Not something out there

The Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology of URV has now a new space of intelectual inquiry: the study circle Education, Discourse and Society – EDiS.

We had our first work session on the 25/05 receiving Teun van Dijk. Teun used a rather informal and conversational tone to share decades of knowledge and experience in the field of linguistics. Although he is one of the very founders of Discourse Analysis, he told us he prefers to call it Discourse Studies, to avoid misconceptions like considering Discourse Analysis as a methodology that can be applied in the field of Education or Anthropology, for example. Discourse Analysis or Discourse Studies, if you may, Teun told us, is a field of research on it own. It is transdisciplinary because it is in constant dialogue with many other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, but it has its own contribution to make, its own methods and theoretical background.


Teun explained how Discourse Studies evolved as a need researchers felt to move beyond a Linguistics of text or sentences and approach the level of discourse and the discursive practices associated to it. In his own approach, Teun also brought insights from Psychology to understand how the notion of cognition is related to discourse. This is how he came to define the context and situations in which discourse is created, negotiated and enacted as a mental representation discourse participants hold of what is going on. In this sense, Teun argues, the context is not something out there, something that is happening and can be objectively described. Instead, each participant will have his or her own mental representation of context.


Many questions arise from our discussion with Teun van Dijk. Analyzing textbooks and the curriculum so that we ensure social equity and respect to cultural diversity is definitely a beginning, but there is more. In the field of education we intervene. So how do we design educational interventions taking into account that both the teachers and the students have different mental representations of what is going on? How do we help overcome stereotypical or sexist mental representations? How are we to change them any way if we do not fully understand how mental representations are created after all?

Food for thought, my friends. Welcome to the club =)


May 30, 2017 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

Getting ready for KAME

I was awarded a travell expenses to present my paper “Race: insanity Intertextual discursive practices challenging race and ethnicity in the digital age” at the KAME international conference, in Seoul, South Korea.

KAME stands for the Korean Association for Multicultural Education. I’m so exited about it and hoping I can make contacts that will lead to the development of projects in field of multiculturalism. Actually I have just received the announcement for the 6th International Conference “Multicultural discourses”, which will be held in Tilburg, the Netherlands, in October 2018. That means we have plenty of time to start an international collaboration group.

I really enjoyed writing “Race: Insanity”, but now its as if I had to do something more serious. I feel like contributing to overcome inequalities and build a world cultural and ethnically diverse through research. This is definitely something that matches my personal goal. If my point of view, from Discourse Analysis can make something there,  I will be the happiest researcher in the world =)

Than Seoul, here I go. I will let you know the updates on my asian adventure.



May 10, 2017 at 6:21 am Leave a comment

Cercle d’Estudis “Educació, Discurs i Societat” – URV

Benvolguts i benvolgudes,
Des del Departament de Pedagogia us convidem a la sessió inaugural del Cercle d’Estudis “Educació, Discurs i Societat” que tindrà lloc a la Facultat de Ciències de l’Educació i Psicologia de la Universitat Rovira i Virgili el dia 25/05 de 11:00 a les 12:30.
En aquesta oportunitat, a més de compartir els objetius del cercle d’estudis, comptarem amb la presència del doctor Teun Van Dijk, actualment professor de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra, que ens farà la conferència “Educació, discurs i societat”.
El professor van Dijk és un referent internacional en l’Anàlisi del Discurs, editor de dues revistes JCR y autor d’innumerables llibres i articles d’investigació.
L’activitat és gratuïta, oberta a professors i alumnes de grau i doctorat, però cal fer inscripció a través del correu fins el 15/05 perquè puguem preveure l’espai més adequat a la Facultat per realitzar aquesta primera sessió de treball.
Us preguem feu màxima difusió entre docents, investigadors i alumnat de la URV i altres universitats.
Janaina Minelli de Oliveira .
Universitat Rovira i Virgili

April 3, 2017 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

Sometimes worth all times

What if we used technology to make our students research, think creatively and represent their learning in sharable semiotic resources?

