Ontario Education Research in 140 Characters – OERS 2012

The seventh annual Ontario Education Research Symposium concluded today.  A new approach was employed this year to collect feedback in real time which was compiled and included as updates throughout the symposium.  Attendees were invited to send text messages when to report back when a new network connection was made or when a new research idea was generated. Although Twitter has been used by attendees for many of the past symposia, this was the first year that tweeting was formally recognized, recommended and tracked by the organizers.

The wordcloud above was created with the tweets from the #OERS12 hashtag using tagxedo, an online application that allows you to create word clouds that conform to shapes and images of your selection.

To take a look at the activity of #OERS12 I used R to compile all of the tweets that were sent over the past few days.  Once compiled, I cleaned the formatting and added some basic coding.  If you would like to take a look at these tweets, I have made them available here as a Google document.  Let me know if you are using the file for additional analysis, I’m interested in seeing where people take it.

Of the roughly 400 registered attendees, 50 took up the cause and shared almost 250 tweets. 

Of those tweets, 20% were re-tweets (messages that are reposted by other users).

The majority of the tweets were written on the first day of the symposium.

Over the 2 days of the symposium there were 50 attendees that wrote tweets.  This is an impressive level of participation particularly when you consider that wifi was unavailable which means that only those with mobile devices and data plans could participate in real time in the breakout rooms.  I had intended to engage in some replay-tweeting (post-tweets?) where I would tweet my notes from workshops and presentations later in the day.  However, there were so many great conversations and interesting presentations to attend I wasn’t able to find the time to slip away and tweet from the lobby.  Of the 50 symposium tweeters, almost two thirds of the comments (63%) were sent from 7 very active attendees:It will be interesting to see how long the #OERS12 hashtag persists as people return to their organizations and reflect on the presentations and conversations of the past few days.

Finally, thanks to the OERS organizers, all the people I had an opportunity to meet and speak with, and for the opportunity to share on data visualization and our Knowledge Network for Applied Education Research (KNAER) project.  A link to our data visualization exemplars page is available here.


In the comments section, Jeff Clarke shared his Neoformix utility which explores twitter visually by creating frequency charts using the avatars of tweeters.  It is an interesting application that can be used with any set of keywords in twitter. I wanted to move it up into the post so I could include some screen shots. Since tweets are time sensitive, the number of tweets available to graph diminishes over time.  The following screen shots were taken on Friday February 24th of the #OERS12 hashtag in neoformix (click on images to enlarge).

#OERS12 by user:

#OERS12 by date:

#OERS12 by keyword:

#OERS12 by twitter client:It is interesting to see how popular Blackberry and Hootsuite were at the symposium and how few tweets came through LinkedIn and Tweetdeck.

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4 Responses to Ontario Education Research in 140 Characters – OERS 2012

  1. Jeff Clark says:

    Hi Chris. You and the other attendees might find this twitter visualization of your tweets interesting: http://neoformix.com/spot/#/%23OERS12
    It will only function as long as the tweets are available through twitter search (about a week) so you might want to look soon.

    • cconley says:

      Hi Jeff, thanks for the visualization. It’s interesting to see it with a hashtag I’ve been involved in. I like the use of the avatars and the re-sorting options.

  2. Doris McWhorter says:

    Thanks, Chris. It is great to have this summary and I will forward the link to others here in the branch. We will analyze the responses and think about how we could improve access to wifi next time around.

  3. cconley says:

    @MichelleStasiuk has written about #OERS12 on her blog “Don’t Sweat The Technique – My EdTech Journey From Novice to Tech Leader in Ontario Schools”. Michelle reflects on the conference topic “Research Impact” from her perspective as a Faculty of Education student representative for Brock University: http://mstasdigiport.blogspot.com/2012/02/ontario-research-in-education-symposium.html

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