The results section is organized according to the research questions, presenting quantitative data. In the case of the second research question, quantitative results are explained in detail with qualitative data.
Of the members who posted at least one message, teachers constituted the largest group and posted the highest percentage of all messages (Table 2
). However, taking into account the number of messages per member, there was a statistically significant difference in activeness of posting between the role groups (asymptotically distributed F = 2.479, p
< 0.05). The Games–Howell post hoc test revealed that the most active members were educational technologists (difference from all other role groups p
< 0.05). As mentioned in the methodology part, the Facebook group was initiated by members from the Estonian Union of Educational Technologists and the three initiators were the most active posters, with 127 messages in total. There were no other differences between the role groups in terms of activeness in postings (p
The Kruskal–Wallis test indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in the tonality of statements by authors’ roles (H = 30.229, p
< 0.01). The Mann–Whitney U-test revealed that parents posted more messages with negative sentiments compared with other roles (all p
< 0.01), except principals (see also Figure 1
There was a statistically significant difference in speech acts expressed in messages (p
< 0.01) in different role groups, except principals and parents (see also Table 3
). The Chi-square test revealed the most used acts by role (see also Table 3
). There was one predominant speech act in the case of educational technologists and supporters. The greatest percentage of the messages by educational technologists (43.5%) were with the speech act of ‘providing resources’, whereas supporters mostly informed other members in the group (42.6% of their messages). In messages by teachers and members with other roles, the more prevalent acts included asking (34.0% and 29.0%, respectively) and providing resources (32.8% and 30.1%, respectively). Two distinguishing speech acts by members from government institutions and teacher educators were informing (29.3% and 28.4%, respectively) and providing resources (respectively 25.9% and 28.4% of their messages). All coded speech acts were represented in messages posted by different roles, except for principals whose messages never included invitations to participate in some activities.
Again, there was a statistically significant difference in the topics represented in messages according to the chi-square test in each of the role groups (see also Table 4
). All topics were represented in messages by teachers, educational technologists and members with other roles. Only four of the nine topics were identified in the messages posted by principals: tool, management, methodological idea, and other.
Teachers and teacher educators posted mostly (respectively 41.3% and 31.8% of their messages) about tools. Teachers were the role group, whose messages were about various tools (mind maps, screencasting, photo editors and sharing, web-boards, e-learning platforms, web-conferencing tools etc.) but mostly about assessment tools (e.g., Kahoot, Quizlet, LearningApps etc.). Assessment tools were mentioned in messages by all roles, except parents. Messages by educational technologists and teacher educators about tools mostly referred to some web-conferencing tools. More fun tools, like music composition or learning games, were presented in messages by teachers and supporters. Tools, which are not so commonly used in schools, like audio editors, social bookmarks and programming, could be found in messages by educational technologists.
Members from ministerial agencies and educational technologists shared more webinars (34.5% of their messages). Educational technologists and supporters posted messages with varied content. However, one-quarter of the messages by educational technologists (25.0%) were about webinars. Also, the content of webinars shared in the Facebook group by educational technologists was varied, including the use of different tools, but also management at schools and at home, and health issues. Nevertheless, the management at school was the dominant topic in webinars distributed by educational technologists. Members from government institutions invited the other members mostly to participate in webinars about learning management systems and management at schools. More than one-third of the messages about webinars by teachers and teacher educators referred to webinars, where methodological ideas were introduced.
Almost a quarter of the messages by supporters (24.1%) were about learning materials. Also, in the case of learning materials, different assessments prevailed and learning material about assessments was posted by each role group at least once. Teachers and students were supported also with e-lessons and videos, which were distributed in this Facebook group. Only teacher educators did not post any e-lessons, and members from government institutions did not post any videos. E-lessons prevailed among the messages with the topic of ‘learning material’ by educational technologists, whereas supporters posted actively both e-lessons and videos. Again, less common and newer technological possibilities, like virtual reality, were introduced by educational technologists.
