access to information and connections to thousands of individuals with
an array of expertise (2012, p. 133) and that these connections can be worldwide using social media
tools. Anywhere, anytime learning is what can make social networking and social media PLNs
attractive (Duncan-Howell, 2010; Elliott, 2009; Flanigan, 2011; Perkins, 2009; Ranieri et al., 2012;
Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011; Trust, 2012). Teachers engage in PLNs to learn from others, share
resources, for support and reducing isolation factors (Duncan-Howell, 2010; Elliott, 2009; Flanigan,
2011; Ranieri et al., 2012; Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011; Trust, 2012). Pietsch & Williamson (2007)
presented research into beginning teachers in New South Wales which indicated that because of the
casualization of teaching, many new teachers are not able to access professional development (PD)
easily which leads to the assumption that having an effective PLN can assist in developing further as
a teacher, particularly in gaining mentors who may or may not be online (Elliott, 2009).

Survey Results
General Teacher Survey
Because the Survey Monkey free version limited the questions possible, some questions were
combined to ascertain a variety of variables. The first seven questions were tick box questions and
the final three questions were short answer responses. Questions 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 allowed multiple
answers.

Question 3 and 5 were single option answers, with question 3 allowing additional

information to be supplied. The full survey and its responses are available in Appendix A.

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The answers to some of the questions were a little surprising, given the name RTIC. 58 responses
were from people in fulltime employment, although only 26 were permanent and some may have
been part time employees. The majority were primary qualified teachers in the two groups
surveyed. The highest percentage for location was South Australia, however this was not
unexpected as ToA members were South Australian. A significant number were working for state
education departments with the remainder split evenly between independent and catholic schools.
Respondents were able to choose more than one educational sector as relief teachers often work
across two or more sectors. One respondent mentioned that they were not yet teaching. The split in
teaching experience was not a high ratio. There were a number of highly experienced teachers, 33
%, who completed the survey. 50% of the responses came from teachers who had, at most, 5 years
experience which was anticipated given the types of posts in the RTIC group that had been observed
over the past year that the author had been a member.

Questions 6 and 7 allowed teachers to indicate why and how they use the Facebook teacher group.
Again multiple answers were able to be selected. It was interesting to note that many were using
groups to gather ideas and resources, including sharing ideas and resources that they had success
with, and to connect with other teachers. A reasonable number of teachers also used the groups to
gather information about PD ideas and opportunities. They also used the groups to discuss other
educational issues relevant to Australia. It was projected that these groups would offer information
by members about different PD opportunities as it was anticipated that many of the group members
may not be permanent staff and so not have access to some information about PD opportunities.

Q6: Why do you use Facebook groups


80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

72
60

59

42

41
27
16

20

16
1

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Question 7 attempted to ascertain where teachers heard


and/or accessed PD. The results were a little surprising, in
that a significant number accessed internal PD. This was
not totally unexpected when realising that most teachers
who completed the survey, were on long term contracts
or permanent staff members. The second highest
response for accessing PD was via social networking or
social media. This indicated that this in an effective way
for those offering PD opportunities to communicate with
teachers. Educational associations were also a high

Q7: Hear about and/or access


Professional Development
60

56

50
40
30
20

44

41
33

29
17

30 30
20

10
0

response for accessing PD. These include subject based


associations, e.g. Australian Association for the Teaching
of English, and its state based affiliations; and schooling
level associations, e.g. Middle Schooling Association of
Western Australia.

Most of those who use social networking and social media sites for PD

opportunities indicated that they use Facebook. Twitter was also mentioned as a social media tool
that was used for this purpose.

Question 8 asked teachers to indicate which teacher Facebook groups they belonged to. While some
did, many did not. This was to see if there would be other Facebook groups that may be surveyed if
further study was required. This question also asked teachers to indicate why they joined a
Facebook teacher group. 75 teachers completed this question. The key phrases and ideas were
compiled and a Wordle was created to allow a visual analysis.

(TL_Liz, 2014)
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This was to allow teachers to indicate other options to those offered in question 6 or to repeat
answers if they wanted. The key reasons for joining a Facebook group were for ideas and resources.
Support, networking and keeping up to date were also notable reasons for joining. Much of this was
also indicated when answering question 9, why teachers would also recommend joining a Facebook
teacher group; networking, support and sharing ideas and resources were key reasons that were
given. Some teachers indicated that for them it depended on the group and their teaching area.
Some generalised groups were seen to be more primary school level orientated, however that may
be because the majority of the active members are of that level. Some commented that they would
not recommend some groups as they feel that a number of members expect others to do their work
for them in developing ideas and resources on topics rather than using the group to expand ideas.
Only one teacher said that they did not find the groups helpful.

Question 10 asked if there was anything that they felt they would like access to in the Facebook
group that they have access to elsewhere. Most did not. However there were a few comments of
note offered.

