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What do teachers share within Socialized Knowledge Communities: a case of Pinterest

Sihua Hu (School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA)
Kaitlin T. Torphy (Department of Educational Administration, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Amanda Opperman (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Kimberly Jansen (College of Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Yun-Jia Lo (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

Journal of Professional Capital and Community

ISSN: 2056-9548

Article publication date: 20 March 2018

Issue publication date: 3 April 2018




The purpose of this paper is to examine early career teachers’ Socialized Knowledge Communities (SKCs) as they relate to the pursuit of mathematics knowledge and teaching. The authors investigate Pinterest, a living data archive, as an opportunity to view teachers’ sense-making and construction of instructional resources. Through this lens, the authors examine how teachers form and share mathematical meaning individually and collectively through professional collaboration.


This work characterizes teachers’ curation of mathematical resources both in the kinds of mathematics teachers are choosing and the quality therein. Finally, the authors examine through epistemic network analysis how teachers are sense-making through a statistical approach to identifying their organization of mathematics curation by typology and cognitive process demand.


Results show that sampled teachers predominantly curate instructional resources that require students to perform standard algorithm and represent mathematics relationships in visualization within Pinterest. Additionally, the authors find the resources curated by teachers have lower cognitive demand. Finally, epistemic networks show teachers make connections among instructional resources with particular types as well as with different levels of cognitive demand as they sense-make their curated curriculum. In particular, difference in teachers’ internal consideration of the quality of tasks is associated with their years of experience.


Twenty-first century classrooms and teachers engage frequently in curation of instructional resources online. The work contributes to an emergent understanding of teachers’ professional engagement in virtual spaces by characterizing the instructional resources being accessed, shared, and diffused. Understanding the nature of the content permeating teachers’ SKCs is essential to increase teachers’ professional capital in the digital age.



The Research reported in this paper was supported by the National Science Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation under award numbers (NSF REAL – 1420532, WT Grant – 182764). The views, opinions and and results are the sole responsibility of the authors.


Hu, S., Torphy, K.T., Opperman, A., Jansen, K. and Lo, Y.-J. (2018), "What do teachers share within Socialized Knowledge Communities: a case of Pinterest", Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 97-122.



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