Examining the Virtual Diffusion of Educational Resources Across Teachers’ Social Networks Over Time


by Yuqing Liu, Kaitlin T. Torphy, Sihua Hu, Jiliang Tang & Zixi Chen - 2020

Context: Individuals’ curation within social media provides a window into their sensemaking and conceptions of what is worth knowing. Within education, a majority of teachers use social media for professional purposes to access and share instructional resources.

Purpose: This work examines Pinterest.com and the intersection of influence across virtual and physical spheres as teachers choose and curate instructional resources. Setting: The study is conducted on 19 schools over five districts in three Midwestern states.

Participants: The sample consists of 108 elementary teachers in total: 34 early career teachers and 74 colleagues.

Research Design: This is a longitudinal observational study designed to repeatedly measure and track teachers’ online resource-seeking behavior over 52 weeks in the 2015–2016 school year.

Data Collection and Analysis: Resource curation data were collected for each teacher, as well as early career teachers’ egocentric school network and online network data. Using generalized linear growth modeling approach to examine relationships between teachers’ curation of resources, we identify differences in the impacts of teachers’ social networks across physical and virtual space.

Findings: Results indicate that teachers following one another within Pinterest have a higher rate of curating a resource, but Pinterest seems to act as a bridge between those less connected teachers within a school, with an even greater rate of curation for those teachers who do not closely work together. This seems to indicate that within the cloud of social media, Pinterest may be a conduit for information and resource distribution across schools.

Conclusion: As schools continue to seek improvement potential, leveraging social media connections and social capital within and outside the local context may prove useful for the flow of expertise and resources.  



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 6, 2020, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23306, Date Accessed: 9/29/2020 12:13:15 AM

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