Date of Award

Fall 12-10-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Julia Kirk

Second Advisor

Dr. Cherie Gaines

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Wagner


Rural elementary teachers faced challenges to professional development which differed from their urban or suburban peers. With the increasing popularity of social media at the time of this study, rural elementary teachers had the opportunity to use social media to find and engage in professional development which might otherwise be unavailable to them. By engaging in professional development teachers found via social media, rural elementary teachers could overcome some of the challenges faced as a rural educator. The purpose of this study was to determine how rural elementary teachers perceived and used social media to find and engage in professional development and how the professional development rural teachers found through social media impacted their self-efficacy. Rural elementary teachers from six different schools representing two states within the Appalachian region of the United States completed a questionnaire about professional development, their use of social media, and their self-efficacy. Rural elementary teachers reported using various social media platforms to read blogs, watch webinars, attend virtual trainings, take courses, learn new strategies, and gather new ideas to use in the classroom. Given the prevalence of social media and teachers’ continued need for professional development, the value of social media to teachers’ professional development and their self-efficacy should continue to be explored.


Professional development, self-efficacy, rural, self-directed learning