Offering links to free BOTES (NSW Teachers Registration Board) accredited online training
(Respondent 99, personal communication, 19 December 2014)

sharing

of

local

professional

development

offerings

(Respondent

79,

personal

communication, 18 December 2014)

sharing of documents like it is possible through Dropbox and Edmodo (Respondent 29,
personal communication, 17 December 2014; Respondent 46, personal communication, 17
December 2014)

links to professional development sites and courses (Respondent 17, personal


communication, 17 December 2014)

permanent teachers groups, not just general teacher groups (parallel to Relief Teaching
Australia group) (Respondent 74, personal communication, 17 December 2014)

to be more of a Pinterest type of group rather than discussing unemployment (Respondent


19, personal communication, 17 December 2014; Respondent 61, personal communication,
17 December 2014)

art/design teachers groups split into primary and secondary which we can take part in both
or one as well as a platform to connect with local practising artists who may be taking part in
artists-in-schools programs (Respondent 48, personal communication, 17 December 2014)

meeting people face-to-face (Respondent 22, personal communication, 17 December 2014)

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Organisation of conversation threads in Facebook groups are also not organised in any other
way but time, so if no one bothers to search the group or scroll down, we end up with
dozens of posts about the same topic and the same people repeating themselves over and
over in response. (Respondent 88, personal communication, 17 December 2014)

Its a social forum. There are still many questions or opinions that cannot be shared in these
forums. For example, I am a member of a music teachers group which is full of many other
teachers whom I may one day work with or work under, revealing weaknesses is a concern
of mine as keeping perceptions positive is crucial to future work. I think you will see more
groups become smaller and more focused in future. (Respondent 88, personal
communication, 17 December 2014)

not being able to discuss incidents because using real name (Respondent 93, personal
communication, 18 December 2014)

Group Administrator Survey

Group administrators of both RTIC and ToA were also asked to complete another survey in addition
to the general teacher survey. In part this was to see the reasoning behind the creation of the
groups. There were six administrators asked to complete the survey. The first question asked
administrators to indicate which group they were involved in. This was to see if both groups were
included; no other identifying data was recorded. Unfortunately, neither of the ToA group
administrators responded to this survey. Two of the RTIC administrators are also administrators for
other teacher Facebook groups. Full results of the administrator survey are available in Appendix B.
The creation of RTIC came from the administrator having another FB page, Relief Teaching Ideas.
It started off as a page where I would post ideas to use in the classroom. It quickly
snowballed into a forum where people were asking if I could post their questions on my
page for them. I couldn't keep up with the demand & was getting stressed every time I
logged on, because I couldn't post everyone's questions (I would sometimes get 20-30
requests a day!). I started the group as a way for people to post their questions directly. I
also like how posts could be searched for, files & photos could be easily shared, and popular
posts could be bumped up to the top & not be lost. (Respondent 2A, personal
communication, 17 December 2014).
The ToA group has a file about the origins of the group which indicates that it was created as a
pretty handy place to network with other teachers, share/ request resources and so on (Hibbert,
2010).
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How each person became an administrator was queried, and three were approached by the group
creator to be an administrator as they were thought to be active and trustworthy. These four
administrators find it time consuming but rewarding. One commented that they enjoyed being busy
with the groups that they were administrators for as it helped connect them with the teaching
profession and adds to their learning and reflection (Respondent 1A, personal communication, 16
December 2014). Each of these administrators also participates in other Facebook teacher groups,
indicating in question 7 that they did so for similar reasons to the teacher survey. Half of the
administrators completed the teacher survey as well.

Discussion
Ranieri et al (2012) completed a study on using Italian Facebook groups professionally and
determined that there were two main group types, generic and thematic. The two groups surveyed
were of the generic type as they were not specifically created for a school based project (Ranieri et
al., 2012, pp. 758759). This allowed some insight into how others use Facebook groups
professionally. However, they did not discuss why teachers might join a Facebook teacher group in
detail.

It was interesting to compare the research which indicated that support (Duncan-Howell, 2010;
Trust, 2012) was one of the main reasons for using a PLN to the general teacher Facebook group
survey results for question 8 where it was clearly one of the key features in joining a Facebook
teachers group. It was interesting to note that one pre-graduate teacher was already developing
their PLN via a Facebook teachers group. Pietsch & Williamsons paper (2011) combined with the
results of question 5, where 28% had less than 2 years experience, and question 1 where 41 out of
67 teachers were not permanent, an inference may be drawn that developing a PLN which may
include Facebook teacher groups would certainly assist with the disjointed teaching experience in a
number of schools early in their teaching career. Further and more extensive study would be
beneficial to confirm this idea.

Collaboration, including the sharing of ideas and resources were also key reasons for using a
Facebook teacher group, questions 6, 8 and 9. This collaborative concept was supported in the
literature extensively (Duncan-Howell, 2010; Flanigan, 2011; Huang, Yang, Yueh-Min, & Hsiao, 2010;
Perkins, 2009; Ranieri et al., 2012; Trust, 2012). While the literature did not explicitly refer to
Facebook groups, it did refer to social networking and social media platforms as part of a PLN.

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The use of PLNs to access PD was not widely explained in the literature. It was noted that PLNs could
be used to do this but these were not the formal PD sessions that many schools and education
systems expect teachers to comply with. PLNs allow individual lifelong learning, rather than
faculty/school based learning (Duncan-Howell, 2010; Elliott, 2009; Flanigan, 2011; Perkins, 2009;
Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011; Trust, 2012). This is not to say, that formal PD activities cannot be
discovered and accessed through PLNs.

