2.2. Context Features and Sample
A teaching experience is presented here that is part of a Teaching Innovation Project approved by the General Directorate of Training and Innovation of our university.
The methodological process followed happened during the 2017–2018 academic year in the development of the following educational subjects:
“Didactics in Social Education”. Course: first of the double degree in Social Work and Social Education. First semester.
“Evaluation, quality and educational innovation for social cohesion”. Course: fourth of the degree in Social Education and fifth of the double degree in Social Work and Social Education. First semester.
“Educational intervention for the social integration of people at risk of exclusion”. Course: second of the degree in Social Education. First semester.
“Management and organization of Social Education centres and institutions”. Course: fourth of the degree in Social Education. Second semester.
“New Technologies and Information Management”. Course: first of the degree in Social Work (L1). Second semester.
The total number of subjects involved are five, one of them in two lines. The number of groups has been six, corresponding to different courses of the degree in Social Education, Social Work and double degree in Social Work and Social Education. The subjects correspond to the first and second semesters of the course.
A total of 330 students enrolled in the six subjects; since the activity was absolutely voluntary, initially 181 people were interested. We took data at the beginning of the innovation project from both female and male students who had previously used Twitter f (159), some who had never used it f (22) (last columns), f (18) male students and f (163) female students. From this group, 87.85% of them were Twitter users f (159), of which 9.4% were male students f (17) and 78.45% female students f (142) and some had no prior Twitter experience f (22) of which, there was one f (1) male student and f (21) female students.
In relation to the initial information of the students, data are presented in the following Table 1
The average age of the participants at the beginning of the innovation project was 20 years. All older students were Twitter users, however, many of the younger students did not have an account or did not use this social network.
Finally, the total number of students who participated and used the social network Twitter throughout the development of the different subjects are those shown in the following Table 2
The innovation methodology that is carried out revolves around digital innovation through the use of social networks, Twitter in particular, throughout different subjects in different degrees, so it is a multidisciplinary and voluntary proposal for students.
The methodology was based on active learning processes, understood as stated by [28
] (p. 2), “the realization of different activities by students accompanied by reflection on the actions they are carrying out”, in which both students and teachers participated significantly in social networks in each of the subjects, and where additional knowledge was built by the person who learns, through action, and in which autonomous and reflective learning was encouraged.
On another note, currently one of the paradigms of teaching innovation in teaching in general and in university education specifically, involves the incorporation of ICT as a tool for its development. This incorporation is considered to imply innumerable benefits for the teaching and learning processes that affect both teachers and students, producing a change in the traditional methodology. Therefore, that is why the theory of connectivism must be considered [18
For all the above, in this innovation project it is considered that using microblogging networks as support elements for the teaching practice adds value; that is why it is appreciated that Twitter could be a considerably useful means for the development of skills academics and professionals promoted in the process of European convergence.
The actions carried out were the following:
At the beginning of the subject: (1) exhibition of the project to be developed in the different groups, (2) initial questionnaire on its use and uses of Twitter, (3) provide students with information to start working with Twitter and (4) promote students, individually, and create a Twitter profile at the beginning of the course.
In the development of the subject: (5) invite students to have a “professional Twitter” profile and (6) share links to documents, news, videos, photographs, etc. on the topics that were being dealt with in the different subjects; thus debates/discussions are encouraged.
Participation was encouraged by displaying information or images/photographs of the different class activities, as well as comments, surveys, discussions, etc.
In order that the tweets could be followed from any timeline without the need for everyone involved to need to follow each other and, above all, to avoid interference, we decided to use a different hashtag for each line of comments. A common label is used for all subjects: #innovUPO and a different one according to the subject.
The hashtags of the different subjects are the following:
“Didactics in Social Education” #innovUPO #didactica
“Evaluation, quality and educational innovation for social cohesion” #innovUPO #evalcal
“Educational intervention for the social integration of people at risk of exclusion” #innovUPO #intervencion
“Management and organization of Social Education centres and institutions” #innovUPO #diror
“New Technologies and Information Management” #innovUPO #TICL1
At the end of the subject: (7) fill out a satisfaction questionnaire with the methodology developed at the end of the subject and (8) analyse the results.
In the initial questionnaire on the use of Twitter the following answers, which have served to guide from a more qualitative point of view, the implementation and monitoring of the whole experience, must be highlighted.
Regarding qualitative data, the negative answers to the question: Do you have a Twitter account? are motivated by the following questions:
Because they did not find the social network attractive, interested or felt the need for its use. With a frequency of f (11).
“I haven’t needed the account at any time and it didn’t get my attention.”
Because of the use of other social networks. With a frequency of f (10).
“I had one a long time ago, but I stopped using it because I started using Facebook and Instagram.”
Because of the need to maintain personal privacy. Frequency of f (1).
“Because I don’t like that dependence that social networks entail and the exposure of your personal life that is done in such a detailed way.”
Because it is not considered a useful tool for training and professional level. With a frequency of f (1).
“I don’t think it’s professional to combine with the subject.”
However, the positive answers to the question: Do you have a Twitter account? are based on the following uses:
To be informed of the news. With a frequency of f (92).
“I think Twitter is a good social network because from it I am informed of the events that occur worldwide.”
“I use it to keep me informed of the latest news, since I don’t use television and social networks are good resources.”
To communicate. To publicize their opinions, thoughts, moods, lived situations, etc. share photos, music, ... With a frequency of f (32).
“It seems like a good place to expose your ideas.”
“I use it to share videos or news that interest me, as well as to express how I feel or tell things that have happened to me.”
To maintain contact with your acquaintances, friends, colleagues, … (personal use). With a frequency of f (28).
“To watch news, videos, and various interactions of my friends.”
“I’ve had it for years, I started using it to maintain contact with friends from other countries that I met in an exchange.”
For academic or work purposes. With a frequency of f (18).
“I have two accounts, one personal for my hobbies, and another professional, for work and vocational issues.”
“For news and work topics”.
In order to meet people. With a frequency of f (5).
“To interact with people.”
The methodological approach of this research is quantitative. This study is a descriptive non-experimental cross-sectional methodological design, since in the social research practice it is difficult to achieve control of all internal and external factors that can invalidate information [30
]. Thus, existing situations, not intentionally provoked, are studied here [31
Within this phase related with the PK analysis, the published descriptions on Twitter were extracted and supervised. A manual data extraction was performed. The sample made use of the different hashtags in the different lectures throughout the course when students were writing their tweets; these are the key words that allowed us to code and therefore study the use that students made of Twitter as a strategy for information gathering. We also used basic techniques for text pre-processing (tokenization and normalization).
After the codification and systematization of the data, the information was analysed and interpreted in blocks of subjects. In each of them—from an eminently quantitative point of view—the following issues are studied: the number of participants, the number of days on which it has been published on Twitter, the number of tweets with these tags, the type of posts, classified by: (1) text tweets, (2) tweets with linked information, (3) tweets that provide images and photographs, (4) tweets that present videos, (5) retweets and (6) others. And finally, the interaction with the published tweets, computing the Ward index for getting the associations.
Ward’s method [32
] is a hierarchical cluster analysis whereby clusters must be constructed in such a way that, when two elements are merged, the resulting loss of information is minimal. It quantifies the amount of information as the sum of the squared distances of each element from the centroid of the cluster to which it belongs (SSE = error sum of squares).
After making a description of the characteristics of the units of analysis by subjects, a joint analysis is carried out in relation to the characteristics that are important in the formulated objectives, deepening from a more qualitative point of view, in the effects that the use of Twitter has generated in the process of teaching and learning of the different subjects in which the experience has been launched.