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Veletsianos, Lupton, research that shows how any people use things, and for what reasons, but don’t mention deeper/richer experiences of using these sites such as Twitter Research is not mature- also Veletsianos
Visitors identity of non-participation progressively marginalised them (Wenger, 1998) in online communities Lack of social presence No network
Resources from Twitter were useful to particiapnts for keeping uptodate but visitors lacked initiating social presence online thus retaining themselves in a periperal position Learning to particpate, to talk is key, but Visitors did not extend them selvesfrom their periperal position,
Affective reasons underpinning non-participation
Stumbling & experimenting important Arguments for putting oneself in there, tied in with Josie, saying people need to be critical participants, argument for developing skills/cultures. Cultural competency in online environments
If the Internet is mainstream, if social media are mainstream tool, how can we support active participation in online social spaces How do we support critical engagement Is this important- others think so (JISC, dig literacies, All aboard.. Otherwise we risk a passive consumer led environment (Fraser, OER15) Digital literacy is contextual, my context is academic development, some of the same literacies, some will be different among people among institutions, between context and role What practices are important for educators in HE?
Online open spaces are not going away in the short term, how can we help those we educate to navigate, to particiapte and critically particpate in these spaces Some work done – All aboard prpject, JISC digital literacies Need for more embedded apporaches within formal professional development programmes, also as informal development
Twitter: An open opportunity or a perilous public?
Twitter: an open
opportunity or a
Dr Muireann O’Keeffe
Thesis: Exploring Twitter for professional learning
Rhetoric V Research
1. I advocated Twitter as a
learning tool with HE staff
2. I have responsibility to lead by
example, demonstrate critical
awareness of technology I
engage with (Selwyn & Facer,
3. Exploration of Twitter for
informal professional learning
(Gerstein, 2011; Holmes et al.,
2013; Lupton, 2014)
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Designed by Freepik. Free license with attribution
▪Real experiences/holistic view
▪Veletsianos (2010) “not yet fully understood”
▪Lupton (2013) qualitative research necessary
▪Authentic narratives and voices
▪Conclusions can be questions for further research
(Buchanan, 2012; Denscombe, 2010; Yin, 2014)
▪Participants: 7 HE professionals
▪Lecturers, learning technologists, academic developers
Image from https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-coffee-meeting-team-7096/ CC0
(White & Le Cornu, 2011)
Absence of social presence
Some social presence
Connecting and interacting w/ other professionals
I would agonise
over tweets for too
Because people I
subscribe to are
kind of fairly high
know a lot more….
I don’t have the
I’m not confident
about it being
people judging my
There is a
It’s all about
having the correct
etiquette and just
being a nice
I suppose people
would be perhaps
cautious that they
may say something
You have the freedom
to say ‘actually this is
what I believe’ and
maybe I don’t know
‘I’m happy to be
I think confidence
is a huge issue
It’s a subject I feel
very confident in
Wenger (1998): Learning
occurs in relationships
between people and that
activities contribute to
“the purpose is not to learn from talk as a
substitute for legitimate peripheral
participation; it is to learn to talk as a key to
legitimate peripheral participation”
(Lave & Wenger, 1991, pp. 108-9).
1.Political: what power issues
exist for professionals when
trying participate in open online
2.Affective – what does it feel
like to navigate and participate
in the online open space of
3. Social: how can professionals
broker connections, develop
professional relationships in
online open spaces?
Is Twitter an open
inclusive learning space
Twitter communities: a sense of belonging?
▪Online spaces for learners endorsed as affinity spaces (boyd, 2011;
Hayes & Gee, 2010; Ito, et al., 2013; Stewart, 2014)
▪But others warn against simplified and unchallenged findings that
extol the virtues of learning in online spaces (Selwyn & Facer, 2013)
▪Visitors: lack of sense of belonging
▪Paul, Denise: others more knowledgeable
▪Knowledge and status hierarchy
▪Hughes (2010): affinity through knowledge-related identity was
fundamental to learning
Twitter communities: a sense of belonging?
▪Paul: felt equal to other educators in formal face-to-face contexts
▪Denise: comfortable in engaging in face-to-face discussion
▪Paul on Twitter: others were more knowledgeable, higher status
▪Denise: other know more
▪Did other factors marginalise their participation and belonging online
and prevent finding affinity with others?
▪Resident participants, Maurice and Ben, both male and had secured
▪“participating online feels different if you are
▪(Neary & Beetham, 2015, p. 98)
▪“these platforms were designed with specific
people in mind, and those people were rarely
people of color, minorities, women, or
feel in online
▪ Participants had an emotional response to participation on
“Much learning at work occurs through doing things and being
proactive in seeking learning opportunities, and this requires
confidence” (Eraut 2004)
feel in online
Exposure & vulnerability
▪ Denise: decision not to put herself at risk
- Critical incident in practice
▪ Carol: “I would agonise over tweets”
Vulnerability in online spaces, unknown audiences (boyd, 2014)
Trust: important in CoP’s – Wenger (1998)
▪ Singh (2015) urges educators be sensitive about openness as for
some it can signify harm
▪ “These do not feel like safe spaces when you are developing
your identity, your subject specialism, and your voice….”
(Beetham, 2016, blog post)
Care? Vulnerability of participation in open online space.
