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StimuL@te: Metodologia de recerca a partir de la Teoria de l'Activitat.

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Seminari realitzat per la Dra. Carme Grimalt sobre la teoria de l'Activitat.

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StimuL@te: Metodologia de recerca a partir de la Teoria de l'Activitat.

  1. 1. Activity Theory, a way to look at the world Carme Grimalt Álvaro Carme.Grimalt@uab.cat
  2. 2. How do you characterise an activity? • What do you look at? • Which categories do you use? • From which framework?
  3. 3. Structure of the seminar • What do we understand by Activity Theory? • How the Activity Theory has been used in the literature? • First steps using the Activity Theory • Activity Theory as a way to look at a changing world
  4. 4. What do we understand by Activity Theory?
  5. 5. What do we understand by Activity Theory? • Paradigm that is based on Vygotsky's socioconstructivist framework. • It represents the application of the principles of human development and Vygotsky's learning: Learning in the cognitive plain and in the social plain • It is not just a theory, it is a paradigm of ideas over which there is not always consensus: The approach has been elaborated by a large number of contemporary scholars... • It is not a specific theory for learning, not even for education
  6. 6. What do we understand by Activity Theory? • Key ideas of the paradigm • Activity is a cultural formation that has its own structure and is oriented towards certain objectives (Yrjö Engeström et al., 1999). • The conception of the identity of the individual from this perspective is practical (it is manifested itself when in these interactions that occur).
  7. 7. What do we understand by Activity Theory? • Key ideas of the paradigm • There is a reciprocal relationship between acting in the world and being transformed psychologically and sociologically by this process. That is to say, the action in the physical world (the activity) causes a transformation at an individual level (creation of consciousness, identity ...) at a collective level (division of work, social structure ... ). • Implications: since individual identity is practical (manifested in its interactions) it can be changed if we change how a person interacts with the others • Implications: how individuals interact with each other can change a collective culture
  8. 8. What do we understand by Activity Theory? • Key ideas of the paradigm • Communication is inherent of any activity (in society) oriented towards an objectives (Yrjö Engeström et al., 1999)  interactions • Interactions between the individual and the outside world are carried out through the mediation of tools and / or practices (Lee, 2015) • Tools/practices can be material or artifacts (ICT, learning sequence…) • The transformation of the world is the ultimate goal of the activity, not a simple contemplation of it.
  9. 9. What do we understand by Activity Theory? • 2 main lines (Lee, 2015): 1. CULTURAL-HISTORICAL APROXIMATION (CHAT) • Scandivanvian interpretation (marxist view of the roles of the individuals and the society) • Goal: Development of a practical method of intervention to redesign the working conditions of organizations • The activity is located in a certain social, cultural and historical context that intervenes indirectly • Main authors: Yrjö Engeström i Michael Cole 2. SYSTEMIC –STRUCTURAL APROXIMATION (SSAT) • Anglo-Saxon interpretation (non-marxist view) • Goal: To develop a method to study the human psychology during the daily activity (mostly centered in the interactions between human and computers). • Less popular
  10. 10. Tool: (machinery, chemicals, ICT) Object: Goal of the activity (learning, managing the classroom…) Subject: Main actor of the action  Attributes: Beliefs, knowledge… Rules: External or internal regulations mediating the relationship between the subject and the community Division of labor: roles of the different actors in the activity, mediating the relationship between the community and the object Community: those involved in various aspects of the activity (other teachers, students…); macro & micro level Result: The activity observed From the Activity Theory perspective, the activity is characterised by different elements that interact with each other. Those elements are based on the interpretation of the Leont’ev (1978) theories of the activity. Engeström (1999) added 3 new elements to emphasize the socio-cultural perspective
  11. 11. Tool Object Subject Rules Division of labor Community Results The triangle of the activity aims to highlight the dialectical nature between the different elements of the system of the activity. • The elements are mutually influenced by each other • Characterising the activity not only understand the description of the elements that make up the activity, but also the relationships that are established between these elements We speak about tensions or contradictions between 2 elements of the system of the activity or in the same element when the relationship between these elements results in a resistance to achieve the object of the activity. Tensions/ contradictions, are indicative of possible crises and can be sources of change/ evolution of the system of the activity If the If the contradiction generated in the system of activity evolves towards the construction and adoption of a new object of the activity or the creation of new relationships between the elements of the system of the activity (Reconceptualization), it is considered that the subject has learnt. In terms of TA, it is said that the contradiction has been expansive and that the system of activity has evolved (and that learning has been expansive).
  12. 12. How the Activity Theory has been used in the literature?
  13. 13. How the Activity Theory is used in the literature...
  14. 14. Let’s analyse some papers...
  15. 15. Let’s analyse some papers... - How has the Activity Theory been applied? - From which methodological approach? - What is the subject, object, tool... - Other methodological tools? - Type of findings the authors have found - Potentials and limitations of the methodology (from your perspective) - Similarities and differences with your researches/ applicability Tool Object Subject Rules Division of labor Community Results
  16. 16. How the Activity Theory is used in the literature?
  17. 17. How the Activity Theory is used in the literature? • From a qualitative perspective, but for different research goals • Combining of different instruments of measure (being the interviews the most relevant ones) • Activity Theory does not say how to conduct “good” interviews of observations, but how to analyse data gathered. • We need to complement the design of data gathering with other methodological references. • Important role of the researcher in the interpretation of the activity • And the subject too!
  18. 18. First steps using the Activity Theory
