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Literacy - Hindsight, Insight and Foresight


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Literacy session: Hindsight, Insight and Foresight John Cook. Workshop 'Technology-enhanced learning in the context of technological, societal and cultural transformations' Alpine Rendez-Vous, within the framework of the STELLAR Network of Excellence. December 3-4, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany. #telc09 #stellar2009,

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Literacy - Hindsight, Insight and Foresight

  1. 1. Literacy session: Hindsight, Insight and ForesightJohn Cook Workshop &apos;Technology-enhanced learning in the context of technological, societal and cultural transformations&apos; #telc09 #stellar2009<br />Alpine Rendez-Vous, within the framework of the STELLAR Network of Excellence. December 3-4, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany.<br />
  2. 2. Johnnigelcook because my middle name is nigel<br />Email:<br />Home page:<br />Twitter: johnnigelcook<br />Google Wave:<br /><br />
  3. 3. Johnni gel cook!<br />
  4. 4. John’s hindsight perspective<br />Interested in research that develops a theoretical dialogue between literacies and technology enhanced learning<br />In particular cognitive psychology and education <br />Work of Vygotsky<br />Before the above I paint a broad brush picture of the landscape.<br />
  5. 5. Digitally literate learners<br />Kress (2003) has observed that young people use new forms of communication which appear to include layers of meaning not accessible by ‘traditional’ language skills alone. <br />
  6. 6. Digitally literate learners<br />“… include the ability to understand the power of images and sounds, to recognize and use that power, to manipulate and transform digital media, to distribute them pervasively, and to easily adapt them to new forms.” <br />(New Media Consortium, 2005, p. 2,original was in italics)<br />
  7. 7. Children’s bedrooms become media labs<br />UK children aged 12-15 have an average of six media devices in their bedrooms and children aged 8-11 have an average of four such devices (Ofcom2008, p. 6).<br />
  8. 8. BUT we are seeingfragmentation of ‘literacy’ abilities<br />The results of PISA on reading competence suggest a fragmenting of literacy performace in terms of social cohesion. <br />Except for in a few countries, for example in Finland, around 18% of 15 year old students tend to be unable to read texts (OECD, 2004, p. 5). <br />This in the sense of comprehension: finding information in a paragraph, interpreting the information and reflecting on or evaluating it.<br />
  9. 9. The Google Generation provide a warning here<br />“…young people demonstrate an ease and familiarity with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web.” <br />JISC and British Library (2008)<br />
  10. 10. Web 2.0 and learning?<br />“… only a few embryonic signs of criticality, self-management and meta-cognitive reflection … There is a disparity between home and school use of IT …)<br />Becta (2008).<br />
  11. 11. Initial Questions<br />How can we reconceptualise the ways in which learning spaces are designed? <br />How can we conduct research into digital literacy and Technology Enhanced Learning when these momentous changes are largely taking place out there ‘in the wild’?<br />
  12. 12. LMLG (Pachler, Bachmair and Cook, in press)argue that the context for learning in the 21st Century has brought about the need to re-conceptualize or extend theories from the past if we are to develop an approach to deep learning design for the present and the future. <br />
  13. 13. Augmented Contexts for Development (Cook, 2009; Cook, in press)<br />I argue that <br />the nature of learning and meaning making is being augmented by new digital tools and media, particularly by mobile devices and the networks and structures to which they connect people; <br />our understanding of how to design for these new contexts for development & learning can benefit from a re-conceptualisation of Vygotskys work;<br />the above leads to notion of Augmented Contexts for Development.<br />
  14. 14. Back to the future(this will be quick and painless )<br /><br />
  15. 15. The “higher psychological processes”, as Vygotsky termed them, result from a relation “between human beings and their environment, both physical and social” ((Vygotsky 1978/1930, p. 19). <br />Vygotsky considered “social interactions” to be those like ‘to speak’ as the transformation of practical activities such as ‘to use a tool’. <br />
  16. 16. The leading processes are that of internalization and that of the instrumental use of a tool.<br />This happens where “An operation that initially represents an external activity is reconstructed and begins to occur internally” (Vygotsky 1978/1930, p 56).<br />
  17. 17. Further, the social situation of the external activity, like the conditions for the use of tools, is internalized: <br />“An interpersonal process is transformed into an intrapersonal one” (Vygotsky 1978/1930, p 57). <br />
  18. 18. “The transformation of an interpersonal process into an intrapersonal one is the result of a long series of developmental events” (Vygotsky 1978/1930, p 57).<br />
  19. 19. Vygotsky proposed the Zone of Proximal Development<br />“It is the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential problem solving as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.” <br />(Vygotsky, 1978/1930, p. 86, my bold)<br />
  20. 20. Vygotsky (1978/1930, p. 90) proposed “that an essential feature of learning is that it creates the zone of proximal development; that is, learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is [in] interaction with people in his environment and in cooperation with his peers. Once these processes are internalized, they become part of the child’s independent developmental achievement.”<br />
  21. 21. Insight:Augmented Contexts for Development (Cook, 2009; Cook, in press)<br />
