Monday, June 18, 2012

Social Analytics for eTwinning

For the eTwinning report in 2011, I worked on creating a conceptual framework for eTwinning Analytics with a little "proof of concept"-study. The report itself is only for internal use, but we re-worked it into a research paper. The paper contributes to the field of Learning Analytics, which is pretty hot right now (see LAK12). This combines my personal research interests as well as my work (e.g. the Tellnet project, monitoring eTwinning).

An interesting thing about the framework is that we build it around the OECD‘s indices for teachers’ co-operation. This was one of the outcomes of the TALIS study which is one of my favourites. The TALIS study takes a wide look into teaching as a profession in a number of OECD countries. 

The definition of eTwinning Analytics follows the one from G.Siemens (2010) on Learning Analytics in general:
eTwinning Analytics focuses on the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about eTwinners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising their co-operation and the environment in which it occurs. The goal of eTwinning Analytics, therefore, is to offer eTwinning stakeholders better tools to monitor the action through emerging trends and patterns upon which they can better base their decisions.

The paper can be downloaded here!

Social Learning Analytics to study Teachers’ Large-scale Professional Networks  
{Riina.Vuorikari, Santi.Scimeca}  

Abstract. A growing interest in research focuses on teachers’ large-scale socio- technical networks. Social learning approaches such as social constructivist theory is well established, however, the current challenges lie in creating reliable methods to gather evidence of how and under which conditions social learning takes place in such socio-technical networks and how does it support teachers’ lifelong learning goals. The field of Learning Analytics (LA) addresses the issue of individual learners, whereas Social Learning Analytics (SLA) addresses that of groups’ processes in knowledge construction. 

 The eTwinning action is used as a case study for applying the concepts of Social Learning Analytics. Our interest is on teachers’ co-operation behaviour and patterns within a socio-technical network and how that can support teachers’ continuous professional development. The eTwinning platform currently hosts more than 160000 European teachers. We first introduce the underlying pedagogical and lifelong learning related assumptions regarding teachers’ co- operation. To better understand the type of activities that teachers undertake in eTwinning, they are classified according to the OECD‘s indices for teachers’ co-operation. This creates the core of the eTwinning Analytics framework, which operationalises activities and allows them to be better measured and monitored. A snapshot of data from the platform is used as a proof of concept.

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