yet much of our theorizing of learning develops in institutionalized settings privileging knowledge as it occurs in the formal education sector over the informal.
What networks look like, messier than the first, and we are not external to it, but neither are we/humans central.
The site of study…. But also the ‘site’ is multisited. Ethnography of multicites and a methodology best described as opportunistic. Nonetheless, this is where I begin in following the actors, starting with digital traces…
Digital traces made possible following a gift.Interested in dynamics of gift giving- see Titmus; the gift of blood.In this instance how the gift evolved is an unknown, there is a gauchness in the disclosure. A squirm around/ workaround to the question being asked.
The tensions are barely touched on here. Consider also the tensions of a mobile phone being water tight, soldering intact, mountains and bodies of water that don’t get in the way“Who doesn’t know where the dead area are in their mobile network”… It shapes us we become domesticated to our mobile phone, feeding it, caring for it….
Here I move away from the paper in the conference proceedings, four months on my thinking developed a bit more…Im beginning to see links with reading that was not so obvious to me then. I am implicated in what is studied….
Do not breathe a word of this till the thesis is in…an original contribution to knowledge? One of many.
Image of course from Disney….dont breathe a word to them either- they prosecute!
20% of those using the service became frustrated with it.They let counsellors know in no uncertain terms, but it is the aggragation via the computer software that makes this literally in the faces of counsellors- and they don’t like the –ve feedback. They are after all providing a service as volunteers and prefer to be appreciated for their generosity…
How the service responds to the tensions pulling and pushing
How those using the service are responding to the policy that was not of their making
How counsellors respond to what they experience
Why it matters…
What I hope to contribute to- a disruption of portrayals of young people as being trivial in their use of text messaging
Concluding moments in a thesis no longer constrained by modality but also texted.
Examples of counselling reshaped. Obvious perhaps in retrospect that a reflective counselling approach pp carl rogers needs adapting, but also a medium that pushes toward being directive yet a philosophy of an organization that purports being strengths based, not telling young people what to do…Inside of about 12 utterances the issue is contained, a client centred analysis demonstrates respect, congruence, positive regard related, The person is supported through this moment..The example also demonstrates that mode is deliberately chosen in that it ‘contains the experience….not overwhelmed, not retraumatized…
Far from text being a source of harm or being superficial, or devoid of emotions, heres an example where practice is contained, constrained and constructed in ways the client saw as being useful
A haxell nlc_2012_slideshare
Informal networked learning:
A network in the wild
• Learning is something that happens naturally, incidentally,
pervasively and situated within everyday life. (Fox, 2002)
• Yet most studies involve institutionalized formal education
settings privileging knowledge of networked learning that
involves particular groups of people, and the ways such
• This risks effacing the fascinating mangling of context that
generates particular practices that do not fit the picture of
formal educational settings.
Fenwick and Edwards (2010) and with acknowledgement to Pickering (1993)
Galaxies Forming along Filaments
Venice Biennale, 2009.
Photo by Bruno Latour (2011)
Networks, Societies, Spheres:
Reflections of an Actor-Network Theorist
Networks in the wild
“It’s not easy to see things in the middle, rather than looking down on them
from above or up at them from below, or from left to right,
try it you’ll see that everything changes” (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987)
Reuters image, cited by
On becoming textually active with
• Shadowing of work of counselling in progress
• Participant observation
• Interviews: of those providing and making use of the service
• Analysis of artefacts: 6400 text messages
• Ethics … the risks of sensitive research … the risks of not having research
• What happens when practice and emergent
• What happens where the borders on
innovation and of literacy practices are less
• Tensions hold a
thing (practice) in
• anchored to things,
A Christmas gift:
Media representations of texting
Txt capable cell phones
To do no harm / to do good
• Technology is not a passive carrier
• Young people are not passive recipients
• Counsellors do not move in untroubled ways
• And counselling does not stay the same
All the relationships require
renegotiating and different
What “distributed agency” means for practice:
Dynamics of emergent practice
Adapted from Latour (1987) Dynamics of science, and
Latour and Sloterdijk (2009) Networks and spheres
A hopeful monster gets born
“I said “I think they might also be called ‘hopeful
She said “What are hopeful monsters?”
I said “They are things born perhaps slightly before
their time; when its not known if the environment is
quite ready for them.”
Cited by John Law, 1991
What happens at the borders of
innovation & literacy practices?
“the contours of agency (human and otherwise) are
mangled in practice...
delineated in the emergence of resistance and
(adapted from Pickering, 1993)
• Who gets to define whom
• Who leads and who follows
Resistance and Accommodation
• “It’s a little bit of a worry [text counselling] because if they
are young you don't know, so you can be responding as if
the person was well into their teens when they might be ten
or eleven and might be sounding very natural and affirming
of sexual activity assuming they’re old enough to do that
but colluding with activity that’s not really appropriate for
If they sounded young on the phones, we would have
probably found a way of asking that. So what’s texted back
is more cautious because if you’ve got a ten year old saying
my boyfriend wants to have sex with me that’s very
different to an eighteen year old.”
Resistance and Accommodation
• 20% of those texting in became annoyed with the
– I jst wanna txt coz I dnt wana b heard
– Can u plz jst txt me s0 I d0nt feel al0ne
– Il neva b abl 2 talk bwt it.S0ri 4 bthrn u
– Im sori I dnt thnk I cn cal.i jst feel 2 stupid
– Kn I js txt im a byt shy n da fne
– No I wana txt! Im crying u wont b able 2 understnd me
– If I effing wanted to call I effing would have!
– Icnt call im in the sck bay at skewl
– Calls dnt wk from here
– Im def n dum jus txt me PLZ
– If my dad hears me Ill get a hiding. JUS TXT
Resistance and Accommodation
Digital traces of dissatisfaction also leads to
• “I hate apologizing all the time. I do lots of
apologizing. That gets me a lot.”
As the performance grooves or patterns are laid
down and are repeated, they provide a template
for what can come next
(Bigum & Rowan, 2004)
This research runs interference on such patterns
being laid down, drawing attention to the
relationships involved and the qualities of those
This matters because relationships are deeply
constitutive. Relationships not only shape
practice, but shape us, and the realities of our
lives, and this matters because some people’s
realities are difficult enough without being
An attribution error is made when agency is
e.g. thumb generation,
foolish, trivial, damaging
Denying agency as distributed pathologizes young
people, and creates barriers to “working with”.
• Change occurs not only because new actors
appear, but also because the relationships
• Interrupting the previous paths and grooves laid
down includes levering multiplicity and seeing
ourselves as implicated rather than detached.
• Such relationships / Our relationships
can also be otherwise.
(4 we will nevR b jus 1 agAn)
hOp 2 hav dn justice
4 a hopeful monstr.
N trublng disMpowRing
constructns of agenC
I/we hOp 2 hav disruptd
a$umshns of powerle$ne$.
I/we hav demonstr8ed
ontological poltics @ play.
I/we rAz such m@rs az reals
- situ8d & local
n sure knowldg
th@ things might also alwAs
Hi not relly sure
bot this, but my dad
died and jst not 2
sur bout thngs
every1 seems 2 hav
it 2getha and im a reck Sounds like ur
gng thru a prty tuff
time at the momnt.
Might b easier to
Talk than txt?Nah jus wanna txt
Talking would make
it too real. And
I jus wanna take it slo
has it 2getha and I
cant stop crying..
Snds stupid I kno
Its ok 2 cry n be
Ppl r all different
wif way they react 2