Intent and Content of a Closed Facebook Group for School-Based Agricultural Education Instructors in California
Keywords:closed Facebook group, content analysis, informal mentoring, social media
An external network for school-based agricultural education (SBAE) teachers is integral to reducing teacher turnover. Because SBAE teachers are often isolated geographically from other teachers, it is important to identify other methods of communication with peers. The California Ag Ed Discussion Lab was acreated in 2016 to more closely address the unique needs of teachers in California. A dearth of literature exists about the use of closed Facebook groups for teachers, especially in agricultural education. The purpose of this study was to analyze posts in a closed Facebook group for SBAE teachers in California to determine the intent and content shared. This study employed quantitative content analysis using a conceptual framework to identify what members were posting about in the California Ag Ed Discussion Lab Facebook group by SBAE teacher role and how they communicated the information via communicative functions of social media. Data collected included three years of posts in the Facebook group. Findings indicated the SBAE teacher roles of Instruction and FFA were the most posted subject areas. Using the conceptual framework, data revealed 53.9% of posts coded to one of three categories: Mobilization/Instruction, Information Sharing/Instruction, and Mobilization/FFA and also coincided with events in the agricultural education teaching profession.