Replied to Should I blog about my studies? Some thoughts… (Marginal Notes)

I should also mention that you need to think through potential ethical issues. If any posts you write discuss people, whether authors of texts, fellow students or academics, and especially participants (or the groups to which they belong), it’s crucial to think through potential ramifications and the impact your blogging might have. Then there’s how you refer to organisations such as schools, your own university, professional bodies etc). You will doubtless have been issued your university’s ethical code of conduct and will likely have been (or will be) required to make an ethics submission. Revisit these in the light of your blogging.

Thank you Ian for your elaboration. I am really intrigued by the ethical side of things. I often wonder about this in a general sense in regards to sharing online.
Replied to Movement of Ideas Project: Approach (

The compromise I settled on was to produce a ‘List’ of those accounts which appear to be interested in literacy in primary schools; there is then no potential pressure to follow back. By describing my list as “Teachers and organisations tweeting about literacy (within the (UK) Primary school context)”, when people were notified that someone had added them to a list, they could choose to follow it. As I write, ten people have done so, are hopefully learning something from the List members and as a consequence I feel slightly happier that I’ve made a modest contribution that might help the primary literacy community.

Ian, I like the idea of adding people to lists rather than merely ‘following’ them. I also like the possibility of being able to subscribe to other people’s lists. Personally speaking, I actually follow my lists in my feed reader using Granary to create the feed.
Responding to John Johnston’s discussion of the value of blogging as a space for sharing, Ian Guest wonders about the various features associated with Twitter.

One thing I wonder about sharing spaces is not what is technically possible – Twitter actually includes quite a few features to help users, such as hashtags, saved searches, bookmarks and moments to name a few – the question is how easy is it to personally mine this information and subsequently build upon it?  This was the point that both Cal Newport and Austin Kleon have recently touched upon, sharing the power of a space of one’s own.

Listened Radio Edutalk 13-03-19 Ian Guest “Exploring teachers’ professional development with Twitter” from

Dr Ian Guest talking about his recent PHD “Exploring teachers’ professional development with Twitter”.

Another interesting discussion about Twitter summarising some of Ian Guest’s learnings associated with his PhD. Was nice to mentioned in regards to my involvement with the village.
Replied to

Massive congratulations once again Ian. I look forward to reading it in its entirety.
Replied to ‘Tis done! by IaninSheffield (

It’s now three days after my viva and I’ve almost managed to mentally process the outcome. I passed, with no corrections.
If you’re not familiar with how the doctoral examination process works, at least here in the UK, here’s a quick summary. An internal and external examiner are appointed; …

Well done Dr. Ian. When will it be (digitally) published?
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After following your journey Ian, I must admit that this is one book that I am intrigued to dive into.
Replied to Mock mock viva by IaninSheffield (Marginal Notes)

My thesis explores the assertion by some teachers on Twitter that it supports or provides their PD.
I conducted a sociomaterial analysis of their practices through an approach I called flânography involving multiple methods, including novel ones I developed.
Those practices are enacted by both human and nonhuman participants within richly complex activities, characterised by personalisation, autonomy and reciprocity.
I conceptualised these practices by proposing two interlocking dimensions of ‘compound learning’ and ‘scales,’ which enable claims about professional learning through Twitter – and online more generally – to be accessed and scrutinised.
In helping to legitimise these practices, my analysis and theorisation provide tools with which organisations and individuals can assess alignment and value of these practices alongside institutional and other goals.

I would have no idea what questions you would get asked in your viva Ian, but one thing that I was left wondering from your recent reflections was why Twitter and not say Delicious? Did or does Delicious or Diigo support your professional development? Would this simply be a different ‘gathering’ or something different altogether? I am not sure if I have made sense here, but it is just something that has always left me wondering.
Bookmarked Chapter 5: Gathering: Meeting the locals by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)

A tweet is a busy actor, and is often the point from which further activity begins.

Ian Guest gathers together the actors associated with my post (and subsequent tweet) reflecting upon my experiences with EduTweetOz.

The Retweet is a repeater and amplifier, causing the original message to appear and then reappear in Twitter timelines; a nudge here, a prod there. This is more than creating or extending a network of practice or personal learning network, it is networking.

He provides a useful take on some of the human and non-human players involved in Twitter and Twitter Chats, with a particular focus on the place of the hashtag.

Hashtags cooperate with other actors, repeat themselves and become more insistent. In collaborating with other human and nonhuman actors they do work by forging connections and facilitating communication exchanges. Hashtags don’t simply work for teachers in this regard, but work with them, sometimes coaxing, sometimes cajoling and sometimes compelling.

📓 Gatherings

Ian Guest outlines the methodological approach associated with CPDin140. He describes this as ‘gatherings’:

I call these chapters ‘Gatherings,’ drawing on the work of a number of authors, but predominantly Law (2004a: 160), for whom Gathering is:

[…] a metaphor like that of bundling in the broader definition of method assemblage. It connotes the process of bringing together, relating, picking, meeting, building up, or flowing together. It is used to find a way of talking about relations without locating these with respect to the normative logics implied in (in)coherence or (in)consistency.

Or put more concisely, Gatherings are ‘Forms of craftings. Processes of weaving.’ In an earlier post, I discussed assemblage, not as a noun, a settled and fixed entity, but an ongoing active process of entanglement. So too with the Gatherings I offer. Whereas Law proposed Gatherings as method assemblage, I offer Gatherings crafted and bundled from data, and to some extent, the literatures. They are of course obliged to be fixed at least temporarily within this thesis; ‘a local and momentary gathering or accomplishment, rather than something that stays in place’ (Law, 2004a, p.129).
Some might see this wilful avoidance of arranging findings into neatly defined packages as abrogating one’s responsibilities as researcher. One reason I present my analysis as Gatherings is that it is consistent with flânography, and how teachers experience Twitter professional development (TPD) which is often messy, not laid out as structured, planned CPD sessions might be. Although this presents challenges for analysis, the techniques of ‘plugging in’ and ‘reading data through data’ described in the previous post become important strategies. Insights which consider the implications of the data and speculate on possible consequences are woven through the Gatherings, but drawn together at the end of each.