  22. 22. Temporal underpinning of Augmented Contexts for Development is fundamental <br />“Attention should be given first place among the major functions in the psychological structure underlying the use of tools … the child is able to determine for herself the “centre of gravity” of her perceptual field; her behaviour is not regulated solely by the salience of individual elements with it … In addition to reorganizing the visual-spatial field, the child, with the help of speech, creates a time field that is just as perceptible and real to him as the visual one. The speaking child has the ability to direct his attention in a dynamic way. He can view changes in his immediate situation from the point of view of activities, and he can act in the present from the viewpoint of the future.”<br />(Vygotsky, 1978/1930, p. 35-36, original italics, my bold.)<br />
  23. 23. mScape@ Cistercian abbey<br />
  24. 24. Elements of Augmented Context for Development<br />The physical environment (Cistercian abbey).<br />Tool: Visualisation/augmentation oriented approach creates umbrella ‘Augmented Context for Development’ for location based mobile devices (acts as substitute for ‘more capable peer’)<br />Co-constructed ‘temporal context for development,’ created within wider Augmented Context for Development through<br />Interpersonal interactions using tools (e.g. language, mobiles etc) and signs<br />Intrapersonal representations of the above functions<br />
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  28. 28. Qualitative analysis: process and explanatory perspective, looking at the inner features of the situation (Cook, in press)<br />Screen shot of Carl Smith’s wire-frame movie reconstruction of Nine Alters ( <br />Students interacting @ Cistercian Chapel in CONTSENS <br />
  29. 29. Transcribed interaction <br />[play video clip] <br />(Lots of pointing at screen and abbey; student 1 is female, student 2 is male).<br />Student 1: So those windows, up there isn’t it, still? Is that right? So those have all changed since then.<br />Student 2: Yeah there was like another stage between this one and this one. <br />Student 1: High up.<br />Student 2: With three vaults.<br />Student 1: There’s three on that side at the moment and three on that side.<br />Student 2. Yes<br />Student 1: So three have come down haven’t they, along with the window.<br />Student 2: And from this? (points screen). That one is equal to that one, and actually we can not see that one (points). We can see three vaults there …<br />Student 1: There must have been …<br />Student 2: That’s the big one there. Can you see that? (points at screen)<br />Student 1: Do mean with the pillar?<br />Student 2: Yeah, you can see it’s this way (?) but it’s stopped there.<br />Student 1: That’s right (makes gestures for a pillar and they both stare into the space where the missing pillar should be). <br />
  30. 30. Augmented Contexts for Development (Cook, 2009; Cook in press)<br />Visualisation/augmentation oriented approach. <br />Wider Augmented Context for Development substitutes for ‘more capable peer’.<br />Inside this wider Augmented Context: <br />learners are supported as they co-create ‘temporal contexts for development’ <br />where the time field of attention becomes detached from the perceptual field and unfolds itself in time.<br />Thus augmenting development and learning.<br />
  31. 31. ‘Travelling Without Moving’ is a phrase from Dune, a science fiction book series written by Frank Herbert, <br />described the technique used by the Guild of Navigators to fold space and travel great distances in space ships without apparently moving <br />(it is also the third album by the artist and band Jamiroquai). <br />
  32. 32. The concept of Augmented Contexts for Development<br />Has as a goal the enabling of formal and informal learners to independently unfold their attention in time, thus encouraging them to travel a temporally dynamic developmental learning journey without necessarily moving to a formal place of learning.<br />In this sense I advocate that some learning should be characterised as ‘travelling without moving’ (Cook, in press).<br />
  33. 33. Foresight:Future research will revolve around the following issues and questions<br />Have we really managed to replace the more capable peer?<br />During their activity, what will the learning trail left behind by learners tell us as they move from one learning context to the next? How does this relate to developmental events (the time fields)? <br />Can case studies like the above Cistercian Abbey case be used to generate parameters that can in turn be used to build Augmented Context for Development in other areas? <br />How does Augmented Context for Development relate to the notion of the functions of intention and symbolic representations of purposeful action? <br />What are the implications of the my conceptually driven notion of Augmented Contexts for Development for the emerging field of mobile augmented reality[1] (which tends to be driven by commercial developments)?<br />[1] For example see Wikitude ( and Layar (<br />
  34. 34. References<br />Becta (2008). Web 2.0 technologies for learning at KS3 and KS4: Learners&apos; use of Web 2.0 technologies in and out of school. June). Available from:, accessed 11th September 2008<br />Cook, J. (2009).Mobile Phones as Mediating Tools Within Augmented Contexts for Development. Workshop: Education in the Wild. Alpine Rendez-Vous, within the framework of the STELLAR Network of Excellence. December 3-4, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany. Available:, accessed 26/11/09. <br />Cook, J. (in press). Travelling Without Moving: Design-Based Research into Augmented Contexts for Development. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Invited paper for special issue from the CALRG 30th Anniversary Day. Contact me for a copy.<br />JISC and British Library (2008), accessed 10 January 2009<br />
  35. 35. Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in a New Media Age. London: Routledge.<br />New Media Consortium (2005). A Global Imperative – the report of the 21st century literacy summit.(p. 2,original was in italics). Available at, accessed 10th January, 2009.<br />OECD (2004) Messages from PISA 2000. Available at:<br />Ofcom (2008) Media Literacy Audit - Report on UK children’s media literacy., accessed 5th September 2008.<br />Pachler, N., Bachmair, B. and Cook, J. (in press). Mobile Learning: Structures, Agency, Practices. New York: Springer. February 2010.<br />Vygotsky, L. (1978 / 1930). Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Edited by M. Cole et al., Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.<br />