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Pebble-in-the-Pond?! 
Does a Hashtag Conversation on Twitter connect Teachers? 
Martin Rehm, Ad Notten, 
Annabell Preußler, Michael Kerres 
EARLI SIG 14, Oslo, Norway
continuous professional development of teachers is a 
pivotal element in the provision of high quality 
education 
(e.g. Hokka & Etelapelto, 2013) 
fostered while collaborating in social networks 
composed of diverse groups of people 
(Paavola, Lipponen, & Hakkarainen, 2004)
Networks of Practice (NoP) 
“a larger, loosely knit, geographically distributed 
group of individuals engaged in a shared practice” 
(Wasko & Faraj. 2005. p. 37)
• “people typically value and 
protect what they know” 
(Hew & Hara. 2007. p. 1). 
• “most teachers […] are accustomed to designing 
teaching activities in isolation […], which, in turn, 
prevents knowledge externalization and sharing.” 
(Hou. Sung. & Chang. 2009. p. 101)
Social Capital 
“relational resources embedded in the cross-cutting 
personal ties that are useful for the personal development 
of individuals” 
(Tsai & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 464) 
Revolutionary rise of social capital 
“[…] individuals create social capital at 
unprecedented pace and ever-extending 
networks.” 
(Lin, 1999, p. 45)
Three Dimensions of Social Capital 
(Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1997) 
Structural social interactions 
Cognitive shared code 
Relational assets such as trust
Research Hypotheses 
Twitter Conversations contribute to: 
1. a Network of Practice (NoP) among Teachers 
2. the structural dimension of individuals’ social capital 
3. the cognitive dimension of a NoP’s social capital
Twitter 
#educhat 
• focuses on the Northern American teaching community. 
• topics cover different aspects of teaching practice 
• started out as a synchronous Twitter event 
• Data collected: 01.05. – 31.06.2014 
2095 User 
3884 Tweets
Method 
i. Users metrics 
– Tweets, Mentions, Replies to, Followers, Followed 
ii. Social Network Analysis 
– Degree, Betweeness, Cluster 
iii. Semantic Network Analysis 
– Top-25 Hashtags, 2-Mode Network (Users-Hashtags)
Mentions Tweets Replies to In-Degree Out-Degree Top25 Hashtags 
Mean 1,75 1,75 1,75 1,19 1,75 0,80 
Stdev. 2,23 2,23 2,23 6,64 2,23 6,07 
Minimum 1,00 1,00 1,00 0,00 1,00 0,00 
Maximum 68,00 68,00 68,00 164,00 68,00 218,00 
Followed Followers AllTweets 
Mean 1.288,54 2.128,71 8.953,49 
Stdev. 7.563,45 13.724,87 21.238,74 
Minimum 0,00 1,00 1,00 
Maximum 294.369,00 487.095,00 266.073,00 
Descriptives
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 
Correlations 
1 Mentions 
1 
2 Tweets 
1.00** 1 
3 Replies to 
1.00** 1.00** 1 
4 In-Degree 
0.03 0.03 0.03 1 
5 Out-Degree 
1.00** 1.00** 1.00** -.37** 1 
6 Top25-Hashtags 
.13** .13** .13** -.06** .28** 1 
7 Followed 
0.00 0.00 0.00 .13** -.07** 0.03 1 
8 Followers 
.04* .04* .04* .32** -.25** -.05** .73** 1 
9 Tweets (Overall) .07** .07** .07** 0.01 -.04* 0.00 .61** .73** 1 
* p < .05. ** p < .01
Clustering Algortihm: Louvain Method (Single Refinement) 
Layout: Kamada-Kawai (Optimize Inside Clusters) 
“School” 
Community 
605 Clusters 
“Portal” 
Community 
“Personal” 
Community 
Social Network Analysis
Two-Mode Network: Top-25 Hashtags 
Blue Squares: Hashtags; Red Circles: Users 
Semantic Network Analysis
Two-Mode Network: Top-25 Hashtags 
Node Size based on Degree 
Semantic Network Analysis (cont.)
• Networks of Practice (NoP) 
– Yes: “larger, loosely knit […], geographically distributed 
group of individuals engaged in a shared practice” 
(Wasko & Faraj. 2005. p. 37) 
• Social Capital 
– Structural Dimension 
limited, “homophiliy”, structural holes & bridges 
– Cognitive Dimension 
limited, ontology/categorization, shared code
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Pebble-in-the-Pond?!

