Academic, social, and cultural learning in the French #bac2018 Twitter hashtag

Spencer P. Greenhalgh, Cynthia Nnagboro, Renee Kaufmann, Sarah Gretter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite the continued use of social media in educational contexts, there remains skepticism about whether platforms like Twitter can actually contribute to learning. In this paper, we argue that such skepticism is based on an overly narrow conception of learning that focuses on academic performance and disregards other manifestations. To advance this argument, we document use of the #bac2018 Twitter hashtag in the month leading up to the 2018 baccalauréat exams (the “bac”), which are significant not only for their role in the French educational system but also for their connections with broader French society and culture. We found that participants engaged in sharing notes; slacking, doubting, and fearing; requesting retweets; preferring topics; complaining; connecting with bac heritage and experience; joking; and showing awareness of time. In keeping with the significance of the bac, we found that these practices within the #bac2018 hashtag were associated with not only academic learning but also social and cultural practices that are significant despite their absence from any formal curriculum. These findings underline the complexity and richness that characterizes learning—especially in digital contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1835-1851
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Association for Educational Communications and Technology.


  • Cultural learning
  • Informal learning
  • Social learning
  • Social media
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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