Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology & Associate Professor at Royal Roads University

The Fragmented Educator

Posted on January 13th, by George Veletsianos in my research, NPS, open, papers, scholarship, sharing, work. 2 comments

We have a new paper available that continues our research on networked participation/learning and networked participatory scholarship. This one arises out of Royce Kimmons’  dissertation, which I had the joy, honor, and good fortune of chairing.

The media is filled with stories pertaining to educators’ and researchers’ participation in online social networks. For example, a debate erupted in Kansas in December 2013 regarding faculty members’ use of social media and teachers have found themselves in trouble for their social media updates. Yet, little research has been done to understand the relationship between educator identity and participation in Social Networking Sites (SNS) or to examine the implications that institutional regulation of such media may have upon educator identity.

In our latest research study, we developed a framework to understand how a group of teacher education students viewed their developing identities within social networking sites as they began the life transition to becoming educators. We found that educator identity consists of a constellation of interconnected acceptable identity fragments (AIF)*. These acceptable identity fragments are  intentional, authentic, transitional, necessarily incomplete, and socially-constructed and socially-responsive.

fragments

Fragments by Maria McMahon. Unchanged. CC -BY 2.0 license.

We arrived at the term “acceptable identity fragment,” because study participants:

  • shaped their participation in social networking sites in a manner that they believed to be “acceptable” to their audiences,
  • viewed this participation to be a direct expression of “identity” or their sense of self, and
  • felt this expression to only represent a small “fragment” of their complete identities.

The AIF suggests that participants in a given social context may limit their participation or expression of identity in a way that is appropriate to that specific context or is acceptable to the specific relationships they have with others in that context. The existence of the AIF means that educator identities within SNS are contextual and intentionally limited and structured. Participants believe that, when participating in SNS, they are expressing their identities in a limited, though authentic, manner. In their view, such expression represents a genuine fragment of their identities.

This view of educator identity contrasts sharply with previous views of identity by highlighting the complicated, negotiated, and recursive relationship that exists between educator participation in SNS and educator identity.

First, existing literature assumes that individuals have an authentic identity and suggests that they attempt to express these identities in varying degrees via social media. Our research finds that human beings may not ever find themselves in social contexts wherein they will choose to (or are even able to) express their full authentic identities and, instead, express a different AIF depending upon the situation.

Second, in Goffman’s view (1959), identity is adaptable and constantly emergent as we “act” in contexts. In the AIF view, there is no “acting” occurring, but rather we see a guarded revelation of fragments of the self. Thus, identity was not an emergent phenomenon of the scene; it was controlled and revealed partially.

Finally, Turkle (1995) suggests that the online self lacks coherence and is fluid. However, participants in our study were operating from what they believed to be a coherent sense of self and judged their SNS participation based upon alignment with that sense. Participation did not lack coherence  – it was merely a partial manifestation.

What does this mean for educators, educational administrators, and educational researchers?

First, if the AIF is intentional and authentic, then it seems important for educators to retain control of their SNS participation. If institutions seek to prescribe appropriate and inappropriate uses of the medium, then it seems that this will prevent educators from being able to make meaningful choices regarding authentic self-expression and self-representation

Second, if the AIF is transitional, social media technologies must accommodate individuals’ transition into new life phases. At present, social media spaces do not support this (e.g., Facebook’s Timeline and the difficulty of deleting participation history en masse). If technologies doe not support the transition into new life phases, they risk being abandoned.

Third, educators should seek to recognize the assumptions that SNS platform developers are making about human nature, meaningful social participation, relationships, and so forth and consider the impact that such assumptions may have on their participation and identity.

Fourth, judgments made about educators based upon their participation in SNS should consider life transitions, time-based contexts (e.g., behavior as a college freshman vs. behavior as a student teacher), and the embedded values of the media.

Finally, if the AIF is a necessarily incomplete component of a larger identity constellation, any judgments of educators based on SNS participation must recognize that the relationship of the AIF to overall identity is subject to interpretation and may not reflect an individual’s perception of how the AIF represents authentic identity. Fragmentation of identity, then, should be seen as a valuable response to complex social situations. SNS platforms should account for this, and as we make judgments about others based upon their fragmented identities, we should be cognizant of the complex relationship existing between the AIF and one’s larger identity and dispel the myth of a simple authentic vs. inauthentic binary.

You can download a pre-print copy of the study from the link below:

Kimmons, R., & Veletsianos, G. (2014). The Fragmented Educator 2.0: Social Networking Sites. Acceptable Identity Fragments, and the Identity Constellation. Computers & Education, 72, 292-301. Journal link.

