Idle chatter or compelling conversation? The potential of the social media-based #NGSSchat network for supporting science education reform efforts

Joshua M. Rosenberg, Joshua W. Reid, Elizabeth B. Dyer, Matthew J. Koehler, Christian Fischer, Thomas J. McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) chat (#NGSSchat) is a social media-based professional network used to discuss topics related to the NGSS in the United States. While successful reforms involve and coordinate the work of multiple stakeholders, recent research points out a striking lack of coordination between the individuals working in different educational roles—to the detriment of intended changes in the system. In this study, we analyzed more than 7,000 posts from individuals participating in #NGSSchat on Twitter (n = 247) during 2 years of 1-hr synchronous discussions. We studied the depth and types of conversations that took place, the extent to which the involvement of teachers, administrators, researchers, and organizations was balanced, and what explains participation in the network over time. Using a mixed-methods approach involving social network analysis, we found that conversations were primarily transactional, or social, and substantive, or providing opportunities for sense-making about the standards or for participants to transform their practice and that individuals from diverse roles participated, with teachers comprising the plurality of those involved. Additionally, researchers, administrators, and teachers were the most active in the network, with no differences in both initiating, or sending, and being the recipients of, or receiving, replies as a part of conversations. Finally, we found that being a teacher or administrator, as well as receiving replies from individuals who were important in the network, were positively related to sustained involvement in the network in the following year. We discuss how #NGSSchat—as a social media-based professional network—demonstrates similar features in other effective networks, and how social media-based networks invite new visions for how to implement ambitious, large-scale changes in science education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1322-1355
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • learning communities
  • policy
  • professional networks
  • social media
  • social network analysis
  • standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Idle chatter or compelling conversation? The potential of the social media-based #NGSSchat network for supporting science education reform efforts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this