Evaluation
Further study in the area of Facebook teacher groups would be beneficial, particularly to ascertain if
developing a PLN which may include Facebook teacher groups would certainly assist with the
disjointed teaching experience in a number of schools early in their teaching career. Some Facebook
teacher groups are a closed community which means members need to be invited; others are public
groups. It would be of interest to investigate why this is done.
While Survey Monkey was a reasonable tool to use, the limits of the free version reduced the
analysis that could be completed. A more in-depth study on the use of Facebook teacher groups as
part of a PLN would be of interest.

Conclusion
Using Facebook teacher groups as part of their PLN are one way of being connected outside of
school to other teaching professionals worldwide. Many use these groups as a way to connect with
other teachers, share resources and ideas, and support each other in the changing world of teaching.

Reference List
De Rosa, C, Cantrell, J, Havens, A, Hawk, J, & Jenkins, L. (2007). Our Social Spaces. In Sharing privacy
and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. ([ebook].). Dublin, Ohio:
OCLC. Retrieved from
http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/reports/pdfs/sharing_part2.pdf
Duncan-Howell, J. (2010). Teachers making connections: Online communities as a source of
professional learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), 324340.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00953.x
Elliott, C. (2009). We are not alone: the power of personal learning networks. Retrieved December
29, 2014, from
http://www.academia.edu/1194073/We_are_not_alone_the_power_of_Personal_Learning
_Networks
Flanigan, R. L. (2011). Networking Professionals. Education Week, 31(9), S10S12. Retrieved from
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/10/26/09edtech-network.h31.html
Hibbert, J. (2010, November 1). Teachers of Adelaide Welcome file. Retrieved from
https://www.facebook.com/notes/teachers-of-adelaide/welcome/166241620072285
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Huang, J. J. S., Yang, S. J. H., Yueh-Min, H., & Hsiao, I. Y. T. (2010). Social Learning Networks: Build
Mobile Learning Networks Based on Collaborative Services. Journal of Educational
Technology & Society, 13(3), n/a. Retrieved from http://ifets.info/journals/13_3/9.pdf
Ishizuka, K. (2010). People Who Need People. School Library Journal, 56(2), 32 36.
Perkins, J. (2009, Summer). Personalising teacher professional development: strategies enabling
effective learning for educators of 21st century students. Retrieved December 29, 2014,
from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/39234/1/39234.pdf
Pietsch, M., & Williamson, J. (2007). Its all about experience: The challenge of becoming a teacher
in fragmented employment contexts. In Proceedings of the 2007 Australian Teacher
Education Association National Conference, 3 - 6 July 2007 (pp. 1 13). Wollongong NSW:
ATEA.
Ranieri, M., Manca, S., & Fini, A. (2012). Why (and how) do teachers engage in social networks? An
exploratory study of professional use of Facebook and its implications for lifelong learning.
British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(5), 754769. doi:10.1111/j.14678535.2012.01356.x
Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In Personal learning
networks: using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1 14). Moorabbin,
Victoria: Solution Free Press.
TL_Liz. (2014, December 29). Wordle - Facebook teacher groups. Retrieved December 29, 2014, from
http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/8411801/Facebook_teacher_groups
Trust, T. (2012). Professional Learning Networks Designed for Teacher Learning. Journal of Digital
Learning in Teacher Education, 28(4), 133138. doi:10.1080/21532974.2012.10784693

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Appendix A: Teacher Survey Responses and Graphs


Q1 What type employment do you have and type of location?
(Please answer at least once in each column)

Q1 Column A
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Q1 Column B
30

26

58
25
20
20
19
10

12

14

15
10

Casual only

Casual & Part time - Full time Part Time - contract or contract or
contract or permanent permanent
permanent

5
0
Relief (oncall; daily
basis)

Contract Contract Permanent


(part of (Semester /
term /
Full year)
Term)

Q1 Column C
45

42

40
35
30
25

20

20
15
10
5

0
Outback

Rural /
Country

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City /
Suburban

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Elizabeth Eckert

Column C
Total responses:
63

Column B
Total responses: 67

Column A
Total responses: 99

Answer Choices

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Responses

Casual only

19.00%
19

Casual & Part Time - contract or permanent

10.00%
10

Part time - contract or permanent

12.00%
12

Full time - contract or permanent

58.00%
58

Relief (on-call; daily basis)

14.00%
14

Contract (part of term / Term)

7.00%
7

Contract (Semester / Full year)

20.00%
20

Permanent

26.00%
26

Outback

1.00%
1

Rural / Country

20.00%
20

City / Suburban

42.00%
42

Graduate, still looking for work


Other
comments

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Q2: What ages are you qualified to teach? (more than one
answer possible)

Answered: 100
Skipped: 0

Q2: Ages Qualified to Teach


55

60
50
40

31

30
20

35
27

26

27
18

12

10

16
2

Answer Choices

Responses

12.00%
12

Early Childhood (pre school age)

Junior Primary (Foundation to Year 2) * Foundation is the first year of formal schooling - the
year before Year 1.