  • 1. Pebble-in-the-Pond?! Does a Hashtag Conversation on Twitter connect Teachers? Martin Rehm, Ad Notten, Annabell Preußler, Michael Kerres EARLI SIG 14, Oslo, Norway
  • 2. continuous professional development of teachers is a pivotal element in the provision of high quality education (e.g. Hokka & Etelapelto, 2013) fostered while collaborating in social networks composed of diverse groups of people (Paavola, Lipponen, & Hakkarainen, 2004)
  • 3. Networks of Practice (NoP) “a larger, loosely knit, geographically distributed group of individuals engaged in a shared practice” (Wasko & Faraj. 2005. p. 37)
  • 4. • “people typically value and protect what they know” (Hew & Hara. 2007. p. 1). • “most teachers […] are accustomed to designing teaching activities in isolation […], which, in turn, prevents knowledge externalization and sharing.” (Hou. Sung. & Chang. 2009. p. 101)
  • 5. Social Capital “relational resources embedded in the cross-cutting personal ties that are useful for the personal development of individuals” (Tsai & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 464) Revolutionary rise of social capital “[…] individuals create social capital at unprecedented pace and ever-extending networks.” (Lin, 1999, p. 45)
  • 6. Three Dimensions of Social Capital (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1997) Structural social interactions Cognitive shared code Relational assets such as trust
  • 7. Research Hypotheses Twitter Conversations contribute to: 1. a Network of Practice (NoP) among Teachers 2. the structural dimension of individuals’ social capital 3. the cognitive dimension of a NoP’s social capital
  • 8. Twitter #educhat • focuses on the Northern American teaching community. • topics cover different aspects of teaching practice • started out as a synchronous Twitter event • Data collected: 01.05. – 31.06.2014 2095 User 3884 Tweets
  • 9.
  • 10. Method i. Users metrics – Tweets, Mentions, Replies to, Followers, Followed ii. Social Network Analysis – Degree, Betweeness, Cluster iii. Semantic Network Analysis – Top-25 Hashtags, 2-Mode Network (Users-Hashtags)
  • 11. Mentions Tweets Replies to In-Degree Out-Degree Top25 Hashtags Mean 1,75 1,75 1,75 1,19 1,75 0,80 Stdev. 2,23 2,23 2,23 6,64 2,23 6,07 Minimum 1,00 1,00 1,00 0,00 1,00 0,00 Maximum 68,00 68,00 68,00 164,00 68,00 218,00 Followed Followers AllTweets Mean 1.288,54 2.128,71 8.953,49 Stdev. 7.563,45 13.724,87 21.238,74 Minimum 0,00 1,00 1,00 Maximum 294.369,00 487.095,00 266.073,00 Descriptives
  • 12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Correlations 1 Mentions 1 2 Tweets 1.00** 1 3 Replies to 1.00** 1.00** 1 4 In-Degree 0.03 0.03 0.03 1 5 Out-Degree 1.00** 1.00** 1.00** -.37** 1 6 Top25-Hashtags .13** .13** .13** -.06** .28** 1 7 Followed 0.00 0.00 0.00 .13** -.07** 0.03 1 8 Followers .04* .04* .04* .32** -.25** -.05** .73** 1 9 Tweets (Overall) .07** .07** .07** 0.01 -.04* 0.00 .61** .73** 1 * p < .05. ** p < .01
  • 13. Clustering Algortihm: Louvain Method (Single Refinement) Layout: Kamada-Kawai (Optimize Inside Clusters) “School” Community 605 Clusters “Portal” Community “Personal” Community Social Network Analysis
  • 14. Two-Mode Network: Top-25 Hashtags Blue Squares: Hashtags; Red Circles: Users Semantic Network Analysis
  • 15. Two-Mode Network: Top-25 Hashtags Node Size based on Degree Semantic Network Analysis (cont.)
  • 16. • Networks of Practice (NoP) – Yes: “larger, loosely knit […], geographically distributed group of individuals engaged in a shared practice” (Wasko & Faraj. 2005. p. 37) • Social Capital – Structural Dimension limited, “homophiliy”, structural holes & bridges – Cognitive Dimension limited, ontology/categorization, shared code