Social Media

Q&A with Bonnie Stewart

NetworkED seminar series 2016 kick starts next Wednesday (20 January) with Bonnie Stewart. The session will be streamed live and can be seen by clicking here.

Ahead of the session we asked Bonnie a few questions:

Bonnie Stewart

Tickets for this seminar can be found on Eventbrite.

Your work focuses on scholarly identities – can you tell us more about how academics use Twitter and how it might enhance their professional identity?
Like any aspect of identity it’s complex. The promotional narrative of “use social media! It’ll increase your circulation!” has some truth to it, but tends to miss the point or the value that longterm embedded users express…which is that Twitter enables and enriches their engagement and experience as scholars. The boost in audience is a bonus benefit rather than the core.

I think of identity in performative, fluid terms – as the aspects of self that make one recognizable to oneself, but also to others. We are part of a society and an academy where the personal/professional divide is blurring; where employment has become precarious and our roles and titles seldom serve any longer – if they ever did – as sufficient calling cards for who we are. Thus individual, personal means of signalling identity have become increasingly important…but also increasingly pervasive, with the rise of digital and especially social media.

So academics can use Twitter to present aspects of self that are varied and personal and playful as well as strictly professional, which can help build ties with others and expands networks. And even in a professional vein, the absence of gatekeeping around who gets to contribute to Twitter conversations can enable junior scholars and graduate students and thinkers who may not have much institutional status to become known for their ideas or their identity performance rather than their h-index or their institutional prestige. It’s an alternate door to professional identity, in a sense, with some very real implications for academia as a result.

Your most recent study uses ethnographic techniques, can you say more about why you think they are valuable in this context?
Ethnography looks at the meanings made by individuals in a given context, and analyses the relationships between that context and those meanings. It allows us to grapple with the culture and flavour of a particular moment, and understand how it’s experienced by the people who belong to it. Narratives and meaning-making are particularly useful, I think, for helping us understand experiences of inequality and marginalization, which aren’t always made visible with other methods. And in a world as hyped on data as ours currently is, it’s important that there be research that engages with the deep meanings constructed and enacted by small populations, as well as the big pictures that scale enables us to construct.

How do you encourage members of faculty who are very sceptical over the value of twitter that it is useful for academics?
First, I’d never tell someone they *should* use Twitter. I think it is entirely viable to have a robust academic life and career without Twitter. That said, I think the questions of audience and public engagement that the incursion of a space like Twitter open up for academia are important. So my approach is to explore *how* Twitter opens those up.

I think the primary value of a space like Twitter is that it is a) a relatively open network socially, allowing and encouraging people to engage with people they don’t already know, and b) lots of academics and educators use it. It’s that simple, really – it’s not so much any particular affordance of Twitter as that people are there and there are particular, if shifting, social norms that operate. So being on Twitter in a regular, present kind of way expands your access and your visibility to colleagues interested in the very same questions and ideas that you’re interested in, even if you’re located halfway across the world from each other. Without having to pay for a conference, or travel. And that once you find and curate and get involved in whatever “The Conversation” is for your field or area of interest, being present on Twitter offers ambient benefits, like relevant research literally floating across your feed, from known and trusted sources. It isn’t really a new model for academic engagement – it offers many of the same types of access and benefit that associations and conferences do, but 24/7, without the gatekeeping and cost. It’s immersive professional development.

Can you say something about why you consider Twitter to be a fraught space for open scholars?
Because Twitter operates as a relatively open network, as mentioned, it makes participants’ communications visible to people they may not already know. This is at the root of many of the benefits of Twitter for academics…new audiences, new contacts, new perspectives and resources…but it’s also at the root of new vulnerabilities. Two factors combine to create risk in this kind of open public space – first, the overarching phenomenon of callout culture, which can be wielded to challenge or protect particular orthodoxies, and second, the collapse of oral and literate cultural habits and audience expectations.

Twitter, from its inception, has operated primarily as an oral social sphere, but one in which the artifacts of that sociality are still persistent, replicable, searchable, and scalable, like all social media. Those artifacts can be searched, screen-captured, and spread to audiences for whom they weren’t intended, including media…so public speech – even if intended to be casual, social, and ephemeral – has complex consequences and can be fraught for participants.

January 13th, 2016|Events & Workshops (LTI), NetworkED, Social Media|Comments Off on Q&A with Bonnie Stewart|

NetworkED – Bonnie Stewart – 20th January 2016

Bonnie Stewart

Tickets for this seminar can be found on Eventbrite.