27.00%
27

Middle Primary (Year 2 to Year 5)

26.00%
26

Upper Primary (Year 5 to Year 6/7)

Primary (Foundation to Year 6/7) * Foundation is the first year of formal schooling - the year
before Year 1.

55.00%
55

27.00%
27

Middle School (Year 5/6 to Year 9/10)

18.00%
18

Junior Secondary (Year 7/8 to Year 10)

35.00%
35

Secondary (Year 7/8 to Year 12)

16.00%
16

Senior Secondary (Year 10 - 12)


Total Respondents: 100
Comments(5)
Showing 5 responses

31.00%
31

Reliefed Early Childhood to Year 11


Secondary Special Education
BA Dip Ed

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Answer Choices

Responses

BA Dip Ed
Special Education

Q3 What Australian state currently working in?

Answered: 100
Skipped: 0

Q3: Current Australian State


60
50
40
30
20
10
0
ACT
(0)

NSW
(28)

NT
(1)

Qld
(8)

SA
(55)

Tas
(2)

Vic
(6)

Answer Choices

WA
(0)
Responses

0.00%
0

Australian Capital Territory

28.00%
28

New South Wales

1.00%
1

Northern Territory

8.00%
8

Queensland

55.00%
55

South Australia

2.00%
2

Tasmania

6.00%
6

Victoria

0.00%
0

Western Australia
Total

100

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Q4: What educational sector/s do you teach in? (more than one
answer possible)

Answered: 100
Skipped: 0

Q4: Current Educational Teaching


Sector/s
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

80

21

State Education
Department

Independent /
Private School

20

Catholic Education Not yet teaching

Answer Choices

Responses

80.00%
80

State Education Department

21.00%
21

Independent / Private School

20.00%
20

Catholic Education
Total Respondents: 100
Comments(1)
Showing 1 response

None yet

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Q5: How many years teaching experience do you have?

Answered: 100
Skipped: 0

Q5: Years of Teaching Experience


35
30
25
20
15
10
5
28

22

17

33

<2 years

2 - 5 years

5 - 10 years

10+ years

Answer Choices

Responses

28.00%
28

<2 years (ie graduate / intern teacher)

22.00%
22

2 - 5 years

17.00%
17

5 - 10 years

33.00%
33

10+ years
Total

100

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Q6: Why do you use Facebook groups as a teacher where the


members are teachers? (more than one answer possible)

Answered: 75
Skipped: 25

Q6: Why do you use Facebook groups


80
70

72
60

60

59

50

42

41

40
27

30

16

20

20

16

10

Answer Choices

Responses

80.00%
60

connect with other teachers (general)

96.00%
72

gather ideas for classroom use

gather resources for classroom use (free or paid - includes where to buy type questions and
online/offline locations)

information on where to access PD opportunities (either advertised or requests by


members)

clarify / interpretations of registration requirements (state based)

guidelines &/or feedback on applying for teaching positions (selection criteria, interview
questions etc)

78.67%
59

56.00%
42

20.00%
15
26.67%
20

21.33%
16

other teaching position information

suggestions for classroom/school yard discussions (particularly tricky topics eg Santa's


existence / disturbing current events)

discuss general issues with education in Australia

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36.00%
27

54.67%
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Answer Choices

Responses

Total Respondents: 75
Comments(2)
Showing 2 responses

Discuss and share general issues with education in other countries


Proficiency information re registration

Q7: How do you hear about or access professional


development? (more than one answer possible)

Answered: 75
Skipped: 25

Q7: Hear about or accessing


Professional Development
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

41

29

17

33

56

30

30

20

44

Answer Choices

Responses

via subject or educational level professional organisations (eg Mathematics Association of


Australia, Primary School Teacher associations etc)

54.67%
41

38.67%
29

via Education Unions (AEU, IEU etc)

via Teacher Registration Board (or equivalent for your state eg BOSTES, VIT etc)

via e-lists (email lists - professional association based or other related groups)

via school sites (in-house professional development)

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22.67%
17
44.00%
33
74.67%
56

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Answer Choices

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Responses

40.00%
30

via posters / flyers at school sites

40.00%
30

via mail outs (printed or email)

via large conferences (eg EduTech, not subject specific)

via social networking / social media sites (eg Twitter / Facebook / Linkedin / etc)

26.67%
20
58.67%
44

Total Respondents: 75
Comments(18)

facebook
Twitter, Facebook
Facebook
HEIA Home Economics Institute of Australia
Facebook
Facebook
FaceBook
Facebook, General blogs, twitter accounts of educational leaders or groups
Facebook
facebook
Facebook
Facebook
facebook
Facebook and Twitter
Facebook
Facebook
Facebook, Twitter
Facebook

Q8: Why did you join a Facebook teachers group? Please state
which group/s you have joined as part of this question.

