Time to drop Anchor already?!

“Dropped Anchor” by j.casey.oneill https://flickr.com/photos/dirkoneill/7333619288 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Oh dear! It looks like I got burned on Anchor, shortly after getting things under way. It’s only a few days since one of my interviewees remarked that those who take up new technologies are often marked by being able to take the hits when things go awry. Resilience I guess. So in the spirit of sucking it up …

[Jump to the questions]

Summary

It seemed that Anchor would be a good way to enable participants to join in a conversation, at times convenient for them, and without having to commit more than a minute or so at once. So I got things started … and then v2 of Anchor was released (without a warning that I noticed) and everything went pear-shaped when in the new release, the architecture and workflow changed completely. Instead of one in which contributions were threaded together, could be published through a web browser and subsequently downloaded, the new workflow seems to be more about transience. Each contribution you make to your ‘station’ and any responses it attracts are only broadcast for 24 hours, during which you can archive them so they don’t disappear for ever. Unfortunately that’s not very helpful when, like me, you want to post a question which people can discuss over a period of months.Read More »

Anchor’s Aweigh!

anchor

Hang on! The app update seems to have created a few problems. You might not be able to find the waves from within the app. Apologies for the interruption to service, but am looking into it…

When Joe Dale mentioned Anchor to me during an interview, I knew that it might offer some potential. Having thought about it some more and done a little preliminary testing, this is where I now find myself.

It’s almost a truism that the more you find out, the more questions you raise. As I’ve been interviewing folks, reading blog posts and reviewing the literature, there are themes beginning to emerge that warrant further exploration. But how to cover a range of topics in the diminishing time available? Here’s where Anchor might help, with it’s short, audio message format channeling the spirit of Twitter.

Each week over the next couple of months, I intend posting a single question asking about teachers’ use of Twitter and I’d love it if you could find the minute needed to respond. It will probably take no longer than writing a tweet (once you have the app), but in one minute’s audio, you can shoehorn in far more information. If you’re up for the challenge, the questions will accumulate below; have a listen, then dip into the app if you feel in a position to contribute, either to the prompt question, or to someone else’s wave.Read More »

Weighing Anchor

“Anchor” flickr photo by MarcieLew https://flickr.com/photos/91724286@N04/15909947948 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

During a recent interview, Joe Dale mentioned a useful new app he’d found which offered some potential in the context of professional sharing – Anchor. It’s a free (as of Jan 2017) smartphone app (Android & Apple) through which you can create a two-minute audio posting (a ‘Wave’) which others can listen to, then respond, again in audio. Joe (with Rachel Smith) had experimented with it by posting a question posed by one of the #mfltwitterati, then crowdsourcing responses from Anchor users. The final combined thread is then presented as a single, stitched audio stream, where the question and responses form a coherent whole.Read More »

Participant Information – Anchor/Voxer

If you might be interested in participating in an Anchor or Voxer chat, the sheet below provides more detailed information.

Each week over the next couple of months, I intend posting a single question asking about teachers’ use of Twitter and I’d love it if you could find a minute to respond. It will probably take no longer than writing a tweet (once you have the app), but in a minute’s audio, you can shoehorn in far more information. If you’re up for the challenge, the questions will accumulate below; have a listen, then dip into the app if you feel in a position to contribute, either to the prompt question, or to someone else’s response. Many thanks.

(On Voxer I’m ianinsheffield)

Date Prompt question
11th March 2017, Week 1 How did you get started with Twitter?
11th March 2017, Week 2 How do you use Twitter?
18th March 2017, Week 3 Where is the learning?
27th March 2017, Week 4 What do you think about ‘lurking?’
 9th April 2017, Week 5 Is there an exodus from Twitter?
 3rd May 2017, Week 6 #Chats – swimming in the shallows?

Chapter 4: Assembling methods #1

Chapter 4 introductory graphic

Pilot study

Early on in the research I conducted a pilot study to to reveal issues and barriers related to recruiting potential participants, to explore the use of oneself as a researcher in a culturally appropriate way and to test and modify interview questions. Although familiar with Twitter as a participant, conducting a pilot study also allowed me to gain familiarisation as a researcher. I tested six different methods which I describe in more detail here. The table below reflects on the outcomes of the pilot methods.Read More »

Interviewing the nonhumans

“Researching a Posthuman World” flickr photo by IaninSheffield https://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/39930805522 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Choosing to approach my research with a sociomaterial sensibility requires me to challenge the division between the human and material elements I encounter and with which I work. Since Twitter and the online world is highly mediated, it would be remiss, I’d argue, to fail to adequately account for the material actors. Bringing actor-network theory (ANT) to bear does not, however, mean that I should consider the social and then the material. Instead they are completely entangled and mutually constitutive (Fenwick, 2014), so what they are and what they do is not in isolation, but co-constituted. Herein lies somewhat of a dilemma, since at some points it might be necessary to talk about the effect of particular practice on a teacher or what a specific aspect of materiality (like a hashtag) achieves. What’s important though is not to forget that both of these are themselves actor-networks, or assemblages, and are also part of other actor-networks. For the purposes of analysis, it is sometimes necessary to narrow the focus to a single entity, provided we don’t forget the assemblage that is also being performed.

In the methods section of my thesis I’ve discussed the semi-structured in depth interviews, participant observation (as it is manifest in this context), the blog posts I read and the exchanges with their authors. In reviewing this section and how it fits into the thesis as a whole, it’s clear how anthropocentric my writing was. The transcripts, blogs and even tweets were the words of the human participants … but where was the materiality? To be fair, I hope I’ve managed to surface some of that as a result of my observations and ‘following the actors,’ but once more it’s the (my) human voice that is privileged. How then to do justice to the nonhumans? How to give them a voice?Read More »

There’s a *new* materialism?

“Sociology and New Materialism” flickr photo by IaninSheffield https://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/35948554891 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

At my last meeting, one of my supervisors suggested a book that he thought might inform my methodological chapter (whatever it ultimately gets called!): “Sociology and the New Materialism: Theory, Research, Action” by Fox and Alldred (2016). At the heart of the book is the notion that we might problematise the human as being central to the research endeavour. Someone must conduct the research, right? What Fox and Alldred offer however is a less anthropocentric view, where knowledge, rather than being revealed or constructed by a researcher, is produced by an “assemblage of things, people, ideas, social collectivities and institutions.” Here then I’ll try to summarise what I’ve learned from the book and what implications it might have for my research musings.Read More »