Universitat Rovira i Virgili
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. =)
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.
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: <http://naerjournal.ua.es/article/view/v4n2-2>.
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
I went to ITworldedu7 yesterday and today and it was such a pleasure to listen to people like Roger Blamire, Richard Gerver, Jordi Adell and Boris Mir. They gave us some food for thought that we will now have to “digest” and translate into real practices.
Something that all these people have said to us is that the tool is not the answer, technology won’t transform education. Educators will. There is actually no correlation between the presence of technology in schools and its use. We should be looking for pedagogies that personalize and produce authentic collaborative learning. The problem is that most of us have not been trained to think, but to give the right answer to questions. And it is often the case that we use that same model with the people we educate as parents or teachers. It is also true that there is now as much pressure as never before on teachers, who hardly survive their jobs. Not many really have the push to innovate.
There are more expectations on schools nowadays. In the past kids went to school to learn maths, language, history, science… Today most people expect schools to help kids be happy, develop self-confidence, resilience, choose a healthy diet, be respectful and, of course, digitally literate. It may well be that many teens are actually learning more out of schools than in schools. It is urgent to overcome a pedagogical tradition of knowledge delivery. In active learning approaches the teacher does not deliver knowledge, the learner constructs knowledge. What is more, teachers become learners too. Hard as it may sound for content lovers, it is note about what kids learn any more: it is about how they learn. It is possible (and arguable) that what they learn is virtually irrelevant…
We have to re-think the role of teachers and apply deeper learning approaches. But, wait a minute! It is not like you change one peace and the rest of the building stays untouched. That is precisely what many initiatives of tech introduction in education have tried to do: add technology as if it was an innocent ingredient. In education, if you add or remove something, I think, you have to rethink the entire process: roles, methodology, assessment… This is really a challenging job and here is the fun: we like it!
As Richard said, lets act as professionals: professionals do not stop at problems, they solve them. Thanks ITworldedu panel speakers and key notes for the inspiring ideas. It was a real pelasure listening to you!
This morning the first mail was of good news: a paper my colleague and friend Eliana had been working for a long time was finally accepted for publication. It is so cool to see the work you have done become public. Sharing is an important part of the job and a very important one if we are talking about improving our won teaching and teacher education too. I will leave you with the abstract and add the reference to my list of publishing as soon as it is available.
Early childhood student teachers’ observation and experimentation of creative practices as a design processes.
Janaina Minelli de Oliveira, Eliana E. Gallardo-Echenique
Accepted for publication =)
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 in the identification of creative practices and in the analysis of 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 a triangulation of individual interviews, focus group discussions and 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.