As educators how are we protecting those we educate in online
spaces? Are we helping them bridge that gap? (Stewart, 2016)
But…. those who engage peripherally on Twitter, without
participation in networks, might not benefit from networks of care
Image from https://pixabay.com/en/railway-platform-mind-gap-1758208/ CC0
Visitors (Denise, Paul, Carol): strong reluctance to
Learning to participate in communities is perceived to be important in
establishing voice (Wenger, 1998)
Louise: peripheral participation helped establish voice on Twitter,
showing changing modes of participation paralleled with an identity
Shortcomings of peripheral participation:
▪ Lack of opportunity to integrate
▪ Lack of risk taking
▪ Lack of online cultural competence, digital skills/literacies
“inevitable stumblings and violations
become opportunities for learning rather
than cause dismissal, neglect or exclusion”
▪Understanding and benefiting from Twitter:
experiment and use Twitter
▪(McPherson, Budge, & Lemon, 2015;
McCluskey & Readman, 2014).
“Increasingly, the web is a space of politics, a social
space, a professional space, a space of community.
And, for better or worse, more and more of our
learning is happening there. For many of us, it is
becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish
between our real selves and our virtual selves, and
in fact, these distinctions are being altogether
(Stommel, cited by Alexander, 3rd April, 2017)
Finally…… ▪ Professionals use Twitter in varied ways, not all positively
disposed to participation
▪ Twitter provides opportunities but contribute to complex
▪ The open online world presents particular emotional challenges
(Neary & Beetham, 2015) and is a messy experience (Budge,
Lemon, & McPherson, 2016).
▪ Selwyn (2011): those in advantageous positions tend to take-up
and take advantage of the new technologies
▪ Support needed: more than technical, digital identity
development (confidence & identity), cultural competences
▪ Multiple issues identified need critical thought and further
discussion among academic developers and those supporting
education in digital era
▪ Critical discussion is required to discover what it means to work
in the digital age of education (Beetham, 2015)
▪ How can academic developers model online social networking
practices and behaviours? If so, what do these practices and
behaviours look like?
▪ More broadly, how do we create safe places for networked forms
of learning and how can we best support this?
▪ Should support be framed by policies, by guidelines, by
procedures, or by developing critical thinking regarding SNS and
▪ Digital identity is important, but it is formed in conjunction with the
practices and responsibilities of HE professionals. How can
academic developers help support professional identity and thus
support digital identity?
An open opportunity or a
Complete the poll
References ▪Beetham, H. (2015). Revisiting digital capability for 2015. Retrieved March 2016, from Jisc
digital capability codesign challenge blog:
▪boyd, d. (2011). Social network sites as networked publics: Affordances, dynamics, and
implications. In Z. Papcharissi, A networked self (pp. 39-58). New York: Routledge.
▪Buchanan, D. (2012). Case studies in organisational research. In G. Symon, & C.Cassell, The
Practice of Qualitative Organizational Research: Core Methods and Current Challenges (pp.
351-370). London: Sage.
▪Denscombe, M. (2010). The good research guide: for small-scale research projects (4th ed.).
Berkshire: Open University Press.
▪Eraut, M. (2004). Informal learning in the workplace. Studies in Continuing Education, 26(2),
▪Gerstein, J. (2011). The Use of Twitter for Professional Growth and Development. International
Journal on E-Learning, 10(3), 273-276.
▪Hayes, E., & Gee, J. (2010). Popular culture as a public pedagogy. Retrieved Sept 29, 2015,
▪Holmes, K., Preston, G., Shaw, K., & Buchanan, R. (2013, August). ‘Follow’ Me: Networked
Professional Learning for Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(12). Retrieved
April 20, 2015, from EduResearch Matters: http://www.aare.edu.au/blog/?p=564
▪Hughes, G. (2010). Identity and belonging in social learning groups: the importance of
distinguishing social, operational and knowledge‐related identity congruence. British Educational
Research Journal, 36(1), 47-63.
▪Ito, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K.,Watkins, C. (2013).
Connected learning: an agenda for research and design. Irvine, CA, USA: Digital Media and
Learning Research Hub.
▪Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
▪Lupton, D. (2014). ‘Feeling Better Connected’: Academics’ Use of Social Media. News & Media
Research Centre, University of Canberra. Canberra: University of Canberra.
▪McPherson, M., Budge, K., & Lemon, N. (2015). New practices in doing academic development:
Twitter as an informal learning space. International Journal for Academic Development, 20(2),
▪Neary, M., & Beetham, H. (2015). The Nature of Academic Space. In J. Lea, Enhancing learning
and teaching in higher education: engaging with the dimensions of practice (pp. 83-102).
Maidenhead: Open University Press.
▪Selwyn, N, N., & Facer, K. (2013). Introduction the need for a politics of education and
technology. In N. N. Selwyn, & K. Facer, The Politics of Education and Technology Conflicts,
Controversies, and Connections (pp. 1-17). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
▪Selwyn, N. (2012). Education in a Digital World: Global Perspectives on Technology and
Education. New York: Routledge.
▪Singh, S. (2015). The Fallacy of “Open”. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from savasavasava:
▪Stewart, B. (2014). Networks of Care and Vulnerability. Retrieved May 10, 2015, from the
theoryblog: http://theory.cribchronicles.com/2014/11/04/networks-of- care-and-vulnerability/
▪Stewart, B. (2016). Academic Twitter: The intersection of orality & literacy in scholarship.
Retrieved from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE):
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