In presenting the Gatherings, I have assembled a variety of actors and data, and through sociomaterial description, followed Decuypere and Simons (2016) in producing ‘an adequate account.’

[…] it is an account (not a neutral rendering of facts) that is aimed at being adequate (that is, that makes a description of the actors gathered in such a way that these actors can ‘speak for themselves’, instead of being ‘spoken about’).

To that end, the Gatherings in the thesis are rich with data in the form of tweets, quotes from blog posts and quotes from interviews. (In the following blog posts however, in keeping with the previous posts, I’ll be summarising rather than presenting the data in full). In Interviewing the nonhumans, I outlined five of Adams’ and Thompson’s (2016) heuristics; one of these was ‘gathering anecdotes.’ Gatherings as the means to present those anecdotes seems coherent therefore. The heuristics not only ‘help researchers attend to the role of thingly gatherings of research practices’ (Thompson & Adams, 2013) but in my case, encouraged me to produce thingly Gatherings. As such, my thingly Gatherings are ‘important actors, complicit in co-creating the happenings of the world’ (Thompson, 2016) and are of course, partial accounts of those happenings.

Liked Chapter 1: Introduction by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)

Recent research is making it plain how complex teacher professional learning is. Adding Twitter into that mix does not simplify matters and I contend that these novel circumstances might be better addressed through a less conventional, more adaptive, responsive approach. Rather than working from a methodology which makes certain epistemological assumptions based on our current understanding of teacher professional learning, I wanted to remain open to different possibilities and hopefully produce fresh insights.

Replied to PD and Parkruns (Marginal Notes)

I love Parkruns with other folks and I love running and cycling on my own; each has its own merits and issues. One of the strands which emerged in my study was that both planned, formal experiences and less formal, unstructured experiences each have their place. Some people might prefer one over the other, some find value in both. There are valid reasons why sometimes everyone needs to be following the same programme at the same time. However, teachers learning through Twitter clearly gain a great deal from being able to choose paths which address their individual needs and suit their contexts. Perhaps they are flâneurs/flâneuses? Perhaps we could be taking the best from both worlds?

Ian, your discussion of the benefits of formal and informal reminds me of Graham Wegner’s discussion of personalised versus personalized. It has me thinking though that where there are two options we can have a tendency to alienate one of them. I am subsequently rethinking this and the benefits of different options.
Replied to Thesis Abstract by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)

A conventional table of contents is set out in the same order that the chapters and sections appear within the thesis. It provides a quick reference guide of the topics to be discussed, together with shortcuts (in the form of page numbers) to each section should you wish to jump from one to another. Unlike a novel, readers are unlikely to read a thesis from start to finish, despite the ToC outlining the suggested reading order. Why then is it necessary to provide an order when it is unlikely to be followed? Furthermore, it’s no simple matter to compress all that information onto a single textual page in order to provide an overview snapshot (the ToC in my thesis straddled six pages for example). Producing the Streetmap therefore served a number of functions.

Ian, I am excited to read both your findings, as well as your flânographic methodology. I am intrigued to what it might have in other areas beyond Twitter.

I also really like your reimagining of the traditional linear table of contents. I wonder what implication that this might have for something like the IndieWeb, especially the organisation of the wiki. At the very least it might be useful for Greg McVerry and his investigation of the IndieWeb for education.

Replied to Thesis submitted. Next steps. (Marginal Notes)

Last week I submitted my thesis. No hoopla. No fanfare. No round of applause. It was merely a matter of printing four copies, getting them bound, then dropping them off at the reception desk of a University office building. Quite an anticlimax really. In return I was given a pro forma acknowledgement of receipt and the promise that they would be passed on to the relevant department. I needed no more than that, but I can’t help thinking how deflated some people must feel; all that effort and not even a ‘congratulations’ or ‘you must be delighted?’ Perhaps there might be something to be gained from the University rethinking that small but significant aspect of the examination process.

Massive congratulations Ian. I assume that eventually it maybe published somewhere digitally. Can’t wait to read it. Exciting times!
Replied to Episode 109: Surveillance and social conformity (

This week, Doug and Dai discuss conformity, social media, Personal Learning Networks, Edward Snowden, surveillance, Big Tech, digital assistants, teaching History, and more!

You speak about the intelligence of buildings in this episode. You might be interested in Ian Guest’s interview of non-humans. I wonder how it might translate to ‘interview’ spaces?
Replied to Analytical moves by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)

Although these details are not attempting to satisfy the more positivist-leaning criterion of enabling replicability, they should nevertheless make it clear that I conducted a ‘rigorous’ study. Is there enough here to convince you of that? If not, what else would you like to see?

Once we trade in reproducibility I imagine that all we have is a case of ‘good-enough’ analysis? The problem I have is that if we were to approach this question from Fish’s interpretive communities then being convinced is not the challenge? If I am a positivist, will I ever be satisfied?
Replied to

Thanks Ian for the challenge.

Day 1 of 7: 7 black and white photos of your life. No humans, no explanations. Challenge someone new every day. Challenged by @IaninSheffield I now challenge @robert_schuetz.

Day 1 of 7: 7 black and white photos of your life. No humans, no explanations. Challenge someone new every day.