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24-02-2021 | Column: Guest Editorial | Issue 2/2021

TechTrends 2/2021

Trends in Educational Technology: What Facebook, Twitter, and Scopus Can Tell us about Current Research and Practice

TechTrends > Issue 2/2021
Royce Kimmons, Joshua Rosenberg, Bohdana Allman
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Using large-scale, public data sources, this editorial provides a high-level description of educational technology trends leading up to and encompassing the year 2020. Data sources included (a) 17.9 million Facebook page posts by K-12 educational institutions in the U.S., (b) 131,760 tweets to the #EdTech hashtag on Twitter, and (c) 29,636 educational technology articles in the Scopus database. We provide a variety of descriptive results in the form of participation frequency charts, keyword matches, URL domain link counts, co-occurring hashtags, tweet text word trees, and common word and bigram frequencies. Results from the analysis of Facebook posts indicated that (a) schools increasingly used the platform over time, (b) the pandemic increased frequency (but not the nature) of use, (c) schools are progressively sharing more media, information, and tools, and (d) some of these tools align with trends identified by Weller (2020) while others do not. Analysis of tweets indicated that (a) discussions in 2020 revolved around “remote learning” and related topics, (b) this emphasis shifted or morphed into “elearning” and “online learning” as the year progressed, (c) shared posts were primarily informational or media-based, and (d) the space was heavily directed by a relatively small group of Superusers. Last, analysis of articles in Scopus indicated that (a) online learning is historically the most-researched topic in the field, (b) the past decade reflects a shift to more “open” and “social” topics, and (c) there seems to be a lag or disconnect between emergent high-interest technologies and research. Taken together, we conclude that these results show the field’s preparation for addressing many challenges of 2020, but propose that, moving forward, we would be better served by embracing greater philosophical plurality and better addressing key issues, including equity and practicality.

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