The Importance of Twitter in the Professional Development of Digitally-Engaged Head Teachers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



In this paper the authors developed a model for understanding the professional development of digitally engaged head teachers. They did this by synthesising the work of Gronn, Puentedura and Dixon, whilst focusing on Twitter as a tool for professional development. Three research questions were used to explore the link between Twitter and professional development for 21 head teacher participants: Why are certain head teachers using Twitter?; How deep and broad are the networks of the sampled head teachers?; What are the ways in which Twitter has contributed to head teachers’ professional development and career progression? In the model, head teachers are seen to interact online with
differing levels of depth and sophistication as their careers progress. Findings suggest that the most engaged at each stage stand to gain the most from their involvement and Twitter was used to: connect with other professionals and expand their professional networks; seek out the opinion, counsel and
support of others; get professional news early, and in an easily-digestible format; expand their knowledge, influence and connections through serendipitous online meetings.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-72
JournalInternational Studies in Educational Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Twitter , professional development , head teachers