#teachersofinstagram : a collective case study exploring the use of social media by K–12 teachers.


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Instagram, the most popular and rapidly evolving social media platform, used by an estimated 67 % of teachers, requires evaluation regarding its ability to contribute to the professional practice of K–12 educators (Devaney, 2016). While social media platforms have been researched more extensively in the fields of medicine, medical education, teacher education, and higher education, the use of Instagram by K–12 teachers remains largely uncharted territory for educational researchers. Educational research provides information on services like Facebook and Twitter in the K–12 classroom (Manca, 2020). However, this research cannot be directly applied to Instagram, which is visual in nature and therefore used in vastly different ways (Pittman & Reich, 2016; Shane-Simpson, et al., 2018; Carpenter, et al., 2020). This gap in literature prevents educational stakeholders from confidently using Instagram professionally. This study utilized a qualitative design to best illuminate the problem of under-researched Instagram use by teachers. Qualitative research seeks to make the world visible through intentional, interpretive practices (Creswell & Poth, 2018). This approach emphasized participant voice, required researcher reflexivity, and yielded a full description of the problem, in this case the lack of understanding of the use and perceptions of Instagram by K–12 educators. Two key research questions guided the semi-structured Zoom interviews with ten participants. This study attempted to answer: How do K–12 teachers use Instagram? and Why do K–12 teachers use Instagram? In this research study, three key findings transcended the two separate research questions. Based on participant responses and thematic analysis, this study proves that critical media literacy (CML) is a valuable framework for evaluating K–12 Instagram use. Additionally, participant voices strongly confirmed that the unique features of Instagram make it a worthwhile tool for educators. Finally, data from both research question supports the learning-by-doing mentality in K–12 teacher Instagram use.



Instagram. Social media. K–12 teachers. Critical media literacy. Inspiration. Collaboration. Student impact.