The purpose of this
study is to investigate how teachers can benefit from Twitter in their
professional practice. This chapter will outline my findings during the stages
of data gathering and categories emerging, and how they relate to one another.
As mentioned in the methodology section, the participants received a pre-interview assignment. The entries of the wordcloud were created by themselves arbitrarily, they were not generated from their Twitter feeds - which could have been an interesting exercise but I wanted to gauge their perceived values. So they selected the words for the wordclouds themselves. Although I realise that this can lead to misinterpretations of concepts such as inspiration, I have reasonable confidence in the analysis of the word clouds that ‘inspiration’ was emerging as an important category.
Six from twelve wordclouds explicitly mentioned inspiration as a keyword. All other six wordclouds made reference to inspiration in some kind of concretized or indirect way. A little caution has to be expressed here. A misinterpretation of the concept inspiration is possible. Not every teacher involved might interpret the notion of inspiration in the same way. What is inspiring to X might differ from Y. Yet, analysis of the nature of inspiration points into the direction of a shared meaning of this notion in the wordclouds.
- Wordcloud 1: source of information, news;
- wordcloud 2: new learning materials, lesson ideas, educational news;
- wordcloud 5: quickly informed;
- wordcloud 8: the world nearby;
- wordcloud 11: educational news;
- wordcloud 12: cross-fertilization.
So, all of the
Wordcloud data mentioned the experience of ‘inspiration’ in one way or another.
Secondly, since every individual interview also made reference of ‘inspiration’
- see Nvivo screenshot below - my main category was found: inspiration.
“I’ve learnt more from Twitter than all of my professional development sessions together”“Twitter is an extension of my mind”“Twitter is a virtual teacher staff room of the “likeminded”, and I love it.”“Twitter is one big training session.”“It is a platform for launching professional bubbles.”“Twitter makes me feel comfortingly calm, I feel at ease.”“I get feelings of satisfaction and appreciation by being on Twitter.”“Twitter feeds my broader view on education; I love those broader perspectives.”
- peripheral knowledge - a container notion for the types of information teachers are picking up on twitter. Knowledge that goes beyond the more traditional types of knowledge (knowledge for practic, knowledge in practice, knowledge of practice. Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999.);
- Twitter = non-linear: it is a medium that enriches the professional identity of the teacher but most often does not provide immediate solutions to practice related problems;
- growth mindset: Twitter feeds the curiosity of teachers and leads to professional growth;
- Twitter allows cross-fertilising between different contexts, educational and non-educational;
- blurred boundaries: it is not clear where the professional growth starts and where it ends, it is a “blurry” medium;
- CPD = emotional: Twitter evokes feelings of joy, fun, satisfaction and appreciation.
‘grappling with analytic problems is part of the research process. Feeling confused and uncertain – but learning to tolerate the ambiguity – shows your growth as a researcher. Researchers who treat the analytic process as transparent often have superficial analyses.’ (See videolog 20th Nov. '15)