Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Educational Technology


Educational Technology

Major Advisor

Kerry Rice, Ed.D.


Chareen Lee Snelson, Ed.D.


Youngkyun Baek, Ph.D.


Traditional professional development methods are not optimal for international school educators because of isolation, lack of funds and time to attend, disconnected content and inability to make a difference in the pedagogical approaches teachers use. The creation of online Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) has been suggested as an augment to or a replacement for traditional approaches. The purpose of this mixed methods study was three-fold: (a) to discover if international school educators are using social media for professional learning and if so, what tools they are choosing to use, (b) to discover if a relationship exists between the use of social media tools for informal professional learning and change in the pedagogical practices used by the teachers in international schools; and finally, (c) to describe how the use of social media may lead to a change in pedagogical practice. An explanatory sequential mixed method design was used to achieve this purpose, including 270 participants in the first phase and five in the second phase. Data collection included a quantitative online survey instrument and qualitative online interviews. Revealed in the findings was that international school teachers use various social media tools that meet specific needs, to build a PLN. Through intentional action international school educators supplemented professional development and changed their teaching practice creating an expanded and more authentic, constructivist learning environment. The PLNs in this study were able to reduce or remove the major concerns regarding professional development in international schools such as cost, contextual relevance, unvaried approaches and limited time.