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Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?
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Spaces, places and technologies: can we know, value and shape policy to provide what students need to support their digital literacy practices?

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Values can be espoused; they can be enacted; but they can also be represented in the way that structures and systems are created (Feenberg, 1999). Students’ engagement with Higher Education is shaped …

Values can be espoused; they can be enacted; but they can also be represented in the way that structures and systems are created (Feenberg, 1999). Students’ engagement with Higher Education is shaped in important ways by the spaces in which they study, the resources they work with and the materials they produce, things that are widely overlooked in educational research (Fenwick, Edwards & Sawchuk, 2011). This lack of scrutiny limits our ability to understand the values of higher education, and how they vary not only by discipline but also setting – which is an issue, since technologies (including resources and designed spaces) are so much more durable than talk or action in the way that they shape society (Latour, 1999).

In this paper, we report on a research project that explored sociomaterial aspects of students’ experiences of learning. 12 students (3 each of PGCE students, Masters’ students, Doctoral students and Masters’ students studying at a distance) undertook multimodal journaling over a period of 9 months to document the ways in which they used resources, technologies and spaces to be ‘digitally literate’, in order to achieve success in their studies. In addition to generating images, videos and field notes, the students were each interviewed three or more times to generate accounts of their studies.

The analysis of this dataset showed how markedly different ‘success’ was, in terms of resources and practices, to different students. It demonstrated that the phrase, “the student experience”, is misleadingly singular: students’ experiences varied considerably. It also revealed where and when their learning was or was not valued. Examples of such situations will be provided, to show how the configuration of spaces, technologies and other resources affects students’ ability to succeed in their studies, and what individuals did to overcome these.

Finally, we will illustrate how these issues relate to institutional policy making, looking at an example of how evidence about student experience does (and does not) link through to institutional action.

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  • Feenberg, A. (1998) Questioning Technology. London:Routledge.
  • lesley
  • lesley
  • lesley
  • Transcript