Well, sometimes beautiful things happen than.

I asked my student teachers to chose among a list of concepts like germination, fertilization, boiling, mitosis, infection, blood circulation etc. I teach the subject “Communicative habilities” #hhccurv and we dedicate 3 ECT to multimodal literacy, guiding our students in the development of their own digital competency, but also asking them to think as educators and imagine what they would do in schools. They were supposed to work in groups to explore #digitalstorytelling. Each group should tell the story of that concept using stop motion as design technique and Wevideo as the editing tool. I wanted them to see digital story telling can go beyond traditional uses we first think of, like telling kids a story.

In general they all enjoyed the experience and made good jobs, but this one brought me to tears – Yes, I’m that kind of teacher 😉 They watered the seed of education with friendship, respect, solidarity, innovation, creativity, maturity, motivation, positivity, empathy, love, criticism and responsibility. I define myself as a person who is interested in people and things that can make this world a better place to live and to love. As I see this seed germinate, I feel “today was a good working day”. Just love my job, cause sometimes the unexpected blossoms. =)

November 8, 2016 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

Ethics, Social Semiotics and Creativity

During a seminar with @jordi_a at @argeturv , I interrupted his line of thought to say “Technology did not change the world; people did”. Don’t get me wrong, it was a quite informal conversation. Jordi was there telling us how he evolved over the last ten years from being someone who would try out any new piece of technology available in the market  into being someone who questions every single aspect of applying technology in education. Jordi has been a reference in the Spanish scenario of educational technology for a good while. To my eyes, his later version is so much more interesting the the first ones and so is what he does and says. The thing is that after my interruption, Jordi, very calmly, told me: “Oh, didn’t it? Maybe you should know that there are people out there who  ascribe some form of moral agency to technology.”, or something like that. I said, “What?”.


The “moral agency to technology” sounded like nuts for me. Before I gave the theme any consideration, my ideas about humans and technology were very clear: humans make and use technologies. Period. I understood technologies as meaning delivery artifacts, semiotic resources. But after reading “The moral status of technological artifacts”, edited by Peter Kroes and Peter-Paul Verbeek, I now think I did not quite understood what I myself was saying and writing. I had to go back to “Literacy in the new media age”, by Gunther Kress, to reorganize my thoughts. I’m not done yet ;), but here is what has emerged for the moment.

@ppverbeek argues intentionality, freedom, and agency – generally ascribed exclusively to humans – are in fact the result of intricate connections and interactions between human beings and technological artifacts. This is how material artifacts penetrate the realm of Ethics. Peter thinks it is necessary to “develop an alternative account of the relations between humans and technologies in ethical theory – an account that allows us to understand how moral practices are coproductions of humans and technologies, rather than exclusively human affairs in which technologies can only play instrumental or obstructive roles.” And there we go: artifacts have moral significance. Peter does not mean machines have agency themselves. Instead, he invites us to reconsider moral agency as a fundamentally hybrid affair. “The central idea is that technologies-in-use help to establish relations between human beings and their environment. In these relations, technologies are not merely silent ‘intermediaries’ but active ‘mediators’ that help to constitute the entities that have a relationship ‘through’ the technology.”

I am totally seduced by this argument. Actually, I am re-reading Social Semiotics with new glances now. It is like, \o/ How could I not see that? Gunther Kress says in many different moments that the affordances of technology give rise to the expression of social factors. He considers social conditions to enable that in first instance, but he reminds us “we also have to remain aware that technology as a tool has its shaping effect”. He goes on to say that “practices can only be understood when the potentials and limitations of tools with which one practices are understood”. Gunther defines his academic work as an intent of understanding how we as humans come to be who we are in our cultural and social environments. I would add, come to be who we are using the tools we have at our disposal, but I think that might only be redundant. What is implicit in Gunther’ interest statement is that we are not just humans. We come to be who we are. And we do so as we use tools. So using tools changes us as much as we change/create the tools we use – please excuse me if I am going too far, I get really exited thinking about this kind of things. This will take us inevitably to reconsider moral agency as a fundamentally hybrid affair, right?

