Professional learning on social media provides a platform for teachers to share, network and build professional learning communities. Social networks encourage connections, discussions, participation and sharing of resources. It can be a source of feedback, inspiration and support. All of this can enrich your knowledge and skills as a teacher, and can therefore be seen as professional learning.

Professional learning through online interactions doesn't replace the benefit of face to face collaborations and discussions with colleagues. However, it is a valuable additional option that has many benefits and some drawbacks.

Benefits of engaging on social media

There are many benefits to engaging with social networks for professional learning. Professional learning through social media allows you to:

  • engage with resources appropriate to your context and interests
  • maintain ownership of learning you engage with
  • easily access free professional learning at a time that suits you
  • engage with global perspectives without being limited by location and timezones
  • build a professional learning network (PLN) to share and learn from
  • build relationships that can foster your identity and resilience
  • discover new innovative ideas and the latest thinking
  • connect with professional organisations and educational bodies.

One of the most significant benefits of using social networks and online communities of practice is that it offers you the time to consider the content and to reflect on your own practice and learning.

Drawbacks of engaging on social media

It is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls of engaging publicly on social media in a professional capacity. Anything shared or written by you may have an impact on your professional standing and reputation. As such, it is important to be mindful of what you post and the people you connect with online.

There are a host of different professional learning materials available online for teachers. Before accessing professional learning that has been shared with you online, you should consider whether the person or group who has shared it is trustworthy. From there, it is important to verify the source of the professional learning. This can be done by looking up the authors or the research cited within the learning to assess if the source is reliable.Taking tips from unverified sources could be detrimental to your teaching practice, as well as to that of those with whom you share the material.

Tips for engaging on social media

Teachers are strongly encouraged to consider setting up a teacher account to separate private lives from professional lives. This will help to switch off from teaching and make the distinction between friends, family, and work.

It is essential to work out boundaries, remain informed, and learn about privacy settings on social networks. A failure to do so may result in legal implications or termination of employment due to inappropriate engagement. It is imperative to follow your school/setting and employer's social media policies. It is also wiseto be mindful of what you post, as it is a reflection of you as a professional.

Other considerations to keep your social networking professional include:

  • not connecting with students or families
  • keeping personal pictures for private accounts
  • not tagging other teachers unless they agree
  • posting after school hours
  • never including photos of students in posts
  • ensuring the credibility of anything you repost or share has been verified
  • not feeling obligated to comment, participate or read everything
  • trying to keep all online interactions positive.

When sharing articles, add a summary or a statement on why the article was helpful to give others a bit of insight into why you shared the content. Remember, the materials you share can also be seen by others as an endorsement and they might go on to read further and share the material that you have recommended. In addition to sharing others' content it can be very valuable to share things that you have learnt, found inspirational, or tried in your own practice.

Some social networks to engage with


LinkedIn is a professional platform where you can connect with other educators. It focusses on networking and can enhance your professional reputation through the sharing of articles and updates, and by interacting with others. In terms of professional learning, LinkedIn can provide you with access to articles, tips on ways of working, and information about what is happening in education around the country and the globe.


Facebook allows users to connect with others either individually or through groups. There are many teacher groups based on subject, year levels, states, cities, and regions. Pages for teachers have lots of content and allow teachers to share information such as articles, photos, videos, questions, and opinions. You can search for Australian Curriculum groups, teacher groups, sector groups, and subject areas' specialised groups. Look at suggested pages when you join groups and askcolleagues to invite you to like pages which may be of interest to you.


Twitter can be used to receive news, ask questions, follow people of interest, and to engage in chats. It is easy to use, provides skimmable content and shared information can reach a large number of people quickly. On Twitter, you can curate your content to match your personal interests. Twitter posts have a character limit, which can be restrictive, but can also be a bonus, allowing you to find items that appeal to you when quickly scrolling through information. It can also be beneficial to read conflicting viewpoints to your own to try to understand the perspective of others. Some teachers use Twitter to blog about their practice, tweet a link, and invite other teachers to comment. This is a great reflective practice.

Twitter chats are a public conversation, based around a hashtag, which connect educators worldwide. The chats occur at a set time and day, making it easy to join regardless of location or timezone. The hashtag makes it easy to follow the conversation. You can find 'chats' by seeing what's trending, through Google searches, tweets from people they are connected with, and through the curated content in the 'For You' tab. Twitter chats are intellectually engaging as you are exposed to a wide range of views on a variety of topics. They generally last an hour, and the sharing of professional knowledge and practice is vast. Your contribution to the chat could be counted as professional engagement in networks and the broader community.

You can use Twitter to:

  • find educators to follow who share your interests
  • follow an education Twitter chat, then join a chat when you are comfortable
  • use hashtags in tweets and to search topics
  • contribute by commenting or by sharing. Sharing can include images, articles and videos, which you can post with a short comment and a hashtag about the main idea.

Some of the popular education hashtags and chats you can follow are:

  • #aussieEd is a popular Australian chat hosted by various people on Sunday nights. A range of topics are covered, often very relevant to the Australian context. Hosts include international speakers, researchers, and teachers.
  • #HALTNetwork is a hashtag to follow to find educators who have undergone HALT (Highly Accomplised or Lead Teacher) certification and share their professional learning.
  • #PSTchat is another Australian chat that supports preservice and new teachers. Hosts and topics vary, but the focus remains on supporting new teachers.

Recording social media engagement for professional learning hours

You may be able to record professional learning from social networks as professional learning hours depending on what the teacher regulatory authority deems acceptable. Finding a research paper, making notes, writing in a reflection journal or writing an impact statement of how your engagement on a social network changed your teaching practice may be accepted. Always check with your teacher regulatory authority and keep clear records.

Remember, social networks can be a place for professional learning, but you must be critical and discerning when engaging with and posting content. It is essential for teachers to remain both socially and ethically professional, and to follow your employer's social media policies.

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