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one more tool


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Presentation at Networked Learning Conference 2010 in Aarlborg, Denmark

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one more tool

  1. 1. One more tool -  or exploring the practice of  introducing new technologies in dispersed communities Patricia Arnold, University of Applied Sciences Munich, Germany John David Smith, Learning Alliances, Portland, USA Beverly Trayner, Independent, Grass Valley, USA  
  2. 2. Our Context <ul><ul><li>this research is part of an ongoing collaboration in facilitating learning communities with technologies and reflecting on this practice (cf. Arnold, Smith, Trayner 2006, 2007)   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>we work with learning communities in diverse settings (professional networks, higher education, corporate sector) and in different roles (facilitator, lecturer, technology steward, convenor) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>we share a conceptual background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lave & Wenger 1991, Wenger (1998) Communities of Practice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wenger, White and Smith (2009) Digital Habitats </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ellis (2004) Autoethnographic I </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>background many cases, 2 cases analyzed in depth, one presented here </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Our Challenge/ Our Question <ul><li>What are the implications of (just) „one more tool“ in communities, given a proliferation of easy-to-use and free tools? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the design considerations when introducing “one more tool”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the “one more tool” interact with the community’s learning agenda ( domain ), the relationships between members ( community ) and the practical engagement ( practice )? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Cases <ul><li>Global community of practice in the public health arena: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>established repertoire of community tools: e-mail, phone and regional face-to-face meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one more tool: video recordings to add physically absent people to face-to-face meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community of distance learners in higher education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>established repertoire of community tools: forum, chat, file management in a standard commercial learning management system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one more tool: a newly developped, spezialized platform for supporting peer-to-peer councelling („intervision“) ( </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Walking the talk - bringing in different voices …
  6. 6. Global Public Health CoP Rubrics inspired by Kohls 2009 Case A One more tool - video recordings Context International group, in addition to e-mail & Phone F2F-meetings, larger F2F meeting is scheduled Design Challenge Time-pressed professionals, no straightforward access to Internet, trust is important issue, sometimes difficult diplomatic relations Added Value Extend event beyond „same place, same time”, more people can actively participate, facilitator handle the technology Potential Pitfalls Poor image quality with free tools, issues of privacy, time-consuming editing of video Forces at Work (behind the scenes) Rhetoric openness to new tools but de facto resistance to initial time investment to adopt the tool
  7. 7. Our method <ul><li>Research method: between action research & autoethnography (for details cf. Arnold, Smith & Trayer 2006 and 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Data: extensive notes from joint planning sessions, individual participant observatory as well as artifacts from the communities involved </li></ul>
  8. 8. „ one more tool“ impacts practice <ul><li>Opening up f2f event, bringing new voices to the table, established routines are changed </li></ul><ul><li>Recorded conversations persist longer than f2f conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Recordings are community artifacts, new skills and leadership roles in community needed </li></ul><ul><li>Issues around privacy come into focus: storage, access, etc . </li></ul>
  9. 9. „ one more tool“ impacts community <ul><li>Involving members who cannot be present -> can change power constellation </li></ul><ul><li>Integrating potentially controversial voices into the community discourse </li></ul><ul><li>Informal conversations can reduce the barrier of formality for deepening conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Nurturing horizontal accountability to fellow-practitioners </li></ul>
  10. 10. „ one more tool“ impacts domain <ul><li>Additional voices will change the framing of the issues at stake, intensify the negotiation process </li></ul><ul><li>video recordings require many decisions that influence the shaping of the domain (who to interview, which questions to ask, what editing, if any, etc.) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Findings „One more tool“ interacts with the entire community Practice Community Domain Case A Language, concepts and tools Membership, relationship, history Shared concern or inquiry Recorded conversation Different communication patterns (archiving conversations) Triggers questions of expanding tool repertoire (storage of videos) Changes whose voice is heard and whose is not Contests boundaries of community Influences power politics within community Extends domain issues Intensifies domain negotiation as previously marginal voices come into focus
  12. 12. Conclusions <ul><li>A new tool or technology in a dispersed community has far greater implications than usually dealt with </li></ul><ul><li>For a more comprehensive assessment of a new tool the implication on practice, domain and community have to be reflected carefully: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the tool influence who is in/ who is out in a community? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the tool influence the boundaries? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the tool influence the power structure? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A focus on features and affordances and a well designed introduction process are not sufficient </li></ul><ul><li>The role of technology steward changes from technology advocate to convenor of new and diverse combinations of voices in a community </li></ul>
  13. 13. Thank your for your attention… <ul><li>… the floor is open for discussion! </li></ul>