* The usual grounded theory and interpretive research caveats apply.

MA and Graduate Diploma in Learning and Technology Webinar

Posted on January 11th, by George Veletsianos in Royal Roads University, sharing. 1 Comment

The School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads is offering a free webinar on January 15 [12-1pm Pacific (2pm CST)] describing the MA degree and graduate diploma we are offering in Learning and Technology.  RSVP and receive more details here.

During this session, my colleagues will discuss the nature and different options for our programs (online only or online + residential), the practices that we infuse in programs (experiential, applied, authentic, collaborative, and research-driven), and the courses that make up the Learning and Technology degrees (including learning technologies, online learning, instructional design, educational technology, and foundations of learning). They will also answer questions regarding the courses and degree. For example, one of the questions that we hear often is: Can I enroll in the MA in Learning & Technology, even though I’m not a BC resident? The answer is yes – our students come from all over Canada, and the rest of the world!

 

 

 

AECT RTD Professional Development Webinar on Learning Analytics

Posted on January 7th, by George Veletsianos in work. 7 comments

Enilda Romero-Hall and Min Kyu Kim have organized the second AECT Research and Theory division Professional Development Webinar session.  Join us!

Presenter:
Dr. Ryan Baker (http://www.columbia.edu/~rsb2162/)

Topic:
Learning Analytics – Potential and Principles
Date/Time:
February 6, 2014 at 1:30 P.M. (EDT)

Registration Link:
https://cc.readytalk.com/r/etkw2e7nu48y&eom

Abstract:
Increasingly,  students’  educational  experiences  occur  in  the  context  of educational technology, creating opportunities to log student behavior in a fashion that is both longitudinal and very fine-grained. These data are now available to the broad education research community through large public data repositories such as the Pittsburgh  Science of Learning Center (cf. Koedinger  et  al,  2008).

In this talk, I will discuss how the emerging Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining communities are combining these data sources with data mining methods in order to scalably use this data to make basic discoveries about learners and learning. In this talk, I will both discuss learning analytics methods in general, and some of their key applications in studying and supporting learners.

2013 posts

Posted on December 30th, by George Veletsianos in sharing, work. 4 comments

42 blog posts later, and the lights on 2013 are about to go out. Collecting my 2013 posts in one location was a good way to think back to this year and reflect on it Because, these are days for reflecting, pausing, sharing, embracing, and remembering. Because these are days for doing what we should be doing more often.

2013_sparklers

Image by christmasstockimage licensed under a Creative Commons BY.

2013 Posts

What aspects of a MOOC changed each time it was taught?

Journal of academic freedom CFP

Emerging Technologies in Distance Education book downloads: Three years later

Udacity, MOOCs, hammers, and the problems of education

Archived talk: Academics’ and Educators’ practices and experiences with social media/networks

November 13 CIDER Presentation: What Do Academics and Educators Do on Social Media and Networks?

My visit to the Open University of Catalonia and the eLearn Center

COHERE 2013. Small is beautiful and MOOCs as symptoms

Visiting Educause 2013. And encountering two innovations

The road to SXSWedu 2014

Invitation to the first AECT RTD Professional Development Webinar

Learner experiences with open online learning and MOOCs e-book

Interested in a post-doc studying emerging forms of online participation?

Forthcoming ebook and twitter chat on MOOC and open learning experiences

A synthesis of the pedagogical agent literature

Startups should talk with researchers & educators

Talking to machines: What do learners and robots talk about? 

Sample Preliminary Written Exam Questions 

The MOOC stories we are told, and the ones that remain untold 

University of New Hampshire keynote talk 

The research that MOOCs need 

Binaries 

Dim sum Courses – aka MOOCs 

Thank you for supporting our work! 

Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning journal 

Social Media in Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship: 6 Tales of Practice 

Vote for our #MOOC production fellowship application? 

I have some news to share 

AERA 2013 reflections 

Course Trailer for our dual credit CS course 

#et4online notes, thoughts, reflections 

Keynote at the University of New Hampshire (Faculty Instructional Technology Summer Institute) 

Critical perspectives on educational technology literature 

Upcoming research. In search of collaborators 

SXSWedu day 2 

SXSWedu day 1 

Emerging Technologies and Transformative Learning Special Issue 

What is the experience of instructors who use a social networking site in their teaching? 

AECT 2013: Research & Theory Division Call for Proposals 

Plenary talk at Emerging Technologies for Online Learning conference 

“Sharing” as a valued and desirable educational practice