06 SES 01 A, Choosing, Producing & Teaching
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered unprecedented need for technology facilitated, online learning right across the education spectrum. Like many others in education, school teachers found themselves in a situation where they needed to become digitally capable almost overnight. The results of these efforts have ranged from the modest to the extraordinary. Recent Canadian research, for instance, has shown that teachers are deeply concerned about finding ways to engage students meaningfully through remote learning during the current pandemic (Sokal, Trudel & Babb, 2020). Similarly in Ireland, Devitt et al. (2020) note that teachers found social media useful sources of information for continuing their teaching online. This concern has, we suggest, turned teachers to content production in previously unseen levels – including the use of YouTube.
General and more discipline-specific arguments for the possibilities and value of using YouTube in higher education settings are increasingly common in the literature (cf. Jackman, 2019; Assunção Flores & Gago, 2020). Thoughtful technical discussions about the medium are also increasingly evident (eg. Holmberg, Fransson & Fors, 2018). However, while recent years has seen increasing interest in research on the engagement of teachers with social media as a pedagogical tool and how it can advance their personal and professional capability (Bett & Makewa, 2018; Carpenter et al., 2020; Nochumson, 2019), surprisingly little attention has been paid to why and how school teachers – at primary and secondary levels invest professional time in creating and distributing pedagogical content via the medium of YouTube.
The proposed paper proposes an exploration of this question.
Our consideration is presented in two parts: First, we propose a theoretical framework to allow better understanding of this issue. This involved drawing on several theoretical lines of literature which, together, allowed us to explore and settle on a comprehensive framework to interrogate and contextualize the professional time teachers invest in creating and distributing their pedagogical YouTube content. From the outset, we considered YouTube as both a landscape that can accommodate social practices centred on teachers’ interaction and artefacts, and also an affective space appropriated by its users, following Reckwitz (2012). To this we added the concept of the digital gift (Grădinaru, 2016) as a means of offered a way into understanding what we came to see as the imagined community that sustains teachers as they create digital goods “out of a spirit of building something between them” (Rheingold, 2000, p. 49). Public presentation and performance (Goffman, 1959) in a learning landscape were also seen as defining aspects of belonging in this way to this community. And finally, in order to begin to gauge the value to the teacher of belonging to their community of creators, we utilised the value creation framework of Wenger-Trayner et al (2019), which suggests five dimensions of value for professional development.
The second part of our paper presents the preliminary results of applying our framework analytically to 115 YouTube video channels identified as teacher produced content. Our initial search was identified 105 channels in English (88 in the USA and Canada, 7 in Australia, 4 in the UK, 1 in the United Arab Emirates, 1 in the South Korea and 4 in the Europe) and 10 channels in Russian (3 in Belarus, 7 in Russia). To date, in-depth, purposive, semi-structured interviews have been conducted with 15 participants (7 male and 8 female) through Skype, Zoom and/or Facebook Messenger. Our intention is to reach about 50 over the course of the research.
An initial analysis of the returns to the first round of interviews identified the personal and professional motivations behind the teachers’ online sharing practices and its proactive nature. It also identified content creation as a catalyst of aspiration to better teaching and a generator of altruism. As one participate noted: “If you are doing the same old stuff or just doing really boring and uninteresting things in your classroom, it is really hard to make an interesting video out of that” (Tim, male, High school English teacher, South Korea). Therefore, the process of YouTube video-making involves the constant search for new teaching ideas and the sharing of these. Our initial analysis also foregrounded the supportive social media environment that is emerging. As one participant teacher pointed out “It is really nice to have such a good community of teachers who help each other and support each other. I feel that has really changed my idea of social media just being for people who you know in a real life and that sort of thing, to a network really for work, I guess, for planning next steps and making friendship through that. So that is really nice…” (Lily, female, Primary teacher, UK). The work of closer, more forensic analysis is ongoing. The proposed paper to ECER 2021 will outline and discuss both the theoretical framing of the research and the interim results to date. We will also outline the planned next steps and future direction of our ongoing inquiry into the school teacher as YouTube content creation phenomenon.
Assunção Flores, M., & Gago, M. (2020). Teacher education in times of COVID-19 pandemic in Portugal: national, institutional and pedagogical responses. Journal of Education for Teaching, 46(4), 507-516. Bett, H., & Makewa, L. (2018). Can Facebook groups enhance continuing professional development of teachers? Lessons from Kenya. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 48(2), 132-146. Carpenter, J. P., Morrison, S. A., Craft, M., & Lee, M. (2020). How and why are educators using Instagram? Teaching and Teacher Education, 96, 1-14. Devitt, A., Bray, A., Banks, J., & Ni Chorcora, E. (2020). Teaching and learning during school closures: Lessons Learned. Irish second-level teacher perspective. Trinity, Dublin. Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Anchor. Grădinaru, C. (2016). The technological expansion of sociability: Virtual communities as imagined communities. Academicus International Scientific Journal, 7(14), 181-190. Holmberg, J., Fransson, G., & Fors, U. (2018). Teachers’ pedagogical reasoning and reframing of practice in digital contexts. The international journal of information and learning technology. Jackman, W. M. (2019). YouTube Usage in the University Classroom: An Argument for its Pedagogical Benefits. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), [S.l.], v. 14, n. 09, p. pp. 157-166 https://onlinejour.journals.publicknowledgeproject.org/index.php/i-jet/article/view/10475/5672 Nochumson, T. C. (2019). Elementary schoolteachers’ use of Twitter: exploring the implications of learning through online social media. Professional Development in Education, 46(2), 306-323. Reckwitz, A. (2012). Affective spaces: a praxeological outlook. Rethinking History, 16(2), 241-258. Rheingold, H. (2000). The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. The MIT Press. Sokal, L., Trudel, L. E., & Babb, J. (2020). Canadian teachers’ attitudes toward change, efficacy, and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Educational Research Open, 1, 100016. Wenger-Trayner, B., Wenger-Trayner, E., Cameron, J., Eryigit-Madzwamuse, S., & Hart, A. (2019). Boundaries and Boundary Objects: An Evaluation Framework for Mixed Methods Research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 13(3), 321-338.
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