Answered: 75
Skipped: 25

Out of interest to see what they were discussing Teachers of adelaide An early childhood one Lisa
burman
Relief teachers network to share ideas and resources
Decd early career teachers, relief teaching community, teachers of Adelaide- joined to get classroom
ideas & have found it good to connect with other teachers. Wider networking as I live in a rural area.
Saeta, teachers of Adelaide. For discussion and support. To keep up to date.
SAETA as part of the SA English teaching Association Teachers of Adelaide - heard it was useful
JP teachers of Adelaide P teachers of Adelaide DECD teacher leaders Interested in current thinking in
education
relief teachers
To support myself as a casual; to get ideas
Relief teachers
To connect with other teacher librarians in my area.
To get to know other teachers in relief, gather and share ideas, resources and thoughts. See what is
available for my profession - PD, apps for teaching Groups - Relief Teaching Ideas Community, Free
Teacher Education PD, iTeach: Apps for the Classroom
I was already using twitter for professional networking, facebook was the next logical step
Relief Teaching Ideas community - to get ideas for use in the classroom, especially for relief teaching

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Relief Teaching Ideas Community (NSW) and Surviving Casual Teaching. It can be intimidating and
isolating being a graduate casual teacher and it is handy to know that others have the same questions
as you.
To connect with other teachers across the state. Teachers of Adelaide DECD Early Career Teachers
For support, to develop relationships with other teachers, networking, and friendships. Joined graduated teachers, USQ masters and post grad, USQ grad teachers network, beginning teachers RTI
buying and selling, teachers sharing ideas and resources, teaching resources for sale and sharing, Daily
5 , primary resources for upper years, what a great teaching idea, teacher resources, QLD year 6
teachers.
Teachers of Adelaide Relief Teachers ideas
It's a quick and easy way to stay updated on current trends and PD opportunities related to teaching.
To see what it had to offer, had never joined a professional community on social networking before thought might be interesting to see what function it played.
Interest based
To share ideas and resources.
To connect with other teachers across Australia to share ideas and resources. I've joined: Relief
teaching Australia RTI- buy sell and swap teaching resources Teach learn NSW
To share ideas and collaborate with other professionals. Member of several teaching groups.
Support and teacher resources/ideas
Teachers of Adelaide- To be in contact with teacher within my state Relief teachers of Australia
As per Q.6 to network with other teachers. Have joined Teachers of Adelaide, SAETA and What a Great
Teaching Idea
SOUTH Australian (DECD) australian Curriculum coordinators group (for country coordinators)
relief teachers, resources
I'm part of Relief Teaching Ideas Community and joined to have a greater access to resources I could
use in my classroom.
Teachers of Adelaide Relief Teachers of Adelaide
To gather resources and teaching aides
To discuss issues or ideas with other teachers. Groups: - relief teaching ideas community -surviving
casual teaching -online teachers support
Connect with teachers of same year levels. Support fellow graduates from uni
Adelaide Primary Teachers; Composite 6/7 Classroom Teachers; Free Education/Teaching PD; Apps
for Education; Daily 5 (SA); FREE Education Online Seminars: Relief Teachers of Adelaide; What a
Great Teaching Idea!!; HTASA and others... Good networking, source of ideas, why reinvent the wheel
from scratch?
I wanted to be part of an educational community - as a casual teacher, I don't feel like I belong in any
one school.
To offer my knowledge and experiences
I am a mature age Graduate and felt very isolated at Uni especially when my best friend exited early
with a BA Education Studies (due to prejudice re age and bad prac). I became ill and then
recommenced my study without the year group I was familiar with. Very lonely and isolated. Teahers
Pay Teachers / Relief Teaching Ideas Community / Clever Classroom / Super Teacher Worksheets /
Teachers Pet / Class Cover & The Casual Teacher Network / English Book for Learners / You Can't
Scare Me, I'm a Teacher / everything ESL.net / onestopenglish / The Indigenous Literacy Foundation /
Teaching Ideas / HotChalk / The Digital Classroom by Troxell / teachers.on.net
For sharing of classroom displays/resources and ideas
Relief teaching ideas Casual teachers in nsw: let's unite! I joined these groups to see if others were
experiencing the same issues as myself (mainly lack of secure job opportunities)
To hear what Practicing teachers have to say. To share knowledge and learn more. Relief teaching
ideas New educators network
Extended from my online study and built up from there. Graduates from my University group, my year of
graduates only group, teachers of particular year levels, relief teachers group,
I joined SAETA to support me on teaching English. Teachers of Adelaide to link in with other SA
teachers. Daily five SA to help with implementing that at school.
'Relief Teaching Ideas Community' 'Surviving Casual Teaching' I joined to share/receive ideas for the
classroom
Information, social contact, networking
Joined for reasons explained above Innovative (F - 12) Science Teaching Network:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/166238006739313 Teachers of Adelaide:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/584274598252042/
I joined for ideas and to seek out like minded people. Relief teachers network, new grad
Ideas Relief Teaching ideas
I joined as a casual teacher as a support network but I enjoy everyone sharing their ideas and
supporting each other. Relief teaching ideas and accreditation (i think this is what the other one is
called)

