Six principles 27 march2012
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Six Principles for Thinking about the Use of Social Media and Mobile Devices for Social Justice and Learning

Six Principles for Thinking about the Use of Social Media and Mobile Devices for Social Justice and Learning

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Six principles 27 march2012 Six principles 27 march2012 Document Transcript

  • Six Principles for Thinking about the Use of Social Media and Mobile Devices for Social Justice and Learning Learning Technology Research Institute (LTRI)Principle: “… a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.”1A major research theme of LTRI is Designing for Lifelong Learning2, which focuses on aninvestigation of the mediating power of social media, mobile devices, and more generallyTechnology Enhanced Learning, for social justice and learning. Over the past five years LTRIand the London Mobile Learning Group3 (LMLG) have developed a body of literature andproject outcomes upon which they base the following six guiding principles for thinking aboutthe use of social media and mobile devices for social justice and learning. These overlappingprinciples, or propositions, can serve as a framework for educators and researchers to assist theirthinking about the challenges presented by today’s social media and mobile technology so that: • their work is relevant to learners, • the focus is on learning that goes beyond often rather narrowly technology–centred perspectives, and • citizens are able to obtain equity of access to ‘cultural resources’ (the latter being widely defined).The six principles from the general to the specific, and relevant publications, are as follows: 1. It is a democratic right to have equity of access to cultural resources (widely defined). Learning as a process of meaning-making occurs through acts of communication, which take place within rapidly changing socio-cultural, mass communication and technological structures. There is some evidence that new digital media and devices enable NEETs (not in education, employment, or training) and at-risk learners to gain access to cultural resources. We want to reclaim the use of the words ‘cultural resources’ as it is important to us for reasons surrounding the discussions about social justice, social change, social mobility and “fairness of access” . Specifically, such an endeavour acknowledges the fact that large segments of the population already have mobile devices that they personally own, and which are used for dealing with every-day life, meaning making and ‘informal learning’. On the other hand, not every citizen is able obtain equity of access to cultural resources (e.g. learning resources, health information, cultural events, employment1 http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/principle, accessed 25/02/122 http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/ltri/research/informal.htm3 http://www.londonmobilelearning.net/ 1
  • opportunities, etc.). Scaffolding or bridging of social capital may be required to provide equity of access to cultural resources.2. Mobile phones are new cultural resources that operate within an individualised, mobile and convergent mass communication system. Media in its widest sense forms a ‘socio- cultural ecology’ of resources that we inhabit and that shape our meaning-making. The principal is summarised as socio-cultural ecology of structures, agency and cultural practices and it provides an analytical framework for educators. In the first authored book on mobile learning elaborates on this framework we describe the case of Cyril, a German at-risk youth who, whilst displaying clear patterns of expertise at the leading edge of the use of new technologies for identity building and meaning-making, cannot capitalize on them in terms of success measured by traditional validation mechanisms such as exam results. In addition, his expertise brings him in conflict with the law as his attempts of positioning himself in relation to the world around him through creation and publication of digital video artefacts was deemed to be offensive and inappropriate.3. Users are actively engaged in ‘generating’ their own content and contexts for learning. This principle is summarised as ‘user-generated contexts’ . As a consequence of structural changes in the media landscape, we take the view that the nature of learning is changing as a mode of meaning-making, and that users are actively engaged in generating their own content and contexts for learning. Specifically, therefore, user-generated context is conceived in a way that users of mobile digital devices are being ‘afforded’ synergies of knowledge distributed across: people, communities, locations, time (life- course), social contexts and sites of practice (like socio-cultural milieus) and structures. Of particular significance is the way in which mobile digital devices are mediating access to external representations of knowledge in a manner that provides access to cultural resources. This dynamic digital tool mediation of meaning-making allows users to negotiate and construct internal conceptualisations of knowledge and to make social uses of knowledge in and across specific sites or contexts.4. Appropriation is the key for the recognition of mobile devices (as well as the artefacts accessed through and produced with them) as cultural resources in and across different cultural practices of use, in particular everyday life and formal education. Learners form contexts with and through mobile devices outside of, as well as within existing educational sites of learning . The principle of appropriation is defined as the processes attendant to the development of personal practices with mobile devices, which may be very different to those envisaged by the manufacturers of those devices and associated services; we consider these processes in the main to be interaction, assimilation and accommodation as well as change .5. There is a significant potential for the use of social media and mobile devices in informal, professional, work-based learning. Social media and mobile devices are under- researched in work-based learning. Our recent work provides an initial typology of informal workplace learning in order to provide a frame (a provisional principle) for understanding. We are particularly interested in contributing towards a deep 2
  • understanding of social phenomena and experiences here. Consequently, the focus in this work is mainly on a conceptually coherent analytical approach and not so much on the findings themselves, which are intended to be indicative only. 6. Social media and mobile devices can be used to design transformative, augmented contexts for learning. The LTRI has successfully explored how the use of physical space could be augmented using mobile devices so as to mediate active and reflective learning in field trips in such diverse contexts as landscape architecture , urban planning, second- language learning , and marketing. Designed carefully, new digital media can promote active learning that has the effect of promoting location-based time travel where perception and attention are scaffolded to provide collaborative focus for learning that is not possible with other media. We claim that the mobile tours we have designed and tested appear to be acting as part of what Vygotsky calls the ‘more capable peer’ and are assisting the learners as they move through stages in a Zone of Proximal Development. This work is being extended by project and post-graduate work in the LTRI. For example, Carl Smith is exploring the following question in his PhD thesis: what potential does the use of mixed reality environments have for supporting informal, professional, work-based learning?ReferencesCook, J. (2010). Mobile Phones as Mediating Tools Within Augmented Contexts for Development. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1-10. Retrieved from http://www.igi-global.com/journal/international-journal-mobile-blended-learning/1115Cook, J., & Pachler, N. (2012). Online People Tagging: Social (Mobile) Network(ing) Services and Work-based Learning. British Journal of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-8535Cook, J., Pachler, N., & Bachmair, B. (2011). Ubiquitous Mobility with Mobile Phones: A Cultural Ecology for Mobile Learning. E–Learning and Digital Media, 8(3), 181-195. Retrieved from www.wwwords.co.uk/ELEACook, J., Pachler, N., & Bachmair, B. (2012). Using Social Network Sites and Mobile Technology to Scaffold Equity of Access to Cultural Resources. In G. Trentin & M. Repetto (Eds.), Using Network and Mobile Technology to Bridge Formal and Informal Learning. Chandos.Cook, J., Pachler, N., & Bradley, C. (2008). Bridging the Gap? Mobile Phones at the Interface Between Informal and Formal Learning. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 4(1). 3
  • Pachler, N., Bachmair, B., & Cook, J. (2010). Mobile learning: structures, agency, practices. Springer. Retrieved from http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/learning+ %26+instruction/book/978-1-4419-0584-0Pachler, N., Cook, J., & Bachmair, B. (2010). Appropriation of Mobile Cultural Resources for Learning. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 2(1), 1-21. doi:10.4018/jmbl.2010010101Smith, C. (n.d.). The Potential for the use of Mixed Reality Environments to Scaffold Informal, Professional, Work-based Learning: Design Considerations. Learning Landscapes, under revi.Smith, C., Bradley, C., Cook, J., & Pratt-Adams, S. (2011). Designing for Active Learning: Putting Learning into Context with Mobile Devices. In A. D. Olofsson & J. O. Lindberg (Eds.), Informed Design of Educational Technologies in Higher Education: Enhanced Learning and Teaching. doi:10.4018/978-1-61350-080-4.ch016 4