Databite No. 76: Neil Selwyn

Neil Selwyn presents (Dis)Connected Learning: the messy realities of digital schooling: In this Databite, Neil Selwyn will work through some emerging headline findings from a new three-year study of digital technology use in Australian high schools. Neil will highlight the ways in which schools’ actual uses of technology often contradict presumptions of ‘connected learning’, ‘digital education’ and the like. Instead Neil will consider:

  • how and why recent innovations such as maker culture, personalised learning and data-driven education are subsumed within more restrictive institutional ‘logics’;
  • the tensions of ‘bring your own device’ and other permissive digital learning practices
  • how alternative and resistant forms of technology use by students tend to mitigate *against* educational engagement and/or learning gains;
  • the ways in which digital technologies enhance (rather than disrupt) existing forms of advantage and privilege amongst groups of students;
  • how the distributed nature of technology leadership and innovation throughout schools tends to restrict widespread institutional change and reform;
  • the ambiguous role that digital technologies play in teachers’ work and the labour of teaching;
  • the often-surprising ways that technology seems to take hold throughout schools – echoing broader imperatives of accountability, surveillance and control. The talk will provide plenty of scope to consider how technology use in schools might be ‘otherwise’, and alternate agendas to be pursued by educators, policymakers, technology developers and other stakeholders in the ed-tech space.

A student guide to Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL)

Enquiry-based Learning (EBL) is an active kind of learning being implemented in higher education institutions across the U.K. and world-wide. It is being used across university courses, in myriad subjects as diverse as Medicine, Geography, English and Engineering. EBL gives students the opportunity to take control of their own learning, and get what they want and need from their university education.

This basic guide to EBL has been written by a student for students. In order to produce this guide, students have been consulted about EBL as they have experienced it, and used it as a tool for learning. The product of these discussions is this guide. In an attempt to make this a useful resource across the disciplines, all the hints, tips, problems and discussions have come from real life student EBL experiences. It’s here for you, to help you on your yellow brick road to practising good EBL. In here, you’ll find basic information, hints and tips, questions and answers, quotations and opinions from students about EBL (Whowell, 2006).

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Belief Systems and Mental Sets

A belief system is a network of proposition comprised of what we consider to be true or factual about reality. Each of us has a vast network of belief systems that act as a scaffold to help us make sense of the world around us. As we encounter new data we use this network to perceive, interpret, analyze, and organize this data. Our belief systems also act as filters to eliminate data that does not correlated with our existing constructs. In this sense, our beliefs can limit thinking and learning (Harman and Rheingold, 1984). Below are described three different levels of belief systems, each successively harder to access and more resistant to change (Sisk and Torrance, 2001). (Johnson, 2011).

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Reflective Practice

Wherever I go there I am: reflections on reflexivity and the research stance

Insider/outsider research has received considerable attention often with in-depth consideration of how such positioning affects both researcher and research. This study is intended to engage with these issues from the perspective of a new researcher seeking to understand more intimately the ways in which research position informs subsequent insights.
Thus, the article explores the researcher’s own experiences of insider/outsider research and, in the course of this, challenges the notion of absolute insider- or outsiderness. Furthermore, the work also looks to expand upon the suggestion raised by Hellawell (2006) with regard to the potential of such analysis for enhancing researcher reflexivity. Becoming a skilled researcher and understanding the link between position and derived insights is only accomplished through action and reflection (experience). Thus, the writer explores the application of a range of tools which continue to deepen her appreciation of the complexities of insider/outsider research and thereby enhance her reflexivity. This enhanced selfawareness has been reciprocal in nature, i.e., in seeking to understand the meaning structures of others the researcher has become more aware of the nuanced nature of research in terms of her own values, beliefs and identity construction and the influence upon her practice. The writer suggests that the tools and insights derived from her research journey may prove of use to the neophyte researcher in terms of practical suggestions for developing self-awareness and
enriching their learning process (Le Gallais1Tricia Le Gallais (2008) Wherever I go there I am: reflections on reflexivity and the research stance, Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 9(2), pp. 145-155., 2008).

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References   [ + ]

1. Tricia Le Gallais (2008) Wherever I go there I am: reflections on reflexivity and the research stance, Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 9(2), pp. 145-155.

Learning across contexts

Learner-led and boundary free: learning across contexts

The contributing authors 1King, H. Kersh, N. Potter, J. & Pitts, S. (2015) ‘Learner-led and boundary free: Learning across contexts’ in Hohenstein, J. & King, H. (Eds) Learning Beyond the Classroom. British Journal of Educational Psychology. Monograph Series: Psychological aspects of education, June, 2015, no. 11, pp. 39-50. seek to extend our thinking about the nature of learning across settings. All emphasise the role played by the individual in shaping learning and consider the importance of agency in sustaining motivation for learning beyond structured settings (King et al., 2015).

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References   [ + ]

1. King, H. Kersh, N. Potter, J. & Pitts, S. (2015) ‘Learner-led and boundary free: Learning across contexts’ in Hohenstein, J. & King, H. (Eds) Learning Beyond the Classroom. British Journal of Educational Psychology. Monograph Series: Psychological aspects of education, June, 2015, no. 11, pp. 39-50.

CH@NGE

The Internet and Education

In many ways, it is difficult to discuss any aspect of contemporary society without considering the Internet. Many people’s lives are saturated so thoroughly with digital technology that the once obvious distinction between either being online or offline now fails to do justice to a situation where the Internet is implicitly always on. Indeed, it is often observed that younger generations are unable to talk about the Internet as a discrete entity.
Instead, online practices have been part of young people’s lives since birth and, much like oxygen, water, or electricity, are assumed to be a basic condition of modern life. As Donald Tapscott (2009, 20) put it, “to them, technology is like the air.” Thus, in many ways, talking about the Internet and education simply means talking about contemporary education. The Internet is already an integral element of education in (over)developed nations, and we can be certain that its worldwide educational significance will continue to increase throughout this decade (Selwyn, 2014).

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From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able

TEDxKC talk synopsis, by Michael Wesch, “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able”: Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. Yet these developments are not without disruption and peril. Familiar long-standing institutions, organizations and traditions disappear or transform beyond recognition. And while new media bring with them new possibilities for openness, transparency, engagement and participation, they also bring new possibilities for surveillance, manipulation, distraction and control. Critical thinking, the old mainstay of higher education, is no longer enough to prepare our youth for this world. We must create learning environments that inspire a way of being-in-the-world in which they can harness and leverage this new media environment as well as recognize and actively examine, question and even re-create the (increasingly digital) structures that shape our world (Published on Oct 12, 2010).