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Teachers of Adelaide What a great teaching idea Junior Primary/Primary Teachers of Adelaide for
resource gathering, information
See Q6
Started while I was working in TRT and trying to find contacts in additional sites in my area. Continued
as they are a valuable resource.
DECD -early years / teaching and learning / teacher leader AITSL, Some about digital learning /some
about resoucring ... too many to remember all ... joined them for professiinal networking .gathering
sharing ideas and practice ... s
SAETA
Relief teachers of adelaide, teaching ideas
What a great teaching idea; Teachers of Adelaide; SAETA; AATE; History Teachers.: ACER; Fleurieu
Teacher Talk. Facebook groups provide one of the only ways I can network and gather information and
discuss ideas. In my school we are largely one-person faculties. I would be lost without the groups. They
help me keep up to date.
Year 2 teachers Early years teachers New graduates
Teachers of Adelaide and Drama Teachers of Adelaide - connections, ideas, questions
Good way to network and share ideas. I'm currently in 4 groups. Teachers of Adelaide, AATE, SAETA
and ESL/EALD Teachers
For support from other professionals and to become part of a wide teaching community. SAETA,
HTASA, TEACHERS OF ADELAIDE, TEACHING AND LEARNING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA,
TEACHING IDEAS.
What a great teaching idea and Teachers of Adelaide I joined when I first started teaching to help me
gather ideas and resources.
To gain ideas a variety of subjects. Not sure of the exact names of the groups - Teachers of Adelaide,
great teaching ideas, daily 5, read Australia, Bill Hansberry, Spectronics, ipad/apps ? There are
probably more, but I cant think of them at the moment?
Teachers of Adelaide Primary teaching
Help keep informed on current registration, pd matters etc Joined teachers of adelaide group.
Teachers of Adelaide, Geography Teachers of Australia, Geography Teachers of Victoria. Former for
general info, discussions and connecting, latter two groups for subject specific discussions and resource
sharing.
Teachers of Adelaide SAETA HTASA
Encouraging Teachers - I have followed Angela from The Cornerstone for awhile (even before fb!) This
is her group. What a Great Teaching Idea - general teaching ideas ITeach apps - free & discounted
apps Free Teacher Education PD - to support one of the members of the RTI group who started this
group. Next year I will probably start using it for PD ideas as my registration PD requirements begin!
Relief Teaching Ideas & RTI Buying & Selling - I started those pages as a way to meet the ever
increasing demand of teachers wanting me to post their questions on my fb page. I was getting stressed
because I couldn't keep up with posting them all!
Relief teaching ideas community.
Seemed like a good way to share ideas
Teachers of Adelaide. I joined as a way to share info and ideas with teachers in a context similar to my
own.
Teachers of Adelaide What a great teaching idea Invited by friend to join and have remained as enjoy
learning from others / getting ideas.
I joined teachers of adelaide to share ideas and gather ideas from other teachers in my area.
Geography teachers Australia - specific support for subject area Teachers of Adelaide - localised
general info
Drama teachers of adelaide Teachers of adelaide. Reasons in question above.
Australian Teacher Librarian Network and ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association)
Connect wi other teachers. Relief teaching community. Surviving casual teachers. Casual teacher NSW
unite. Central Coast teachers

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Q9: Would you recommend joining Facebook teacher groups


to other teachers? Why / Why not?

Answered: 75
Skipped: 25

Q9: Would you recommend joining a


teacher Facebook Group?
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Yes

No

Possibly

i haven't yet got anything that I didn't know and get agri acted at the number of people saying I'm
teaching ...... Do you have any ideas because I see it as the lazy option if they say I've tried this and this
but need help I'm happy to offer practical suggestions
yes. Most teachers are happy to share resources and knowledge
yes, lots of great ideas & good for networking
Yes. Friendly and immediate.
Yes, another means of seeking support
Yes, I learn lots through it.
yes
yes, very helpful
Yes.... It's an online staff room!
Yes, but only if it is an active group.
Yes, I have recommended the groups I'm in to other teachers and pre-service teachers because
majority of the time everyone shares and are very helpful
of course. There is no reason not to if you are already on facebook
Yes! Very supportive, welcoming and helpful community of people
Absolutely - its a great way to find out information
Yes, it is a good opportunity to network and kept up to date with what is going on.
Yes because you can connect with many different teachers whom share experiences, ideas and can
give information. It is a great way to network, and make friends build relationships. You can ask any
number of questions and someone is always on hand to help out. Especially great for beginning
teachers who have so many questions but sometimes don't like asking at their school as they feel silly.
yes, good discussion and feedback about all things teacher related
Yes, especially new teachers.
Depends on the group - my other group where it is subject driven actually gives good insights and ideas
into pedagogical practices. Another just appears to be a dumping ground for peoples problems.
Yes good discussions
Yes. To share ideas and resources. Great for new teachers.
Yes, very valuable connections made and excellent support for one another. There are great ideas and
resources that come across and there is always someone willing to help you out and answer a question.
Absolutely. Collegial relationships are at the core of our profession. Facebook groups provide an
excellent platform for networking, sharing resources and ideas, asking for help and reflecting on
practice.
Yes. Very helpful