    • 1. Spaces, places andtechnologiesCan we know, value and shapepolicy to provide what studentsneed to support their digitalliteracy practices?Martin Oliver & Lesley GourlayInstitute of Education
    • 2. Values and technology
    • 3. Theorising technology and valuesDesign is socially relative: it incorporates socialterms of referenceWhere design prefers particular groups, socialinjustice arisesDominant technical codes, and the over-determination of action: managerial control„Room for maneuver‟ as necessary and desirablein designsFeenberg (e.g. 2010)
    • 4. The „margin of maneuver‟Power expresses itself in plans which inevitablyrequire implementation by those situated in thetactical exteriority. But no plan is perfect; allimplementation involves unplanned actions in what Icall the “margin of maneuver” of those charged withcarrying it out. In all technically mediatedorganizations margin of maneuver is at work,modifying work pace, misappropriating resources,improvising solutions to problems and so on.Technical tactics belong to strategies asimplementation belongs to planning.(Feenberg, 1998: 113)
    • 5. How can we work withthis?What is the evidence base on which we aredesigning our IT infrastructure, trainingprogramme, curricula, etc?To what extent does this evidence show whatstudents actually value?Not just whether they like some broad category ofprovision we have designedNot just selections from a list of our guessesNot just what they say they valueDeveloping a sociomaterial account of studying
    • 6. Sociomateriality
    • 7. Humans, and what they take to be their learning andsocial process, do not float, distinct, in container-likecontexts of education, such a classrooms orcommunity sits, that can be sits, that can beconceptualised and dismissed as simply a wash ofmaterial stuff and spaces. The things that assemblethese contexts, and incidentally the actions andbodies including human ones that are part of theseassemblages, are continuously acting upon eachother to bring forth and distribute, as well as toobscure and deny, knowledge.(Fenwick et al, 2011)
    • 8. Universities and textualpracticesRemoving the agency of texts and tools informalising movements risks romanticising thepractices as well as the humans in them; focusinguniquely on the texts and tools lapses into naïveformalism or techno-centrism.Leander and Lovvorn (2006:301), quoted in Fenwicket al (p104)
    • 9. Reflexive relationship between textual media andknowledge practices in higher education (Kittler2004)Need to explore ramifications of devices & digitallymediated semiotic practices on meaning making
    • 10. The research
    • 11. DigitalLiteracies as aPostgraduateAttribute?• JISC Developing DigitalLiteracies Programme• Focus groups / multimodaljournalling in year 1PGCE, taught Masters, taughtMasters (Distance), PhD• Case studies in year 2:Academic Writing CentreLearning Technologies UnitLibrary
    • 12. Moving on fromtaxonomies“Digital literacy defines those capabilities whichfit an individual for living, learning and working ina digital society.” (Beetham, 2010)Four-tier framework:AccessSkillsSocial practicesIdentity
    • 13. …towardsdigitalacademicpractice• Academic practices areoverwhelming textual• These are situated insocial and disciplinarycontexts• Textual practices areincreasingly digitallymediated• These practices take placeacross a range of domains• Students create complexassemblages enrolling arange of digital, material,spatial and temporalresources
    • 14. Why it‟s not all abouttechnologies
    • 15. Complex resourcesNeither all „institutional‟, nor personalOffice tools (primarily Microsoft, plus Google docs and Prezi)Institutional VLEs (Moodle and Blackboard)Email (institutional, personal and work-based)Synchronous conferencing services (Skype, Elluminate)Calendars (iCal, Google)Search engines and databases (including Google, GoogleScholar, library databases, professional databases such asMedline, etc),Social networking sites (Facebook, Academia.edu, LinkedIn) andservices (Twitter)Image editing software (photoshop, lightbox)EndnoteReference works (Wikipedia, online dictionaries and socialbookmarking sites such as Mendeley)GPS servicesDevices (PCs at the institution and at home, laptops includingMacBooks, iPhones, iPads, Blackberries and E-book readers).
    • 16. A taxonomic list would be problematicTime specific (and rapidly dated)Unfeasibly longContaining much that‟s irrelevant for individualsDigital literacy as a kind of copingPersonal and situated, not monolithic andgeneral
    • 17. “The student experience”No evidence that the student experience issingularMarked differences in experiences and prioritiesacross the four groupsPGCE, MA students, PhD students, Onlinemasters‟ studentsCoping with whiteboards and staff room politics ofaccess; using the VLE to access materials; librarydatabases; using the VLE to create a sense ofcommunity (…and Skype behind the scenes…)Professional, personal, study
    • 18. Orientations
    • 19. Yuki: „curation‟
    • 20. For example when I attend a lecture or a session Ialways record the session, and it‟s after the session,but sometimes I listen to the lecture again to confirmmy knowledge or reflect the session...when I, forexample we‟re writing an essay and I haveto...confirm what the lecturer said, I could confirmwith the recording data. (Yuki Interview 1)
    • 21. Sally:„combat‟
    • 22. I was like bullied into it by people saying, oh, you‟ll be leftbehind if you don‟t use Facebook. So yes, that waswhen I got into it, so... And then... so now I would sayFacebook, I‟m not the most... like I said to you in thefocus group, I‟m a bit uncomfortable about the whole kindof like Big Brother aspect. (Sally Interview 1)I feel like, also that Google is equally watching you. Youknow, they‟re all watching you, they‟re all trying to sellyou things, and the thing is not, I don‟t so much mindbeing bombarded with advertising as I mind having thingsput about me on things like Facebook that I don‟t want.You know, I don‟t want my friends to spy on me, I don‟twant my friends to know what I listen to on YouTube.(Sally Interview 1)
    • 23. Faith: „coping‟
    • 24. In my school, I… we had… our staff room wasequipped… one, two, three, four, five, six, seven… sevencomputers now we can use and only one of themattached with a printer. So, actually we‟ve got six PGCstudents over there, so it‟s, kind of, everybody wants toget to that computer where you can use the printer. Yes,so in the end I found actually I can also use the printerfrom the library in the school.So, six student teachers tried to use other computer. So,it, kind of, sometimes feels a bit crowded. And when theschool staff want to use it, well, okay, it seems like we arethe invaders, intruders?
    • 25. Spaces
    • 26. YukiJapanese, female in her 40s, MA studentFor me the most important thing is portability, because I usetechnologies, ICT, everywhere I go, anywhere I go. Forexample of course I use some technologies, PCs andlaptops and my iPad in the IOE building, and in the IOEbuilding I use PC, I use them in PC room, in library, and forsearching some data or journals. In the lecture room I recordmy, record the lectures and taking memos by that.
    • 27. 27
    • 28. ActivityMap out where you undertake your work
    • 29. Now discuss…Are spaces associated with particular times orpatterns?Which spaces do you feel in control of? Wheredo you feel supported?Are there spaces where you avoid undertakingcertain kinds of work? Why?
    • 30. Identity
    • 31. Managing the separation and integration ofpersonal, professional and study placesEmail accountsSocial network profilesetc
    • 32. One of the challenges of undertaking an onlinecourse is that most probably you will do thisalongside „other‟ activities such as a job or other. Asa result you end up with multiple email addressesand different folders, files and docs in yourcomputer. I am finding that one needs to be veryorganised and a practical thinker in order to: retrievethe information you need, navigate between one andin the other. (Lara email)
    • 33. ActivityWhat identities are you having to manage?Where on your map do you do these?(Do they stay where you want them?)
    • 34. Texts
    • 35. Yuki‟s booksFrom print to digital and backagain
    • 36. “The bathroom is a good place toread”Digitally connected texts in a very embodiedsetting – neither „virtual‟ nor „real‟ (Jurgenson 2012)
    • 37. ActivityPick a text, and trace…Where did it come from?Where did you take it?When did it become digital, and when printed?What did you turn it into?
    • 38. Wrapping up
    • 39. Research summaryComplex, constantly shifting set of practicesPermeated with digital mediationStrongly situated / contingent on the materialDistributed across human /nonhuman actorsTexts are restless, constantly crossing apparentboundaries of human/nonhuman,digital/analogue, here/not here, now/not now
    • 40. How we have actedon the evidenceReshaping policyIT User Group: increasing diversity throughrepresentation from the four student groupsDesktop/hardware provision: describing academicwork to ensure policy reflects practiceDeveloping practiceDevelopment of synchronous audio conferencesupport for academic writingDevelopment of adaptive library resources(LibGuides)
    • 41. Project blog:http://diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org/wp/Project webpage:http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/developingdigitalliteracies/DigLitPGAttribute.aspxProject contacts:Lesley Gourlay (l.gourlay@ioe.ac.uk)Martin Oliver (m.oliver@ioe.ac.uk)
    • 42. ReferencesFeenberg, A. (1999) Questioning Technology. London: Routledge.Feenberg, A. (2010) Between reason and experience: essays intechnology and modernity. London: MIT Press.Fenwick, T., Edwards,R. & Sawchuk, P. (2011) EmergingApproaches to Educational Research: Tracing the Sociomaterial.London: Routledge.JISC (2012) Digital Literacies as a Postgraduate Attribute?http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/developingdigitalliteracies/DigLitPGAttribute.aspx [Accessed 30 June 2012]Jurgenson, N. (2012) When atoms meet bits: Social Media, theMobile Web and Augmented Revolution. Future Internet, 4, 83-91.Kittler, F. (2004). Universities: wet, hard, soft, and harder. CriticalEnquiry 31(1): 244-255.Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction toActor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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