A two-year investigation of a Facebook community for supporting language teachers using technology: Possibilities and challenges
Yurika Ito (2022)
In: Proceedings of the XXIst International CALL Research Conference (Chapter 29)
The importance of educating language teachers to develop their competence in using technology for teaching purposes has been well established in the literature, but the reality is that many teachers around the world have been forced to educate themselves with little or no formal training. The Internet has opened up opportunities for individuals from all over the world to learn. With the use of Social Networking Sites (SNSs), language teachers are now able to connect with other like-minded teachers and support each other regardless of their geographic location and/or financial situation. Despite the increased number of online language teacher communities forming on these platforms, much remains unknown when it comes to how language teachers actually make use of such communities to learn about technology. Hence, the current mixed-methods longitudinal study investigated the role of online communities on SNSs for supporting language teachers who are using technology in their classes. The main data collection methods employed in the study were: (1) a content analysis of the posts shared in a Facebook community which consists of over 1000 online community members during the two-year observation period (i.e., October 2018 – September 2020), a questionnaire to understand the members’ backgrounds and experiences in the community, and semi-structured interviews with the questionnaire respondents to obtain an in-depth understanding of their views about being a community member. The findings will be discussed in terms of the benefits and issues of using Facebook communities as a source of professional and emotional support.