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I have a love hate relationship with these groups. I find a lot of people are very vocal and negative about
people who have won jobs. You need to have an understanding of when it is right to comment or not..
and not get caught up in the sometime long heated discussion.
Yes. Always many contributors when questions are asked. Notification of events, PD etc. tips and
support for all facets of teaching.
Yes - as a country teacher, Social networking through FB groups removes the sense of isolation that
can be felt.
yes, helpful, way of connecting with other teachers, resources
If this Facebook page uploaded more resources I would recommend. However there is a lot of talk of
people not getting jobs which is rather unsettling to myself as a new teacher!
No Not particularly helpful
Yes as they have the most variety of resources and information
yes because it's helpful to talk to other teachers with more experience or to hear about their
experiences. It makes you feel that you're not alone especially after graduating uni.
have discussed groups with other teachers but not necessarily recommended
Yes... Why reinvent the wheel fro scratch?
Yes! It helps me feel connected and gives me insight into various topics that I don't normally have
exposure to.
Yes- it opens many eyes of differing ideas and opinions
Definitely a great idea. Relief Teaching Ideas Community has been very helpful and removed the
tremendous sense of isolation I was experiencing, allowed me the opportunity to see that I am not alone
in my struggles for full time employment and is invaluable re information, resource sharing etc.
Yes- information at your fingertips from across Australia and sometimes the world.
yes because it validates your ow experiences
yes if you are a primary teacher (which im secondary art/design) as majority is relevant to primary years.
Very little secondary.
Yes. It keeps you up to date as you cannot possibly search or hear about every new innovation or idea
that comes along. However you need to be disciplined about your time on social media
Yes especially if wanting help with issues, resources etcetera
yes, to gain extensive range of perspectives and ideas/resources to use in the classroom
yes. For info, networking etc..
Only for those who see benefit in doing so. If they will not use the information and contacts in the group
then it would just be another drain on limited time.
I think it comes down to personal preference while I worked as a CRT was very helpful as you don't
always work in the same schools so don't always have somewhere to go for advice
Yes. Ideas & support
Yes and no. Sometimes i feel people rely on the site too much for others to do their work for them.
Yes...for ideas/resources/information/networking
Yes - a positive experience
Yes. I think the level of exposure to a range of educational topics and discussion centred on department
policies, procedures etc is useful. I think it's also beneficial to know that you're "not alone" in your
triumphs, struggles, confusion, etc.
Yes ... partly bcos of my role as a curriculum and pedagogy coordinator
Yes - No posts are usually very brief and subjective....sometimes VERY negative.
Yes, easy access to great info.
Definitely. I have recommended many groups to many colleagues.
Yes
Yes, though not strongly. Not hugely helpful and can be discouraging
not overly, people will have already joined them if the think it is relevant to them. It isn't something I
discuss with other teachers.
Yes. It is very helpful.
Yes. There is a lot of useful information shared and it provides new teachers with an insight into
teaching from those who have been working in the system for a while.
Yes. Lots of ideas, free advice, interesting discussions, clarification of ideas.
Yes because you can ask many questions to a large volume of people
possibly.
yes. Keeping abreast of ideas and resources.
Yes - good for networking and discussing educational issues.
Yes - great way to network, share ideas & get support from others.

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Yes, because teachers should collaborate and share ideas... We just need to be critical about what we
learn, and match it to our students.
Yes but be careful of your identity
Yes. Even if one idea us useful, the membership is worthwhile.
Yes, especially for early career teachers. Teaching can be an isolating job (despite working with people
all day) and this is an easy, accessible, supportive way to access support, ideas and information about a
vast range of issues / topics.
Yes, it allows you to share ideas and gain insight into other schools that you may not otherwise get.
yes I have - resources
Great, quick way to connect and get various opinions.
Yes, but dont limit yourself to Facebook, investigate other social networking sites such as Yammer
Yes. It is like a staff room.

Q10: Is there anything that you would prefer to have that isn't
offered in a Facebook teacher group that you access
elsewhere? Please indicate what this if applicable.

Answered: 35
Skipped: 65

maybe links to free BOTES accredited online training


Not really.
i guess there are incidents i don't discuss b/c i use my own name - if i was anonymous i cld be more
candid
No.
Not that I know of :)
it's a social forum. there are still many questions or opinions that cannot be shared in these forums. for
example, I am a member of a music teachers group which is full of many other teachers whom I may
one day work with or work under, revealing weaknesses is a concern of mine as keeping perceptions
positive is crucial to future work. I think you will see more groups become smaller and more focused in
future. Organisation of conversation threads in facebook groups are also not organised in any other way
but time, so if no one bothers to search the group or scroll down, we end up with dozens of posts about
the same topic and the same people repeating themselves over and over in response.
no
No
No not that I can think of
no
Local PD isn't usually offered via Facebook but there is a lot I of other places it is (email and staff
meetings etc)
no
Would like a permanent teachers group that is a little bit more established than the Teach Learn NSW
site- like a parallel site to the Relief teaching Australia group.
n/a
not that I can think of
More resources can be found on different websites. It would have been great if this Facebook page
worked more as a pinterest website rather than discussing unemployment!
not that i can think of.
A job!!! (joking)
N/A at this current time
na
an art/design teachers group split into primary and secondary which we can part take in both or one. As
well as a platform to connect with local practicing artists who might be interested in part taking in artists
in schools programs
Nothing I can think of at the moment. Maybe would be helpful if more users used Dropbox or similar to
share documents
no
No
No
Not sure