And we can go further and think of learning. Learning in a world where meaning is mediated through an unprecedented variety of technology delivery artifacts needs to be reconsidered as much as moral agency. In “Advances in language and education”, Gunther says that “when you learn to represent, you learn a whole orientation to the world – certainly to the cultural wold, but maybe also as a means of semioticizing the natural world”. At least some technologies are means we use to semioticize the natural world. As humans, we change things, but we change too in the process. Do we change ourselves or do things we create change us? This is probably not relevant – or maybe it is -, but the point is that, as I had read one thousand times in Gunther Kress’ work, “the resources through which meaning is made are changed in the process of meaning making, but so is the inner disposition of those who have made that meaning inwardly in interpretation or outwardly in articulation”. This is precisely what takes me to creativity.

However, there is a paradox here. I can theoretically asume that even as we speak we are never only using a system. We are always to some extent creating, doing semiotic work. Semiotic work is always creative work, at least to some extent. The paradox is that when I ask my student teachers do create an education resource and tell them it can be of any theme, they can use any tool, it can be aimed at anyone… Most of their work is so plain: help kids identify the name of the colors, help kids develop habits like brushing their teeth.

Ok, I will leave it here. I’m becoming negative and i really don’t feel like after having been able to put down my thoughts on my new discovery in the filed of Ethics and my renewed way of looking at Social Semiotics. Thank you Jordi, Peter and Gunther. You chance the world with your semiotic work.

October 15, 2016 at 7:31 am Leave a comment

Something that really matters

I’m so happy about the publication of this paper! Sometimes you have the change to publish something that you really think that matters =)

Early Childhood Student Teachers’ Observation and Experimentation of Creative Practices as a Design Processes

In this paper, we address the guidance of student teachers in initial training in schools as an invaluable opportunity to raise creative learning awareness. The objective of this present research is to develop guidance strategies for guiding the identification of creative practices and for analyzing that moment as a “way of knowing”. We analyze how to mentor future teachers so they feel willing to promote student engagement and creative thinking through their own practices. We adopted a case study approach guided by multimodal principles. We found that triangulation of individual interviews, focus group discussions and a diary of class observation was a useful strategy in the guidance of student teachers in initial training in schools. Results show these strategies allowed them to become more accepting of unpredicted or undesired results, as they approached their sessions’ designs as forms of experimentation. We argue it is essential to guide future educators in the critical analysis of the “standard classroom”, helping them design creative alternatives through collaborative experimentation.

DE OLIVEIRA, J., GALLARDO-ECHENIQUE, E.. Early Childhood Student Teachers’ Observation and Experimentation of Creative Practices as a Design Processes. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, Alicante , 4, jul. 2015. Available at: <>.

July 15, 2015 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

Coming soon

Glad to share new paper accepted for publication =)

Gallardo-Echenique, E., de Oliveira, J. M. Marques, L., esteve, F. (2015 – in press). Digital Competence in the Knowledge Society.  Merlot journal of online learning and teaching. Accepted for publication

New Information and Communication Technologies such as the Internet, online gaming worlds, artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing require new literacies. In recent years, digital competence has become a key concept in discussions on the kind of skills and understanding learners need in the Knowledge Society. The concept has been interpreted in various ways (e.g. Digital Literacy, Digital Competence, eLiteracy, e-Skills, eCompetence, Computer literacy, and Media literacy) in policy documents, in the academic literature, and in teaching, learning and certification practices. In this paper we review the literature on digital competence and related terms. This review of 73 articles published between 1990 and 2014 shows that digital competence is a multi-faceted concept that has emerged from several backgrounds. Not yet a stable concept, there are still no clear guidelines for evaluating it. While some perceive digital competence as the technical use of ICT, others define it more broadly as knowledge application or 21st century skills.

Keywords: digital literacy, digital competence, multiliteracies, literature review, integrative review

March 10, 2015 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

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