Three Cases of Hashtags Used as Learning and Professional Development Environments

Abstract

Hashtags offer exciting opportunities for professional development, teaching, and learning. However, their use reflects users’ needs and desires. To illustrate and problematize the ways hashtags are used in professional development settings, this study reports on users’ participation patterns, users’ roles, and content contributed to three unique hashtags. This mixed methods research employs data mining techniques to retrieve data. Using a collective case study methodology, the study compares and contrasts the use of three hashtags and offers insights into the use of hashtags as emerging learning and professional development environments. Results show that hashtags exhibit similarities, such as unequal user participation. Findings also reveal differences between hashtags. For instance some hashtags are used on an ongoing basis while others have well-defined start and end dates. Ultimately, these results question deterministic thinking with respect to emerging technologies and novel professional development environments.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Carpenter, J. P., & Krutka, D. G. (2015). Engagement through microblogging: educator professional development via Twitter. Professional Development in Education, 41(4), 707–728.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Carpenter, J. P., Tur, G., & Marín, V. I. (2016). What do US and Spanish pre-service teachers think about educational and professional use of Twitter? A comparative study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 60, 131–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Chretien, K. C., Tuck, M. G., Simon, M., Singh, L. O., & Kind, T. (2015). A digital ethnography of medical students who use Twitter for professional development. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 30(11), 1673–1680.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Cooper, T. (2014). Educator learning 2.0: exploring educators’ use of twitter to support professional learning (Doctoral dissertation, University of Calgary).

  5. Couros, A., & Hildebrandt, K. (2016). Designing for open and social learning. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning (pp. 147–165). Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Reforming schools through technology 1980–2000. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Forte, A., Humphreys, M., & Park, T. (2012). Grassroots professional development: How teachers use Twitter. Proceedings of the 6th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (pp. 106–113). Retrieved from http://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM12/paper/download/4585/4973.

  8. Gao, F., & Li, L. (2016). Examining a one-hour synchronous chat in a microblogging-based professional development community. British Journal of Educational Technology.

  9. Gee, J. P. (2004). Situated language and learning: a critique of traditional schooling. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Gleason, B. (2013). #Occupy wall street: exploring informal learning about a social movement on twitter. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(7), 966–982.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. González-Bailón, S., Wang, N., Rivero, A., Borge-Holthoefer, J., & Moreno, Y. (2014). Assessing the bias in samples of large online networks. Social Networks, 38, 16–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Greenhow, C. (2011). Learning and social media: What are the interesting questions for research? International Journal of Cyber Behavior. Psychology and Learning, 1(1), 36–50.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Junco, R. (2014). Engaging students through social media: evidence based practices for use in student affairs. San Francisco: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Kimmons, R. & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education scholars’ evolving uses of twitter as a conference backchannel and social commentary platform. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445–464.

  15. Kukreja, P., Sheehan, A. H., & Riggins, J. (2011). Use of social media by pharmacy preceptors. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 75(9), 176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Liu, M., McKelroy, E., Kang, J., Harron, J., & Liu, S. (2016). Examining the Use of Facebook and Twitter as an Additional Social Space in a MOOC. American Journal of Distance Education, 30(1), 14–26.

  17. Moorley, C., & Chinn, T. (2015). Using social media for continuous professional development. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(4), 713–717.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Nielsen, J. (2006). Participation inequality: Encouraging more users to contribute. Retrieved on Apr 27, 2016 from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/participation-inequality/.

  19. Olmstead, K., Lampe, C. & Ellison, N. B. (2016). Social media and the workplace. Pew Research Center. Retrieved on June 24, 2016 from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/06/22/social-media-and-the-workplace/.

  20. Pinch, T. J., & Bijker, W. E. (1984). The social construction of facts and artefacts: Or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science, 14(3), 399–441.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Ranieri, M., Manca, S., & Fini, A. (2012). Why (and how) do teachers engage in social networks? An exploratory study of professional use of Facebook and its implications for lifelong learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(5), 754–769.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Roberts, M. J., Perera, M., Lawrentschuk, N., Romanic, D., Papa, N., & Bolton, D. (2015). Globalization of continuing professional development by journal clubs via microblogging: a systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(4), e103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Rutherford, C. (2013). Facebook as a source of informal teacher professional development. In Education, 16(1), 60–74.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 65–73.

  25. Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. TAGS (n.d.). Twitter Archiving Google Sheet. Retrieved on May 20, 2016 from https://tags.hawksey.info/

  27. Trinkle, C. (2009). Twitter as a professional learning community. School Library Monthly, 26(4), 22–23.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Trust, T. (2012). Professional learning networks designed for teacher learning. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(4), 133–138.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Twitter API (n.d.). API overview. Twitter Developers. Retrieved from https://dev.twitter.com/overview/api.

  30. Veletsianos, G. (2012). Higher education Scholars’ participation and practices on twitter. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(4), 336–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital Learning Environments, In Rushby, N. & Surry D. (Eds) Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242–260). Wiley.

  32. Veletsianos, G. (in press). Toward a generalizable understanding of twitter and social media use across MOOCs: who participates on MOOC hashtags and in what ways? Journal of Computing in Higher Education.

  33. Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2016). Scholars in an increasingly digital and open world: how do education professors and students use twitter? The Internet and Higher Education, 30, 1–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Visser, R. D., Evering, L. C., & Barrett, D. E. (2014). # TwitterforTeachers: the implications of twitter as a self-directed professional development tool for K–12 teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(4), 396–413.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Whitworth, A., & Benson, A. D. (2010). Learning, design and emergence: Two case studies of Moodle in distance education. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emerging technologies in distance education (pp. 195–213). Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Wilson, S. M. (2013). Professional development for science teachers. Science, 340(6130), 310–313.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: design and methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage publications.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Zheng, S., Han, K., Rosson, M.B., & Carroll, J.M. (2016). The role of social media in MOOCs: How to use social media to enhance student retention. In Proceedings of the Third ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale, 419–428.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to George Veletsianos.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Veletsianos, G. Three Cases of Hashtags Used as Learning and Professional Development Environments. TechTrends 61, 284–292 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0143-3

Download citation

Keywords

  • Social Media
  • Hashtag
  • Professional development
  • Collective case study
  • Social media participation
  • Emerging technologies