  19. 19. Let’s practice! (first steps using Activity Theory) PHASE 1 (2012-2013) Observations + Interviews (n=10) PHASE 2 (2014-2015) Observations + Interviews (n=6) https://goo.gl/nwUzdY Dimensions considered Observations Didactical purpose (Science competences, OECD) Cognitive demands in interactions Student - teachers Technical abilites Information management with IWB Interviews Teachers’ beliefs Types of training
  20. 20. Let’s practice! (first steps using Activity Theory) • 3 profiles (teacher portraits) Maria Marc Joana https://goo.gl/fDKgKGhttps://goo.gl/4tjM9zhttps://goo.gl/qxuyyM
  21. 21. Let’s practice! (first steps using Activity Theory) • Step 1: Identify the elements of the Activity System Tool ObjectSubject Rules Division of laborCommunity Results
  22. 22. Let’s practice! (first steps using Activity Theory) • Step 2: Are there any contradictions between these elements? • What makes you think this? (evidences...) Tool ObjectSubject Rules Division of laborCommunity Results
  23. 23. • Share what you have found: • Which are the elements of the Activity System? • Are there any contradictions between them? • Are the same contradictions for everyone? • Which difficulties in this analysis have you faced? • Which advantages of the analysis have you find? Let’s practice! (first steps using Activity Theory)
  24. 24. • To which extent your analysis is… • Reliable? • If I analyse those cases, would I find the same? What would we need to do? • … • Valid? • Do you think this analysis helps us to capture what is happening in the classroom? What we are leaving out? • To which extent this can be applied to other researches? Let’s practice! (first steps using Activity Theory)
  25. 25. Maria i Marc Joana Let’s practice! (first steps using Activity Theory)
  26. 26. Activity Theory as a way to look at a changing world
  27. 27. Activity Theory as a way to look at a changing world Process of negotiation Questioning the existing Standard practice (subject level) Analyse the practice (implication of the community)
  28. 28. Activity Theory as a way to look at a changing world Challenges on the Activity Theory Tool ObjectSubject Rules Division of labor Community Result Activity Theory can be used at many different levels (macro, micro, meso…) but it is aimed to understand all the levels at a whole (they are influenced by each other) • It is very difficult to represent/take into account all influences of rules/community/division of labour, and you usually highlight the most relevant ones. The triangle has some difficulties and can lead to misunderstandings: • Tends to emphasize the synchronous aspects of the activity (those happening simultaneously) instead of considering diachronic aspects (those aspects of the activity happening at different times, or at different places ICT…). • It is difficult to represent all the relationships between a part and the whole, and usually we focus on an element (Lee, 2015)
  29. 29. • The use of Activity Theory is an efficient tool for systematising the analysis of what is happening in the classroom • Since we do such an in-depth analysis, the use of the AT can help to set specific training for each subject (or subject profiles) by using contradictions as a “mediating tool” • Identification of contradictions is done from a particular educational paradigm. • It can happen that contradictions identified by a researcher do not match with contradictions identified by the own subject. • The researcher & community are is expected to negotiate the contradictions and agree with a common educational paradigm. • Beliefs of the subject can be changed from this interaction Activity Theory as a way to look at a changing world
  30. 30. 1. It can be useful to understand the mediating role of ICT in teaching and learning 2. It can be useful to make visible structure, processes, relationships, configurations… that are hidden usually • This forces the subject/researcher/community… to evidence the relationships between the different elements of the Activity System • It can be very useful if we want to introduce a gender perspective, or make a more inclusive activity Potentialities of AT for educational research
  31. 31. 3. It can be helpful to investigate big problems implying big systems of the activity, or to investigate the interaction of different systems of the activity simultaneously (cross-system analysis) • In general, the AT is used to focus on one System of the Activity, but we can make a “zoom in” or “zoom out” in our analysis • Puritan version? • It can be interesting to study which interactions occur in System of Activity sharing one element  Using ICT in class to connect to the “outside world”? Different identities? 4. It can be helpful to make teachers reflect about their own teaching practices and empower them • Communities of practice… • Think about the change within a historical & cultural perspective Potentialities of AT for educational research
  32. 32. 5. To generate structures and collaborations that foster educational change • Co-teaching, co-creative dialogues… Potentialities for educational research
  33. 33. References • Blin, F., & Munro, M. (2008). Why hasn’t technology disrupted academics’ teaching practices? Understanding resistance to change through the lens of activity theory. Computers and Education, 50, 475– 490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2007.09.017 • Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive Learning at Work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080020028747 • Engeström, Y., Miettinen, R., & Punamäki, R.-L. (Eds.). (1999). Perspectives on Activity Theory. • Gregorcic, B., Etkina, E., & Planinsic, G. (2017). A New Way of Using the Interactive Whiteboard in a High School Physics Classroom: A Case Study. Research in Science Education. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-016- 9576-0 • Hu, L., & Webb, M. (2009). Integrating ICT to higher education in China: From the perspective of Activity Theory. Education and Information Technologies, 14, 143–161. • Jarzabkowski, P. (2003). Strategic Practices: An Activity Theory. Journal of Management Studies, 40(January), 23–55. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6486.t01-1-00003 • Karasavvidis, I. (2009). Activity Theory as a conceptual framework for understanding teacher approaches to Information and Communication Technologies. Computers & Education, 53(2), 436–444. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.03.003 • Mama, M. (2011). Exploring Primary Teachers Beliefs And Practices With Technology in Cyrpus. University of Cambridge. • Lee, Y.-J. (2015). A. In R. Gunstone (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Science Education (pp. 1–115). Springer Netherlands. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0 • Somekh, B., & Lewin, C. (Eds.). (2005). Research Methods in the Social Sciences. London: SAGE Publications.

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