Academic Twitter: The Intersection of Orality & Literacy in Scholarship?  presented by Bonnie Stewart.

Ahead of the seminar we’ve asked Bonnie a few questions.

The session will be streamed live on Wednesday 20th:

This presentation examines the intersection of Twitter and higher education, and how “academic Twitter” cultivates scholarly identities and forms of expression that differ from conventional institutional practices.

Based in a study using ethnographic methods and examining the practices and perspectives of a collection of globally-located scholars from across a range of academic status positions, the presentation explores the practices by which reputation and influence are cultivated on Twitter.

In open networks like Twitter, signals of scholarly reputation and influence are minimally codified, yet the influence scholars accrue intersects with institutional academia in grant-required measures of “public impact,” in media visibility, and in keynote and job opportunities.

The presentation outlines how both oral and literate traditions of communications (Ong, 1982) contribute to open, networked scholarly engagement on Twitter, and how these collapsed traditions trouble the terms of rank and bibliometric indexing which dominate the conventional concept of academic influence.

The presentation also lays out the operations of influence and reputation in this collapsed communications space, and theorizes its implications for scholarly engagement and higher education.

Finally, the presentation explores the complex logics of influence that networked scholars employ to assess the networked profiles and behaviours of peers and unknown entities, and suggests that the impression of capacity for meaningful contribution – key to cultivating influence and the regard of actively networked peers – may stem from successful navigation of the oral/literate collapse.

The substantive goal of the presentation is to offer a portrait of open, network scholarly influence and the practices that cultivate it, and to consider how the intersection of orality and literacy make academic Twitter a particularly fraught but beneficial place for engaged open scholars and educators.

As always the event is free to attend and places can be reserved via Eventbrite. All our talks are live streamed and recorded for those who can’t attend in person.

Students as producers show and tell event

SAPSThursday 30 April 12:00-13:45 NAB.2.14

On Thursday 30 April LTI will be holding a show and tell event on the students as producers projects that have recently been carried out at LSE, many as a result of the 2014 LTI grant process.  An outline of some of the projects can be viewed on our events page and you can reserve a place at the show and tell event via the online training system.

‘Students as producers’ describes activities which encourage students to create and share material, see Healey, M., Flint, A. and Harrington, K. (2014) Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: Higher Education Academy

The Learning Technology and Innovation Grants contain a strand for students as producers projects which are those that “encourage the production and sharing of student generated media content, encouraging students to work collaboratively and enhance their learning experience”.

Applicants can apply for kits of equipment (DSLR’s, iPads and Podcasting) to give out to students to create content.

I first came across the concept in the NetworkED seminar by Helen Keegan on 05/11/14.  You can watch the recording of Helen’s talk on our Youtube channel.  Describing her ‘students as active collaborators’ rather than passive consumers, Helen gave a really inspiring talk detailing various projects which often involved students working collaboratively across various institutions and countries.

You might think that her field of ‘Interactive Media and Social Technologies’ lends itself to this type of teaching more easily than the social sciences. Yet here at LSE students as producers projects have successfully run in the fields of Sociology, Management, Law, Languages and International Relations.

If you are interested in applying for a LTI grant to try out some students as producers take a look at our blog page and padlet for some ideas:

Women in technology panel for NetworkEDGE

‘The role of education in encouraging women to work in technology’

We are delighted to announce that following the success of our NetworkED student entrepreneur panel discussion we will be holding a ‘women in technology’ panel discussion on Wednesday 20th May at 3pm in R01.
The recording from the panel discussion can be viewed on the LTI Youtube channel


Read about the panel members below

Ellen HelsperPanel Chair, Dr Ellen Helsper is Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Media and Communications Department at the LSE. Her current research interests include digital inclusion and literacy; everyday production and consumption of digital media, mediated interpersonal communication; and quantitative and qualitative methodological developments in media research.

The three main research projects she is involved in at the moment are the From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes Project, longitudinal World Internet Project, a European Commission Project in relation to Online Advertising and Children, and the EU Kids Online project.  Ellen holds Visiting Scholar positions at NYU Steinhardt’s department of Media, Culture and Communications, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the University of Twente’s Media, Communication and Organisation Department.  Read our Q&A with Dr Helsper.


julia DaviesDr. Julia Davies works in The School of Education at The University of Sheffield where she is also the academic lead for Technology Enhanced Learning in the Faculty of Social Sciences.  Julia’s research focuses on the intersections between literacy, language, technology and learning.  Taking a broad view of literacy her work has included studies of people’s uses of social media, the ways in which technology affects their view of themselves and the world they live in, and the implications of these things for education.



