25 October 2021 - 25 October 2021
1:00PM - 2:00PM
IAS Seminar Room, Cosins Hall, Palace Green
IAS Seminar by Prof Alan J. Daly, University of California San Diego.
Despite the immense pressure the current pandemic has put and continues to place on theeducational sector, these times also provide an unprecedented opportunity for addressing issuesthat have been limiting the system and need to be tackled in order to further enhance theequitable distribution of educational resources and outcomes. In this context, having access tohigh quality information and resources is instrumental to make progress and to be able to facenew and unprecedented challenges. However, schools and teachers are often overwhelmed bythe sheer amount of information and resources available, particularly in online spaces, andcannot necessarily find suitable materials by themselves. Furthermore, while many Federalfunding schemes, Philanthropy efforts and knowledge brokers (e.g. non-profit, intermediaryorganizations and think tanks) have a stated mission to produce high quality knowledgeresources to specifically support underserved communities and the educators that serve them,their materials just do not seem to get any practitioner uptake. Part of the underlying reason isrelated to the fact that these systems typically utilize more “traditional” communication anddisseminating strategies, e.g. massive email lists, conference booths, or professionalassociations.
Research in the Network Science space argues that these more formal “distribution” channelsare a “spray and pray” strategy that does not take advantage of existing social networks thatsupport the efficient and effective movement of resources between and among individuals.Hence, knowledge brokers need a new and innovative set of tools – in response we areattempting to create a SOS Learning Recommender – that helps them to better understand socialnetwork structures and support the dissemination of knowledge resources to specificallytargeted users. This would greatly increase the likelihood of those resources ending up in thehands of those that need them, as knowledge brokers would better understand exactly what(individual) schools and teachers are looking for. Additionally, as many resources often drawon dominant culture paradigms and assumptions that do not reflect the communities in whichthey may be deployed, enabling knowledge brokers to better understand the communities inwhich they want to deploy knowledge resources will allow them to be more responsive to localneeds, see local communities as being funds of knowledge and assets, and contribute to thedisruption of dominant cultures and beliefs that can be detrimental to underserved communities.Primary Outcomes and QuestionsIn this context, knowledge brokers need to better understand the social opportunity spaces(SOS) in which they and their partners operate. Engaging with and within these SOS createsopportunities to find what individuals are looking for without imposing formal structures andconsiderations on them. Even more so, we know that these SOS are places where people accessand acquire social capital. This social capital can then, among other things, facilitateinformation flows and the opportunity to attain valuable information from outside one's regularworking environment. Here, we focus on online SOS that take place within online socialnetworking sites (SNS), such as Twitter. They not only allow knowledge brokers to easily sharetheir information and resources with a wide audience of schools and teachers. Online SOS alsoprovide an opportunity for knowledge brokers to re-consider their dissemination strategies,optimize their outreach and targeting efforts, as well as measure the impact of their efforts tosupport schools and districts. And while information overload and hidden network structuresremain key challenges in these spaces, we hope to be able to provide knowledge brokers withfilter mechanisms that can help them to identify important information and interested userswithin these online SOS. Our aim will be to build-upon previous work and develop new toolsthat enable knowledge brokers to better understand the existing social network landscape andsupport the effective and efficient dissemination of knowledge resources to specifically targetedusers. However, we are currently wrestling with some key questions:1. How do we support an increased understanding of the knowledge broker themselves tomore efficiently and effectively disseminate knowledge & assets with focus on socialmedia2. How do we Increase the availability of secure and credible tools for knowledge brokersto inform their knowledge mobilization3. In what ways can the use of social network analysis tools enable targeted knowledgemobilization4. How do we augment the availability of tools that surface inequities in networkinfrastructure5. How do we create tools and activities that measure impact of knowledge mobilization