Researching and Understanding Educational Networks

McCormick, Robert; Fox, Alison; Carmichael, Patrick and Procter, Richard (2010). Researching and Understanding Educational Networks. New Perspectives on Learning and Instruction. Abingdon: Routledge.



The idea of networks is ubiquitous. The images and metaphors of electronic networks in particular permeate our thinking, including that in education.
Researching and Understanding Educational Networks extends the discussion of education networks in a unique and novel way by relating it to teacher learning. Following an investigation of teacher and school networks in the United Kingdom, the authors found that theoretical perspectives taken from existing work on such networks were not adequate to provide an understanding of their potential, or to provide the basis for researching them in ways that reflected the variety of teacher experience.
This book presents analyses of the problems with existing theories of teacher learning, which for example draw on ideas of 'communities of practice', and explores what network theories can be brought to the problem of how teachers and schools create and share new knowledge about practice. Innovative networking theories discussed include:
social network analysis; social capital theories; actor-network theory; investigations of electronic networks, including computer-mediated conferencing; how people learn at events such as conferences.
Researching and Understanding Educational Networks explores a new application of network theories derived from quite different fields of work, and extends it by being concerned about networks beyond organisations, and specifically about educational networks. Their application to educational networks, and to teacher learning in particular, is a unique contribution of the book. This enables it to be of interest to both researchers and those studying for higher degrees, including students who are professionals working in schools.

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