Can you summarise your ‘findings’ in *three* sentences?

In a comment on earlier post in this series discussing potential viva questions, Martina asked me the above question, prompting to me to go a step further than the original post. As you can see in my response and in that post, should the examiners ask me some variant of this, I’ll be as uncomfortable as I was when writing summary sections in my thesis. I can see why it’s necessary; there are a variety of audiences that need to be satisfied and it’s unlikely the space afforded by a thesis will always be available. Other than in a monograph, it’s inevitable that I’ll need to be more economical , whether for a journal article, conference presentation or poster session. So despite my reservations about reducing my findings to mere soundbites, I do need to take a stab at this.Read More »

Chapter 7: Gathering: It’s personal…

Chapter 7 introductory graphic

One of the factors prompting this study was the number of people who tweeted how important Twitter was in supporting their professional learning. The following tweet provides a reminder of the kind of sentiment expressed:

During participant observation I curated a corpus of educators’ tweets which referred in some way to both professional learning and Twitter. Analysing this corpus revealed that educators frame Twitter PD in different ways. The capacity to be able to choose the routes you take, the content you see, the time and duration of your involvement and the location from which you participate are important to many. However Twitter is perceived, one can find or be exposed to a wide range of resources, ideas, advice, research, inspiration, support, and answers to questions.Read More »

Chapter 6: Gathering: Assembling actors, maintaining relationships


Chapter 6 introductory graphicA single tweet and the hashtag with which it participates provide a point of departure in this Gathering. I first explored the exchange which unfolded from the tweet below and the interrelations between the human participants. This exchange and the #teamenglish hashtag which helped to bring it together, brought me to a second, longer series of interactions assembled by and around a nonhuman actor, the ‘crib sheet.’ Finally I followed the hashtag to the #teamenglish ‘community’ it assembles, then compared and contrasted that with a similarly enacted sister community, #mfltwitterati.

Making a request by way of a tweet is a common practice amongst educators on Twitter. Levels of response vary, but can be assisted by Twitter. Where a hashtag or a mention is included, reach and therefore the likelihood of response are increased. What unfolds subsequently is much harder to predict.Read More »

Chapter 5: Gathering: Meeting the locals

Chapter 5 introductory graphic

The above tweet marked the point of departure for this Gathering, but what I now present is a summary of what that traversal through the data revealed.

Whilst it is possible for anyone to find information on Twitter, even without an account, that would render it no more a means of undertaking professional learning practice than say, using Wikipedia. With an account however, connections become possible and connecting is facilitated and encouraged through profiles and tweets. The bio and follow button help to begin the process, whilst retweets and likes help to sustain the relationships which form. Connecting is more than merely a one-time click when viewed as assemblage. Every tweet sent, retweeted or liked; every hashtag, mention or emoticon included; every link to a site, post or image, offers potential. It might be an act of renewal – touching base with those with whom you’re already connected – or growth, and be perceived as an invitation to make a connection.  A broad palette of possibilities is available ranging from a tight focus on those with similar experience, from similar educational contexts and with similar interests, to those from different educational phases, in different countries, who might espouse different pedagogical views. Each mix assembled by each individual will do different things.Read More »

Introducing the Gatherings

“gathering” flickr photo by mRio shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

A common way to present analysis of data in a thesis or other report is by allocating chapters to emerging themes. In the last post I explained why I declined to undertake a thematic analysis leading to generalisable conclusions, so in the chapters which follow, I present an account of my analysis of the data. I call these chapters ‘Gatherings,’ drawing on the work of a number of authors, but predominantly Law (2004a: 160), for whom Gathering is:

[…] a metaphor like that of bundling in the broader definition of method assemblage. It connotes the process of bringing together, relating, picking, meeting, building up, or flowing together. It is used to find a way of talking about relations without locating these with respect to the normative logics implied in (in)coherence or (in)consistency.

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