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Use edmodo to share resources with a more distinct group within DECD .. encourage teac g ers I work
with to engage with digital sharing using edmodo
n/a
Actually meeting with people face to face, talking, sharing and helping eachother.
I prefer Twitter as my professional social network, as I can follow people who share their views on topics
that I'm interested in.
A lot of craft ideas etc which i get through Pinterest. I prefer things that are free, as I spend a lot of
personal money on school related things.
unsure More links to professional pd sites, courses etc
unsure
N/a
No that I can think of

Appendix B: Administrators Survey Responses and Graphs


Q1

Which Facebook teachers group are you an admin for?

Answered: 4
Skipped: 0

Relief Teaching Ideas


Relief Ideas Community
Relief Teaching Ideas Community RTI Buying & Selling (Silent admin, only there now to provide support
& feedback when asked/required)
Relief teaching community. Central coast teachers. RTI selling group

Q2

If you created the Facebook group, what was the reasoning


behind group being created?

Answered: 3
Skipped: 1

I did not create this group.


I help admin, I'm not the creator
I have another FB page, Relief Teaching Ideas. It started off as a page where I would post ideas to use
in the classroom. It quickly snowballed into a forum where people were asking if I could post their
questions on my page for them. I couldn't keep up with the demand & was getting stressed every time I
logged on, because I couldn't post everyone's questions (I would sometimes get 20-30 requests a day!).
I started the group as a way for people to post their questions directly. I also like how posts could be
searched for, files & photos could be easily shared, and popular posts could be bumped up to the top &
not be lost.

Q3

Do you find it onerous being a group admin of a teacher's


Facebook group? (time consuming etc)

Answered: 4
Skipped: 0

Not onerous at all. It can be time consuming checking posts to ensure that members are playing by the
rules, but I enjoy reading all the posts and mentoring our members.
Time consuming but rewarding
Sometimes but I approached (via fb) 3 other members of the group & asked them to be admins too. I
chose people who were already pretty active on both the page & group, and who I thought I could trust
with my group!
At times it can be, when there are busy times at or or in the world, it reflects into the groups. In saying
that though, I really enjoy being busy with the groups as it keeps me connected to my profession

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Q4

What led you to be an admin for the group?

Answered: 4
Skipped: 0

I was approached by the creator of the group. The creator approached me because she had noticed that
I was mentoring graduate members in our group. As the group became larger she decided that she
needed more assistance with the admin.
Passion in the group - it's ideas, mentoring, networking
I don't know! I guess I thought it would relieve some of the stress...although it brings it's own stress at
times. I hate having to delete comments and posts. I don't want to seem too controlling but at the same
time I want it to remain a friendly & supportive space.
I was asked my the 'owners' of each group the day they started. I decided to help as I feel it adds to my
own learning and reflection

Q5

As a group admin, do you also participate in other Facebook


teacher groups?

Answered: 4
Skipped: 0

As a group admin, do you also


participate in other Facebook teacher
groups?
5
4
3
2
1
0
Yes
Answer Choices

No
Responses

100.00%
4

Yes

0.00%
0

No
Total

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Q6

If you participate in other Facebook teacher groups, why?


What is different to the Facebook group that you are an admin
for?

Answered: 4
Skipped: 0

I guess in the other groups I don't feel that I have to monitor what members are writing. And I also don't
have to read things if the topic does not interest me.
Resources page
To be honest...I haven't lately because I haven't had time! But I used to contribute more to the
encouraging teachers group. It's a Christian based teaching group. I try to keep my group neutral.
A different range of people, some groups offer a more local perspective whilst others are world wide.

Q7

Why do you use Facebook groups as a teacher where the


members are teachers? (more than one answer possible)

Answered: 4
Skipped: 0

Why do you use Facebook groups


as a teacher where the members
are teachers?
6

Answer Choices

Responses

100.00%
4

connect with other teachers (general)

75.00%
3

gather ideas for classroom use

gather resources for classroom use (free or paid - includes where to buy type questions and

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100.00%
4

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Answer Choices

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Responses

online/offline locations)

information on where to access PD opportunities (either advertised or requests by members)

75.00%
3
25.00%
1

clarify / interpretations of registration requirements (state based)

guidelines &/or feedback on applying for teaching positions (selection criteria, interview questions etc)

25.00%
1
25.00%
1

other teaching position information

suggestions for classroom/school yard discussions (particularly tricky topics eg Santa's existence /
disturbing current events)

25.00%
1

50.00%
2

discuss general issues with education in Australia


Total Respondents: 4
Comments(1)

Mentor new teachers & graduates

Q8

Did you complete the Teachers using Facebook groups to


connect with other teacher's survey posted to the group wall?

Answered: 4
Skipped: 0

Did you complete the


teacher survey as well?
4

0
Yes
Answer Choices

No
Responses

50.00%
2

Yes

50.00%
2

No
Total

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