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Spencer Greenhalgh, PhD

Assistant Professor of Information Communication Technology

  • My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am an assistant professor of Information Communication Technology in the School of Information Science and Associate Graduate Faculty in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky. My background is in education—I earned a BA in French Teaching from Brigham Young University and a PhD in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University before joining the faculty at UK.

    I focus my research on the affordances and implications of digital contexts for teaching, learning, and other meaningful practices. For example, in much of my work, I have focused on the way that the Internet has afforded learners the ability create social groups that challenge existing conceptions of how learning is organized. This has included developing automated methods to collect data from Twitter hashtags used by teachers for professional learning. Once this data is collected, I have identified the quantitative and qualitative methods best suited to understand the purposes, characteristics, and meaning-making practices of these hashtag-based communities.

    However, these digital contexts have implications for meaningful practice (and our understanding of it) that extend beyond "affordances." Automated methods for the collection and analysis of digital data create new opportunities—but also new dilemmas—for educational, and other, researchers. My work increasingly focuses on introducing and documenting these methods for other researchers and on describing methodological considerations (including ethical responsibilities, digital "spam," etc.) that are necessary for informed use of these methods. Furthermore, I am beginning to more explicitly investigate the awareness of participants in meaningful digital contexts of the privacy and other implications these contexts create.