Cornelia_04Professor Cornelia Boldyreff PhD, FBCS, FHEA, Visiting Professor, University of Greenwich

Professor Cornelia Boldyreff lives in Greenwich and is a Visiting Professor and part-time lecturer at the University of Greenwich in the Department of Computing & Information Systems. She was previously the Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise) at the School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering at the University of East London from 2009 – February 2013.

Cornelia gained her PhD in Software Engineering from the University of Durham where she worked from 1992; she was a Reader in the Computer Science Department when she left. In 2004 she moved to the University of Lincoln to become the first Professor of Software Engineering at the university, where she co-founded and directed the Centre for Research in Open Source Software.

She has over 25 years’ experience in software engineering research and has published extensively on her research in the field. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and a founding committee member of the BCSWomen Specialist Group, a committee member of theBCS e-Learning Specialist Group, and chair of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group. She has been actively campaigning for more women in STEM throughout her career.

Together with Miriam Joy Morris and Yasmine Arafa, she founded the start-up, ebartex Ltd, and together they are developing a new digital bartering currency, ebarts.


sue black buckingham palaceDr Sue Black is an award-winning computer scientist, radical thinker and passionate social entrepreneur who excels at bringing people together to solve complex issues. She’s a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Computer Science at University College London, an associate at DSRPTN an all female technology and digital consultancy, and a mentor at Google campus for mums. Sue is a champion for women in computing, and founder of BCSWomen and #techmums, a social enterprise which aims to empower mums and their families through technology. Sue is well known for her successful online and offline campaigning and activism around digital social inclusion and Saving Bletchley Park. Sue is a frequent public speaker, a social media-holic, mum of four and soon to be grandmother.

Twitter: @Dr_Black Web: Blog:


KaskaDr Kaśka Porayska-Pomsta is a Reader in Adaptive Technologies for Learning and an RCUK Academic Fellow at the University College London Institute of Education, London Knowledge Lab.  She holds a Joint Honours Masters in Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, both from the University of Edinburgh.  Her research focuses on developing adaptive interactive environments for learning and communication that are underpinned with user and context modelling capabilities, especially in relation to users’ affective and motivational states.  She has close to 15 years of working with users, including with children and adults with and without special needs, using participatory design methods and of developing intelligent technologies for real world use. She has also first-hand experience of using knowledge elicitation methods, of working with practitioners on finding the best ways in which to embed the new technologies in the existing educational practices and in identifying the added value of digital intelligent technologies in supporting learning in different contexts with diverse user populations.   In her research and practice, Kaśka’s key focus is to strike a balance between the needs of learners and pracitioners in real educational contexts and the design and engineering considerations related to creating and deploying Intelligent Learning Environments.


SADL Celebration: thanks to all our ambassadors!

The Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) project has involved 40 undergraduate students this year from Statistics, Social Policy, International Relations and Law. We are almost at the project end, and tomorrow afternoon have organised a celebration for everyone who has been part of the programme this year; staff and students. After that we will be starting our evaluation and impact study of SADL, to plan how we go forward in 2015-16.SADL blog

Our students attended four workshops over the course of this academic year. As part of SADL we also encouraged students to share what they were learning with each other and with peers on their course. They had a Facebook group, a Moodle course and various ways of sharing with each other, but this proved to be the hardest part of the project. The workshops we ran included:

We had two new aspects to SADL this year. Firstly, we appointed four students from the first year of the programme to act as ‘Senior Ambassadors’ to help us plan and run the workshops, and to mentor the currently cohort. The second new initiative was to divide the students into groups and set them to work on short projects. The projects are presenting tomorrow afternoon at our celebration. Each group has had a Senior Ambassador to mentor them and the topics they have researched include:

  • Improving learning at LSE
  • Improving learning spaces at LSE
  • Improving Moodle and
  • Improving peer support.

It will be great to see what the students come up with, but most of all tomorrow is a celebration and a chance to thank the students for being part of our programme.

Finally SADL is an example of what Jisc are now calling a ‘Change Agents Network‘ and I’m really proud to be taking two Senior Ambassadors, Seow Wei Chin and Eugene McGeown to the Changes Agents Network conference next week in Birmingham, where they will be joining other students from UK universities to discuss their experiences these last two years. Seow Wei wrote a great blog post earlier this week about her experiences on SADL over the last two years, and I really hope that this programme has been as aspiring for all our students.

