Analysis of Timeline Posts to a Language Teacher Organization Public Facebook Group

 

ABSTRACT

Affordances of Facebook for enhancing communities of practice are often overlooked in studies highlighting the role of social networking in the English as a foreign language context of Korea. Taking this into account, the purpose behind this study is to determine the function a Korea-based language teacher organization Facebook group in terms of how the 3,197 members use the service as a personal learning environment for professional development, while also seeking to determine how the group supports the endeavors of those actively engaging with it. Data harvesting was undertaken using NodeXL Pro, and confined to a one-year period, with thematic content analysis then employed to group the 278 captured timeline posts into themes for analysis. Although most posts were disproportionately organizational, it is clear that professional development emerges amongst members as the largest concern. Further analysis came to illustrate the role of the group in the professional lives of members, seeing it arise as an affinity space, presenting access to professional development opportunities, content, and contacts, and providing a means for members to validate teaching material, showcase success, and access just-in-time support. Ultimately though, before becoming integral to any educatorís personal learning environment, the group could perform much better, and several means to this end are exposed.