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‘Reassembled resemblings’ of teachers’ learning practices with Twitter

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Some teachers claim Twitter has become a useful source for their professional development and learning. As a social media platform, Twitter constitutes a heterogeneous ensemble of humans and things. However, research has yet to allow the nonhuman participants in Twitter to speak for themselves, reveal what they do and present the webs of relations that they enact. I offer here an approach to address that issue by drawing upon actor-network theory and interviewing objects, whilst evoking the spirit of the Parisian flâneur. I begin by untangling a tweet to identify each of the human and nonhuman actors, what they do and how they assist in performing teachers’ learning activities. I then ‘Gather Anecdotes’ describing how two other heuristics – ‘Following the Actors’ and ‘Studying Breakdowns’ – were appropriate for this study, how they were deployed, what fresh knowledge they produced and how a new research avenue was opened. I conclude by reflecting on some of the tensions which emerged when bringing a sociomaterial analysis to teachers’ practices.
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Keywords: actor-network theory; anecdoting; interviewing objects; posthuman; professional learning; sociomaterial

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sheffield Hallam University

Publication date: September 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • EME explores the relationships between media, technology, symbolic form, communication, consciousness, and culture. Its scope is interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. Media ecology provides a rich philosophical, historical and practical context for studying our increasingly technological and mediated society and culture with an emphasis on historical context.
    Media ecology scholarship emphasizes a humanistic approach to understanding media, communication, and technology, with special emphasis on the ways in which we have been and continue to be shaped and influenced by our inventions and innovation. The Media ecology approach is predicated on understanding that media, symbols, and technologies play a leading role in human affairs, and function as largely invisible environments affecting the way we think, feel, act, and organize ourselves collectively.
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