The website Reddit has received scant attention from educational researchers despite the presence of numerous teaching-related subreddits that host thousands of threaded conversations. The purpose of this study was to provide an initial comparison of discussions occurring in several different affinity spaces on Reddit. Because of the lack of relevant prior research, there was no baseline for what to expect in Reddit discussions, so all posts and responses in four different teaching-related subreddits over the course of a full year were analyzed to answer three research questions: How much did individuals contribute to different subreddits? What content interactions occurred in different subreddits? What social interactions occurred in different subreddits? Comparative quantitative analysis revealed substantial differences among the subreddits in terms of levels of voting and network characteristics. Results suggest that Reddit hosts diverse spaces that could present benefits and challenges for educators. These findings are addressed in relation to the extant literature and implications for educational practice and future research.
The existing work on teacher-focused Twitter hashtags typically frames each hashtag as a single, unified phenomenon, thereby collapsing or erasing differences between them (and any resulting implications for learning). In this study, we conceived of teacher-focused hashtags as affinity spaces potentially containing subspaces distinguished by synchronous chats and other, asynchronous communication. We used computational methods to explore how participation differed in terms of content, interactions, and portals between these contexts within the #michED hashtag used by Michigan teachers. During the 2015–2016 academic year, #michED saw more non-chat activity than chat activity, and most participants only engaged in one mode of activity or the other. Participation during chats was associated with more replying as well as more socially-, affectively-, and cognitively-related content, suggesting a focus on social interaction. In contrast, non-chat participation was associated with more retweeting, mentioning, hyperlinks, and hashtags, suggesting a focus on content dissemination. These results suggest that different affinity spaces—and different literacy practices—may exist within the same hashtag to support different objectives. Teachers, teacher educators, and researchers should therefore be careful to make these distinctions when considering Twitter as a learning technology for teachers.
Twitter and other social media have assumed important places in many educators’ professional lives by hosting spaces where new kinds of collegial interactions can occur. However, such spaces can also attract unwelcome Twitter traffic that complicates researchers’ attempts to explore and understand educators’ professional social media experiences. In this article, we define various kinds of spam that we have identified in our research on educators’ uses of Twitter. After providing an overview of the concept of spam, we evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to addressing the presence of spam in educator-focused Twitter spaces. Then we suggest practical, holistic metrics that can be employed to help identify spam. Through secondary analyses of our past research, we describe the use of such metrics to identify and deal with spam in three specific cases. Finally, we discuss implications of spam and these suggested methods for teacher educators, instructional designers and educational technology researchers.
The Teacher Educator Technology Competencies (TETCs) were created to help all teacher educators support teacher candidates as they prepare to become technology-using teachers. The TETCs largely focus on teaching with technology. However, one of the 12 competencies, TETC 9, offers an opportunity to delve into teaching about technology which might allow for the foregrounding of technoethical issues in everyday classroom uses of technologies. In this article, we offer theoretical critique of epistemological, ontological, and historical commitments that are implicitly or explicitly communicated in TETC 9, but also more broadly in the field, profession, and society. Specifically, we draw attention to commitments to behaviorist learning theories, accountability reform measures, visions of democracy, and the need for diversity or equity in methods and findings. We conclude by offering suggestions for how teacher educators might inquire into technoethical conundrums through ethical, democratic, legal, economic, technological, and pedagogical explorations of technologies.
Social media provide new opportunities for when, how, where, and with whom people learn—venue unimaginable 15 years ago. Today’s students and educators have adopted social media for various purposes both within education and outside of it. This review of the published research on social media in education focuses on the affordances for student learning, teacher professional development, educational research practices, and communication of scholarship. The article concludes with implications for education policy.
This study revisits Carpenter and Krutka’s (2014) survey of how and why educators use Twitter, through exploring one of Twitter’s oldest education hashtags: #Edchat. From October 1, 2017 to June 5, 2018, more than 1.2 million unique #Edchat tweets were collected from approximately 200,000 different tweeters. Machine coding was used to answer, “What types of tweets did users contribute to #Edchat?,” and human coding to answer, “What purposes are observable in these tweets?” The results showed that #Edchat has been used effectively for exploring ideas but under-utilized for sharing emotions—with mixed results for capitalizing on the advantages of Twitter’s online environment. Further research is required to explore combating teacher isolation and experiencing a sense of camaraderie. Taking into account these results, practitioners should be clear regarding their goals for Twitter education hashtag use when considering #Edchat, and researchers studying different education hashtags should keep in mind various tweet types, modes, and purposes.
This conceptual exploration revisits a key question from earlier work (Greenhow & Gleason, 2014): What is scholarship reconsidered in the age of social media? Social scholarship is a framework that expanded Boyer’s (1990) conceptualization of scholarship to consider how social media affect discovery and research, teaching and learning, integration, and application. This paper critically reflects on how social scholarship continues to evolve in light of changing understandings in the field of educational technology and the role social media play in the academy. We provide recent examples of social scholarship such as altmetrics, interdisciplinary projects, crowdsourced educational technology syllabi and reconsideration of the needs of research participants. Moreover, we share concrete examples of how scholars might enact social scholarship, with what benefits and challenges, and surface new concerns regarding openness, equity, access, literacy, privacy and ethical considerations. Our paper concludes with recommendations for preparing scholars to enact social scholarship while mitigating the challenges it poses.
Although researchers have discovered a great deal about who uses Twitter for educational purposes, what they post about, when they post and why they participate, there has so far been little work to explore where participants in educational Twitter contexts are located. In this paper, we establish a methodological foundation that can support the exploration of geographical issues in educational Twitter research. We surveyed 46 participants in one educational Twitter hashtag, #michED, to determine where they lived; we then compared these responses to results from three digital methods for geolocating Twitter users (human coding, machine coding and GPS coding) to explore these methods’ affordances and constraints. Human coding of Twitter profiles allowed us to analyze more participants with higher levels of accuracy but also has disadvantages compared to other digital—and traditional—methods. We discuss the additional insights obtained through geolocating #michED participants as well as considerations for using geolocation and other digital methods in educational research.
Recent articles in the educational research field have called for a stronger research focus on students’ learning with everyday technologies in-and-out-of classrooms and on the changing nature of scholars’ practices in light of tech- nological advancements. We present findings from a mixed methods study of whether and how novice researchers understand and practice social scholar- ship – a concept currently being debated in various disciplines – which seeks to leverage social media affordances to create expanded sites for research collaboration, peer review, dissemination, and evaluation of research im- pact. We found that novice researchers focused almost exclusively on social scholarship of discovery and much less on interdisciplinary, teaching, or ap- plied scholarship. Insights from this study will appeal to those interested in examining the theory and design of graduate student learning and faculty development.