Collaboration Between Scientists and Teachers Using Twitter

INTRODUCTION

When considering how you learned science when you were in school, do you remember participating in authentic science or do you recall memorizing facts? Unfortunately, most of us may say the latter; however, there are changes currently occurring in science education that strive to reconstruct this trajectory. Science education reform has emphasized the partnership between teachers and scientists (Kim & Herbert, 2011) in order to increase authentic scientific inquiry in the classroom. Authentic science has been shown to positively influence students’ science identity, allow students to develop critical science skills, and increase student motivation (Chapman & Feldman, 2017; Hellgren, 2017; Tarjan, de Nesnera, & Hoffman, 2015). Therefore, the partnership between scientists and teachers to generate authentic science in the classroom has become increasingly crucial. One way to assist teachers to partner with scientists is through social media platforms such as Twitter. Educators have shown increasing interest in using Twitter as a source of professional development and collaboration with others (Xing & Gao, 2018). Considering this, collaboration on Twitter can also play a role in the social capital of teachers. Social capital can be defined as the “relational resources embedded in the cross-cutting personal ties that are useful for the development of individuals in community social organizations” (Tsai & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 404). However, there has been a lack of research that examines the impact of Twitter on teachers’ social capital (Rhem & Notten, 2016).

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