16 SES 03 A, Research on Teachers' Digital Competence and/or Integration of ICT in K-12 Education
In a relatively short time period, Swedish education has undergone extensive IT-implementation reforms primarily in the form of so-called 1:1-investments providing each student with a computer or tablet. This shift implies that the need for teacher professional development (PD) and the forms through which it is delivered have changed considerably. However, the massive investment in technology has not been accompanied by PD initiatives for teachers (European Commission, 2012; SOU, 2014). Against this background, Swedish teachers have turned to support and collaboration opportunities in online communities. On social media (Facebook,Twitter, etc.) a grassroots movement is taking place, characterised by user-generated public content and new types of dynamic collegial discussions that, while rich, could be characterised as unpredictable when compared to more traditional PD initiatives (Macia & Garcia, 2016). The aim of this study is to explore how teacher PD is established in one Swedish thematic Facebook-group where the majority of the members are teachers. The theme of the group concerns a specific instructional approach. Theoretically, the study draws on a sociomaterial approach where technologies and social interaction are seen as central and mutually constituted in pedagogical processes (Fenwick, Edwards & Sawchuck, 2011). In terms of a research ethics approach, we adopt a situated ethics approach where ethical considerations are seen as dependent on the contingent powers of the analytical focus, methodological choices, technologies and participants involved in the activities and contexts under study (Simon & Usher, 2000). Methodologically, we have studied the threaded discussions of this thematic FB-group between April 2012 and May 2015 through programatic processes to collect and organise a corpus of data (Marres & Weltevrede, 2013) in combination with interaction analysis on selected threads in order to explore how sociomateriality forms the norms, knowledge processes and stability in the group. For this study, we chose to examine the corpus with a focus on the intensity of discussions and decided to select the relatively unusual occurrence of threads consisting of a low ratio of likes to comments; a pattern that deviates from the general norm of liking posts and indicates a deliberate statement being made by participants. Through a process of exploratory data analysis, the specific selection criteria we arrived at was threads with a minimum ratio of three comments to every like and at least 20 comments overall resulting in 79 threads. The Facebook group in focus in this study was founded in April 2012 and by the time data was collected in 2015; the group had nearly 13,000 members. Our metadata analysis of the corpus of activity we collected showed that only 675 members had started a discussion thread through a post, 1,435 had commented, and 6,526 had liked at least one post. This implies that all the nearly 20,000 posts and comments were contributed by one fourth of the group’s total membership and nearly one third of group members have taken on a passive, observer role as authorised visitors who have never actively contributed. Our preliminary findings suggest that the majority of the posts that occasioned a low likes to comments ratio concerned participants seeking advice and information by means of explicitly formulated questions that, not surprisingly, generated many comments and few likes. However, in this selected set of discussion threads other examples with similar like to comment ratios had no direct requests in the initial posts but rather initiated issues at stake for the participating teachers that occasioned many comments. In these threads, the participants are engaged in identity work (Goffman, 1959, 1974) with regard to being a legitimate member of the FB-group and a professional teacher, thus requiring commenting rather than just liking.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77-101. Davies, J., & Merchant, G. (2007). Looking from the inside out: Academic blogging as new literacy. A new literacies sampler, 167-197. European Commission. (2012). Survey of Schools: ICT in Education. Country profile Sweden. Brussels: European Schoolnet and Univeristy of Liège. Fenwick, T., Edwards, R., & Sawchuk, P. (2015). Emerging approaches to educational research: Tracing the socio-material. London: Routledge. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York, NY: Anchor Books. Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press. Marres, N. and Weltevrede, E. (2013). Scraping the Social? Issues in live social research. Journal of Cultural Economy, 6(3), 313-335. Selwyn, N. (2000). Creating a “Connected” Community? Teachers’ Use of an Electronic Discussion Group. Teachers College Record, 12(4), 750-778. Selwyn, N. (2009). Faceworking: exploring students' education‐related use of Facebook. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2), 157-174. Simon, H. & Usher, R. (2000). Situated Ethics in Educational Research. London: Routledge. SOU 2014: 13. En digital agenda i människans tjänst: en ljusnande framtid kan bli vår. Stockholm: Fritzesoffentliga publikationer. From: https://digitaliseringskommissionen.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/SOU-2014_13_total.pdf
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