My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a PhD candidate in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University and an instructor with MSU’s Master of Arts in Educational Technology program. My studies and teaching have also led to fruitful collaborations beyond the College of Education. While at MSU, I have taken classes from the Department of Media Information to earn a graduate certificate in serious games, and I am currently working toward a Digital Humanities certificate from the College of Arts and Letters. I have also put my past experience as a French teacher to use by serving as a French Language Fellow for MSU’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.
I focus my research on how digital technologies allow for the creation of both new kinds of learning communities and new kinds of research methods for studying those communities. The Internet is increasingly allowing learners to create social groups that challenge existing conceptions of how learning is organized. For example, in much of my work, I have collected data from Twitter hashtags used by teachers for professional learning. These hashtag-based communities are typically informal and loosely-organized, standing in contrast to formal professional development. Furthermore, because these communities exist in digital spaces, they provide new methodological options for researchers. My research, for instance, involves developing automated methods of collecting Twitter data and determining which quantitative or qualitative methods are best suited to analyze and interpret these data.