People in the Field – Dr. Bonnie Stewart

Dr. Bonnie Stewart is a seemingly ‘punk-rock’ educator, researcher, writer, and self-proclaimed ‘social media fortune teller’.

Active in education, digital pedagogy, and a key figure at the intersection of social media and education formally since the early 2000’s, and informally, well it appears that her career has been directing her to research who we are as learners and academic online since the 1990’s. Bonnie has a website that highlights some of her accomplishments, as well as her professional and research interests, it can be found here. She has an active voice on twitter (I mean, as she should – considering that much of her research is focused on how the twitter-verse impacts academia, and impacts marginalized or under-represented professionals in the field). An article that she wrote on the academic use of twitter can be found here.  Her twitter link can be found here. Of particular foreign interest to me are her social media remarks on data collection in higher education and intended versus communicated uses for the data that is collected off students on the behalf of institutions.

Bonnie is working hard to research and influence change in the participatory web, or, what we may know as Web2.0.  I was first introduced to Bonnie and her work in LRNT521, with a recorded session from the Participatory Open. In this session she probed listeners to ask themselves if they are still involved in the web, or if they have reverted to being mere consumers. She then went on to encourage attendees and listeners to “take back the web”, and help to build a web that we want to be a part of. She’s even written about reluctance to be ourselves on the web, due to fear of shame. How can we, as educators and researchers influence growth or change when we are shuttered by the potential of shame for speaking outside of the norm. A link to Bonnie’s blog post that addresses shame and social media can be found here.

2 thoughts on “People in the Field – Dr. Bonnie Stewart”

  1. Great blog post Paula.

    She is definitely a hero for me and I DO feel that this fear of shame has limited or stalled my participation on the web this last decade. The possibility of words being taken out of context or amplified terrifies me. Have I just gotten old and afraid? Am I just more aware of the pitfalls and minefields out there? Do I feel I have more to lose these days?

    As someone being born in Alberta and with a great number of family members who are followers of Jason Kenny, I appreciate that you chose her. I have a deep respect for her.

    Thank you for this post.

  2. Great post Paula and pushing forward the points on how we contribute to the web. As I spend more time on the internet and particularly during the Covid depression, I have to make an effort to train my brain to be solution orientated. It is so easy for me to think negatively, complain, and hear the complainants, but when I am able to move beyond and try to find solutions, it becomes less daunting and gives me something to look forward to. This program is definitely giving me a second lens on how I use the internet. Individuals like Dr. Bonnie Stewart asking if we are involved or a consumer of the web, gives me something to reflect on. Thank you for sharing.
    – Myrna

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