March 10th, 2015|Announcements, Events & Workshops (LTI), innovation, Social Media, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on SADL Celebration: thanks to all our ambassadors!|

Introducing our student entrepreneur panel

LTI NetworkED Seminar: Student entrepreneurs and innovators: the role of education
Wednesday 4th March 5pm in R01

Learning Technology and Innovation run an annual seminar series called NetworkED: technology in education that invites speakers from the field of education, computing and related disciplines to discuss how technology is shaping the world of education.

Next week’s seminar will be a lively debate bringing together LSE students and alumni to discuss the role of education in developing entrepreneurs and innovators of the future on Wednesday 4th March at 5pm. There are a limited number of tickets available and interested students should book a place via the training booking system:

In addition to the audience at LSE, the seminars are open to participants around the world, who can watch the live event online on our youtube channel and participate using a range of technologies. The seminars are also recorded so you can watch at your convenience.

Student panel members

Maria Carvalho black and whiteMaria Carvalho

Whilst undertaking her PhD in green innovation at the LSE, Maria realised that technologies could play a very useful role in transforming the learning experience – as long as both students and teachers actually integrated using these technologies into their working lives. As a Research Student Officer for the LSE Student Union, Maria has worked with the LTI in launching a PhD student networking tool called Piirus, organised the first “Re-imaging Our Education” event which discussed how learning technologies could be used in  education. She also co-founded Black Cili, an animation business that makes academic research more engaging.


Arseni Gladkovn croppedArseni Gladkov

Arseni’s background is in software development and management. Having just completed his Master’s degree at the LSE, he is now working on making the university learning experience more seamless, by means of a new kind of e-learning platform that integrates personal notes with online content and services.



Tom Merriman2Tom Merriman

Tom Merriman is a graduate student at LSE studying information systems and digital innovation. He has a background in financial services having worked with Bloomberg LP as a business manager in both London and New York. During his 8 years with Bloomberg Tom was responsible for a number of existing financial software businesses as well as launching several new ones. In 2013, Tom left Bloomberg, cycled 5,000 miles from his apartment in Brooklyn to his new home in San Francisco where he set up a craft beer export business. He has a MSc in Finance from Cranfield and his current research interests include how cloud computing and big data capabilities are disrupting the financial data industry.


Edvard NoreEdvard Nore

Edvard Nore started Europe’s first student-led venture investment fund while an undergrad at UCL, then started a company that went well and subsequently failed spectacularly. He has written about tech for The Nordic Web and Arctic Startup and currently working for the City of Oslo (his hometown) as a community manager at their Oslo Innovation Embassy. He is studying a MSc in Organisational Behaviour at LSE.



Originally from Windsor, Roman Thompson is a second year undergraduate studying BSc Geography with Economics. As the son of a technology consultant, this innovative industry is part of his background. However, upon arrival at LSE, it became apparent to him that that LSE could do more to support careers alternative to the ‘traditional’ LSE routes of finance and consultancy. To this end, he is a cofounder and the current Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for the LSESU Technology Society. He regards the encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship as a vital part of this process and the global economy as a whole.

Chair of the panel

Farid Ul HaqueFarid Ul Haque

Farid is Founder and CEO of ERLY STAGE STUDIOS an Education Venture Studio focused delivering next generation learning solutions and ‘making learning fun’ for the consumer and corporate markets alike (

Farid is also a partner at Connected Labs a content company working across media to deliver brand stories through craft storytelling. Connected Labs is backed by award winning Connected Pictures (

You can read more about Farid here:


Watch the recording of NetworkEDGE Professor Sonia Livingstone 25/02/15

Powerpoint slides from the presentation: Sonia Livingston @ NetworkEDGE – Slides

Tweet your questions and join the debate #lsenetEDGE



NetworkEDGE 25 February 2015 – Sonia Livingstone on developing social media literacy


Professor Sonia Livingstone OBE is the LTI NetworkEDGE speaker on Wednesday 25 February at 5pm in Ro1.

She will presenting on ‘Developing social media literacy: How children learn to interpret risky opportunities on social network sites’.

Powerpoint slides from the presentation: SocialMediaLiteracySoniaLivingstone

Watch the live stream below

Tweet your questions and join the debate #lsenetedge

Professor Livingstone’s discussion follows on from our NetworkED seminar with Dr Leslie Haddon on children’s use of phonesand is timely considering the announcement from the BBC today that that ‘more than half of children in the UK have done something “risky” or anti social online’ based on results from the BBC Learning Poll of 2,000 11-16 year olds.