Half of the messages by parents (50.0%) were about management issues and this was one of the main topics of principals, too (38.9% of their messages). Principals, teachers and educational technologists from different schools posted mostly about their experiences of how to manage distance education in an emergency situation and gave suggestions for others. The content of the messages by parents on the topic coded as ‘management’ was also mostly about their experiences, how they cope with homeschooling, juggling their own work and supporting their children, and they gave tips for other parents, too. However, homeschooling was also mentioned in messages by all other roles, and parents gave suggestions to schools on how to manage teaching. Assessment issues were represented in the messages with the topic ‘management’ by all role groups, except principals. The need to reduce the diversity of digital tools used and to lower the workload was pointed out by parents, teachers, supporters and members with other roles. All role groups, but especially principals, supporters and members with other roles posted messages, which were coded as ‘other’ topics. These included different cartoons, jokes, wishes, thanks, etc.
Messages representing the topics coded as ‘tool’, ‘management’, ‘methodological idea’ and ‘other’ were posted by each role group. The category of methodological ideas included tips by teachers and educational technologists on how to use web-conferencing tools like Zoom. For example, it was explained how to use these tools for group work by creating breakout rooms. Supporters shared different websites (art, virtual museums, etc.) and offered ideas on how to use these in lessons. Parents shared methodological ideas, which had been given to their children and which the parents really liked.
Tool guides were shared only by teachers, educational technologist, teacher educators and members with other roles. In most cases, it was guidance on how to use web conferencing tools or learning management systems. Also, teachers and educational technologists shared with others instructions on creating videos, including screencasts, and on using web-boards. It was also interesting that all roles discussed cyber risks, except principals. Cyber risk issues related to Zoom were pointed out by educational technologists, supporters, teacher educators and members with other roles. Supporters and members from government institutions also distributed general suggestions on how to avoid cyber risks. As children spent more time at their computers, educational technologists pointed out the health problems, while teachers and supporters warned about cyberbullying.
Members of different roles posted messages for different target groups. All role groups posted messages for everyone, schools and teachers (see Table 5
). Messages for everyone were prevalent among the messages by educational technologists, supporters, parents and members with other roles. In addition to writing messages to everyone, teachers also wrote for other teachers. Members from government institutions addressed their messages mostly to teachers. There was no statistically significant difference in the case of teacher educators and principals.
Interestingly, principals were the addressee only in messages posted by educational technologists, parents, principals themselves, and members from government institutions. Principals were the group with the lowest number of messages addressed to them.
Change can come when it is forced upon us or when we voluntarily participate in, or even initiate it, being dissatisfied with the current situation. The outcome of change depends on how the people involved affect the change. This study tried to understand the stakeholders’ roles in education during the coronavirus pandemic in Estonia, which was an unexpected and unwanted change. The results indicate that among local stakeholders, educational technologists were the catalysts of change instead of the principals. They suggested and shared tools, educated teachers, students and even principals through webinars and e-lessons. External stakeholders supported local stakeholders psychologically and created learning materials and webinars.
Some unexpected results also emerged. Principals in our study offered more psychological support and did not talk so much about the essential topics that emerged during the crisis in this Facebook group. Also, it is worth mentioning that, as teachers were confused about how to teach, the teacher educators focused more on tools. This indicates that teacher training institutions were also not prepared for this unexpected change. Additionally, it was interesting that members from the governmental institutions wrote mostly for teachers, not so much for principals. It is an important finding because the leadership should go from the bottom upwards and it is more logical if the government communicates with principals who forward these messages to teachers and other local stakeholders. Maybe during this unexpected change addressing teachers directly was the right decision because then the information quickly reached the teaching process. However, it was important that all stakeholders were aware of the implementation process and, therefore, this kind of Facebook community can be beneficial.
The novelty of this study lies in the analysis of Facebook messages by different stakeholders based on real data collected during the actual pandemic. These messages indicate what was relevant and important at that time. However, our study has some limitations, too. First, the data were based on one Facebook group in Estonia and, therefore, the results are not generalized. Also the results are not generalized in Estonia as the data are based only on one Facebook group and the sample is not representative. Second, we only analyzed messages, leaving out comments. In future studies, it would be interesting to analyze comments as well. Also, as this study covers only the situation at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and it would be interesting to analyze how these stakeholders affected the change in the autumn period, too.