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 …
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 »
CPDin140 – Kristian Still Kristian (@KristianStill) provides here a very balanced set of insights and observations of both the bright and darker sides of Twitter. What I do need to add though is that during the brief chat we had after the ‘stop’ button had been pressed, Kristian recalled times past and other activities which…
I have to confess to some frustration with this post; not, I should quickly say, with Kristian’s contribution at all. No it was with my ability to ‘clean up’ the audio in post-production to get it to the point where it was acceptable for podcasting. I tried my best in Audacity, but I wasn’t up to the job. Or perhaps the fact that we conducted our chat over the phone, coupled with the equipment I used, meant that the original audio quality didn’t provide much to work with?
I’ve had a few audio blunders during the course of my interviews, although fortunately, few which rendered the contributions of my kind participants unusable for my research. For the most part, I could hear well enough to transcribe the audio, and being able to capture people’s insights is what really matters. Although one might consider publishing the podcast is a bonus, it was for me a fundamental part of trying to bring something new to the research and problematising the notion that participant anonymity is always the most appropriate route. By not providing a crystal clear rendering of my participants’ contributions, I feel I have let them down somewhat.
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 »
Whilst out for a run this week, I was catching up my podcast listening. On my playlist was Episode 91 of Data Stories in which the creators of RAW were sharing what is, what it does and how it came into being. RAW claims to be ‘The missing link between spreadsheets and data visualization.’ Back when I wrote my research proposal, I thought that social network analysis (SNA) would be one technique I might use to learn more about teacher learning on Twitter. There are a raft of tools that can help with this, which exist on a spectrum from those which rely on having expertise in coding, to those (like TAGS and NodeXL) which are usable by novice like me. In addition to gathering tweets, they often allow you to produce visualisations of the connections between those tweets:
During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been involved in quite a number of exchanges on Twitter, as part of my participant observation. There have been a number of occasions when I was moved to consider the ethics of a particular situation, as indeed a researcher should always do. Developing your ethical sensibility doesn’t end the moment a Research Ethics Committee has signed off your submission. Instead it should be an ongoing critical process of reflection and renegotiation (Fileborn, 2015), a fluid dialogue interwoven with the fabric of your research endeavours (Madge, 2007). Whilst that sounds rather grand, for me it means being continually alert to the ways that you conduct exchanges and being sensitive to situations which unfold which you may have originally never have anticipated. Let’s take a look at some of the issues which arose.Read More »
With a broad range of experiences, educator John Heffernan (@johnmayo on Twitter) currently finds himself transplanted from Ireland, his home, into Virginia, United States. John discusses the part that Twitter played in that, connecting him with ‘interesting, smart people’ and exposing him to people who ‘have different views and different lifestyles.’…
Most researchers who conduct interviews will have a tale or two related to transcription; the process whereby you turn audio recordings into typed text. There’s no doubting how labour intensive it is. Depending on your typing speed, the quality of your audio and the equipment you’re using, it’s often likely to be around a 6 or 7 to 1 ratio – one hour’s interview will take six or more hours to transcribe. For me, that slow processing of the words of my participants is the first opportunity to begin to analyse what they’ve said within the broader context of the whole study. Since your pace is slow, you’re able to begin becoming more intimate with that data. On the other hand however, it can be backbreaking work … quite literally. Hours spent hunched over a keyboard can place demands on your physical well being in so many different ways, even if you do know all the health and safety advice. So any tools which might ease some of that burden (short of farming out the transcription, as some researchers do) are definitely of interest to me.Read More »
The notion of what constitutes my ethnographic ‘field’ continues to reappear in various situations. Sometimes this is from people who know better than me that I need to articulate precisely what I mean by it, and sometimes it’s from people less familiar with ethnography who can’t conceive what an online field might be. Traditionally, ethnographic fieldwork, and more specifically participant observation, is marked by a number of factors. It assumes the ethnographer will be resident in a limited geographical locale in which they experience face-to-face relationships (Wittel, 2000) with an ‘object’ of study – an ‘Other.’ There will be clearly identified boundaries where it is straightforward to establish what is included and also what is excluded. In an online, digital, virtual or cyberethnography, residence and geography have less meaning, interaction is mediated and boundaries blur. The ethnography becomes one of movement and flexibility, responding to the ebb and flow of the people and practice under study. My field then becomes one of the people I follow and those they bring into view; the learning practices (and others?) in which they’re engaged; and the areas into which they take that practice. Twitter usually, though not always, provides the point of entry to that field; there I might remain, or be whisked off elsewhere as I follow the actors.Read More »
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 »
Following the preceding post, I’ve dug a little deeper into sentiment viz to explore more carefully what it might offer in terms of revealing the emotional components within Twitter and tweets. Like before, I used a chat hashtag as the search term and perhaps unsurprisingly got a similar shaped visualisation which expressed sentiment as generally positive and somewhat relaxed. Probing a little further and clicking on a few individual circles provides the data which located the tweet at that point on the chart. Here we see the overall sentiment rating expressed as ‘v’ for valence (how pleasant) and ‘a’ for arousal (how activated). Then there’s a breakdown of those words which contributed to that sentiment rating, with their individual scores. We therefore have multiple ways we can compare the emotional content of one tweet with another, but can make a judgement whether those ratings make sense – more of that later.