As professor Livingstone outlines below:
“The widespread use of social networking sites (SNSs) by children and young people has significantly reconfigured how they communicate, with whom and with what consequences.  Drawing on cross-national interviews and informed by the tradition of research on media literacy, I will discuss the idea of social media literacy.  The empirical material reveals a social developmental pathway by which children learn to interpret and engage with the technological and textual affordances and social dimensions of SNSs in determining what is risky and why.  Their changing orientation to social networking online (and offline) appears to be shaped by their changing peer and parental relations, and has implications for their perceptions of risk of harm.”

Reserve your place on the staff training and development system or by emailing  All our talks are live streamed for those who can’t attend and a link to the live stream will be available on this blog.

Professor Livingstone discussed her work on children’s rights in the digital age with the department of Media and Communications you can view the Q&A on the Media Policy Project blog.

Watch a video interview with Professor Sonia Livingstone below.



NetworkED 28.01.15 – Leslie Haddon on Children’s experience of phones

Many thanks to everyone who attended our event with Leslie Haddon. For those of you who missed it and want to rewatch it, we are providing a full recording below.

Q&A with Leslie Haddon

Dr Leslie Haddon Children’s experience of phones: for better or for worse.

To kick start the LTI NetworkED seminar series for 2015 Dr Leslie Haddon will be reporting on the findings from the Net Children Go Mobile project on children’s use of smartphones and tablets.  The seminar will take place on Wednesday 28 January 2015 at 3pm in R01.

NetworkED seminars are free to attend but places are limited so will need to be reserved via the staff training and development system or by emailing  All our talks are live streamed and recorded for those who can’t make it and a link to the live stream will be available on the blog shortly.

Ahead of his talk we asked Leslie some questions about the impact of mobile technology on children.

Q: Some argue that smartphones change our experience of the online world because the internet is now ‘always at hand’. Are children also finding this?

While mobile devices, especially tablets and smartphones, are clearly becoming more prevalent among children, that particular claim as well as the one that they can use the devices ‘anytime, anywhere’ is an overstatement, and definitely not so true of younger children. The findings from the Net Children Go Mobile project highlight the fact that children’s use of such devices, even more so than adults, is subject to many social constraints. As dependents there are often limits on how much children and young people can spend on smartphones, be that in terms of paying for downloaded apps or the running costs if their ISP package has limits. In addition, some parents worry about children having too much screen time, some feel that time using the smartphone takes time away from the family, or some simply feel that the smartphone is distracting children from their homework – which it sometimes does. So parents often ration the use of smartphones, for instance, only allowing it after homework has been completed, of ban the use of the device at certain times, for example, at dinner times or after bedtime.

Q: Did the location of access have a significant effect on children’s use of smartphones?

Yes, this was yet another constraint. In the UK many junior schools and for some years in secondary schools smartphones are banned. In this respect there is cultural variation with far less regulation of smartphones in Danish schools. In fact, in many schools Danish children can also use them in conjunction with the school Wi-Fi. Basically, it seems they are seen more negatively, as disruptive or anti-social, in British schools, having little educational merit and that is also a perception in some other countries. At least the Danish case shows that one does not automatically have to take that stance.   The other thing to add about location is that as very expensive items one of the key risks for parents and teachers is that the smartphone might be stolen. Hence there is pressure on children not to use these phones in certain public spaces, like when on the way home from school. Small wonder that the main location in which children use smartphone is actually in the home, also making use of the free Wi-Fi there, rather than when they are on the move.

Q: Did the Net Children Go Mobile project find that smartphones changed children’s behaviour in any way?

For better or for worse these devices have the power to enhance experiences. This can be true for the risks we discussed with them in interviews but interestingly one of the key areas commented on in some depth by children was in relation to communication. They noted how It was now far easier to communicate, some felt that it has enabled them to be more sociable with their peers, and there was now a greater sense of always having someone one could talk to because of the greater array of (often ‘free’) channels at their disposal. But the downside of this is in many respects the same as for adults – for many older children especially there is far more incoming communications, which many felt obliged to check, but which many also felt were irrelevant. Even the children sometimes admitted that this overload could be a distraction and it could also, in children’s eyes, be too much of a temptation. So even when they are generally positive about smartphones, as most children are, some ration themselves because of this – they put the phone aside at time or else decide not to engage in certain online options. And they sometimes acknowledge that, especially because it’s easy to respond quickly, there is the danger of sending messages that are interpreted in the wrong way. So while we may ask what is specific to and an issue for children, in many respects it is the more banal communication dilemmas, sometimes similar to those faced by adults, that attract their attention, that provoke comment, more than the risk agenda.


You can watch the recording of Dr Leslie Haddon on this blog and on our Youtube channel.