How Social Media Impacts the Politics of Education

Reposted from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education:

twitteredpolitics

We live amidst an increasingly dense technology-fueled network of social interactions that connects us to people, information, ideas, and events which together inform and shape our understanding of the world around us. In the last decade, technology has enabled an exponential growth of these social networks. Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are engines of a massive communication system in which a single idea can be shared with thousands of people in an instant. Twitter, in particular, represents a compelling resource because it has become a kind of “central nervous system” of the Internet, connecting policymakers, journalists, advocacy groups, professionals, and the general public in the same social space. Twitter users can share a variety of media including news, opinions, web links, and conversations in a publicly accessible forum.

In this project we use Twitter to analyze the intense debate surrounding the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core has become a flashpoint at the nexus of education politics and policy, fueled by ardent social media activists. To explore this phenomenon, this innovative and interactive website examines the Common Core debate through the lens of the influential social media site Twitter. Using a social network perspective that examines the relationships among actors, we focus on the most highly used Twitter hashtag about the Common Core: #commoncore. The central question of our investigation is: How are social media-enabled social networks changing the discourse in American politics that produces and sustains social policy?

This interactive website utilizes a two dimensional approach to tell the story of the Common Core debate on Twitter. The website is organized horizontally across major categories of the story: a Prologue, four Acts (the Social Network, Players, Chatter, Motivations), and an Epilogue – each of which goes increasingly deeper into the #commoncore story. Each of these major categories also contains different sub-stories, or sections, that unfurl vertically underneath them. The figure below depicts the organization of the website. Take a look to familiarize yourself with the architecture and then start exploring!

Read More…

Download the Project Report [PDF]

Download the Project Methodology [PDF]

Visit the Consortium for Policy Research in Education site

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