“As adults, we are experts in transformation since we are ourselves in constant transformation, undergoing development. From birth to death, we are consistently transforming ourselves while remaining the same and becoming “ourselves” at the same time. This is a fruit of the negativity that inheres our existence as finite beings. In fact, the movement we are engaged in as humans is that of always again overcoming ourselves, and herein lies the infinity we would in vain seek outside of this movement (p.5).”
Laske, O. (2009). Change and crisis in dialectical thinking: on the need to think again when getting involved with change. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://www.interdevelopmentals.org/httpdocs/pubs/OLaske-Change-Crisis.pdf
“… any serious account of education and technology needs to resist the assumption that any digital technology has the ability to change things for the better. While appealing to those people who want to construct ‘bounded’ scientific explanations and models, the dangers of these ways of thinking about the use of technology lie primarily in the simplistic conclusions that the y lead towards. In particular, this way of thinking usually reaches conclusions that recommend the overcoming of ‘barriers’ or impediments within the immediate educational context, so that the inherent beneficial effects of technology may be more fully felt. This logic is illustrated in the frequent ‘blaming’ of individual educators or educational institutions for the failure of digital technologies to be used ‘effectively’. Indeed, current discussions and debates about the use of digital technology in educational settings often continue to follow a decidedly externalist logic, ‘treating new technologies as autonomous forces that compel society to change’ (Nye 2007, p.27) … “(p.36-37)
Selwyn, N. (2013). Education in a digital world: Global perspectives on technology and education. New York: Routledge.
Keynote at Winter School “Assistive Thinking: The entanglement of technology and human epistemological practices”
In early March I will attend a Research Winter School at the University of Kiel titled “Assistive Thinking: The entanglement of technology and human epistemological practices”. The event is organised by Heidrun Allert, Sabine Reisas and their colleagues at the Department of Media Education/Educational Computer Sciences.
I won’t be traveling there alone. My CERColl collaborator Emanuele Bardone will give a keynote on the topic of “Chance-seeking as a way of making sense in the time of technological entanglement“.
My own keynote presentation focuses on “Systemic intervention as epistemological practice”. Here is the abstract for what I plan to talk about:
Certain strands of educational research and development are increasingly embracing methods that have originated in various areas of design practice. While this newly found interest in the design and creation of (predominantly digital) artefacts has certainly widened the overall scope of educational research practice, it is also strengthening the domination of the “natural science-engineering model” and its rationale in education. However, maintaining the traditional boundaries between applied science (as practice of research) and practice (as a field of application of the products of research) is highly problematic in areas of human service (educational practice, therapy, medical practice, social work, and so forth) in general, and under the conditions of the unfolding digital transformation in particular.
Instead, what seems to be called for are approaches that explicitly incorporate the notion of intentional change into an overall system of inquiry. As soon as educational research practice becomes action and intervention oriented (German: handlungsorientiert), however, it begins to import teleologic principles and patterns of reasoning. This raises (or rather emphasises) value-rational questions and corresponding methodological issues that are purposefully ignored within a conception of educational research that follows the ideal of instrumental-rationality and methodic detachment from practice.
I would like to argue that the notion of “systemic intervention” provides an alternative – and viable – point of departure for reconceptualising epistemological practice in educational research in times of profound socio-technological changes.
The technocratic paradigm of education that has come to be formed also transforms strategies of self-education, giving them an explicitly expressed pragmatic orientation. The social role of self-education changes, and the resulting level of education is now linked directly to self-realization in labor, to the practical application of knowledge in the professional sphere. It is in this period that professional self-education comes to be formed as a separate kind of activity.
The development of science and education in an industrial society leads to the increasing complexity of knowledge and the ways and means by which it is transmitted. The emergence of the technoenvironment imposes new demands on self-education activity, constituting an indicator of the individual’s mastery of advanced technologies and the optimality of his involvement in the information space.
Society is in need of new models of knowledgeability, requiring self-education activity of a clearly explicit technocentric type, which, as time goes on, takes the place of the culturocentric self-education technologies of antiquity.
The technocentric orientation of self-education came into being in response to society’s need to develop production, science, and technology; it is linked to the formation of the information space as a separate sphere and entails the individual’s inclusion in the technogenic environment, at the expense of his development as an individual, his sociocultural identity, and the character of his interactions with the social environment.
But at the same time the technocentric model of self-education is a means by which the individual can adapt to the dynamics of the developing world; it answers his existential needs of survival and reproduces the type of personality who will be able to adapt himself to the new social conditions (p. 67).
Shuklina, E. A. (2001). Technologies of self-education. Russian Education and Society, 43(2), 57-78.
“So research as a kind of reflection on human activity can change its objects. But this can happen only when there is not only research, but also a project of changing the existing activity and generating a new one. This means that human beings who are the object of research, as a kind of reflection, accept the results of research and suggested modes of transforming the activity, make a new mediation of their activity, and so change it. If the results of research are unknown to human beings who are under investigation, or if they do not accept these results, or if a researcher cannot suggest any project for generating new activity, the object of research does not change” (p. 87).
Lektorsky, V. A. (2009). Mediation as a means of collective activity. In A. Sannino, H. Daniels & K. D. Gutierrez (Eds.), Learning and expanding with activity theory (pp. 75-87). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
“The critical situation specific to the internally complex and externally difficult lived world is crisis. A crisis is a turning- point in the individual’s life road. The life road itself, so far as it is completed and seen in retrospect, is the history of the individual’s life, and so far as it is as yet uncompleted and seen in phenomenological prospect, it is the intent of life, for which value provides inner unity and conceptual integrity. Intent as related to value is perceived, or rather felt, as vocation, and as related to the temporal and spatial conditions of existence, as the life-work. This work of life is translated into material terms as actual projects, plans, tasks and goals, achievement of which means giving embodiment to the life intent. When certain events make realisation of the life intent subjectively impossible, a crisis situation occurs.
The outcome of experiencing a crisis can take two forms. One is restoration of the life disrupted by the crisis, its rebirth’ the other is its transformation into a life essentially different: But in either case it is something like bringing one’s life to birth afresh, of building up a self, constructing a new self, i.e., creation, for what is creation but “bringing into existence” or building up?” (p. 139-140)
Vasilyuk, F. (1991). The psychology of experiencing: The resolution of life’s crititcal situations. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
PLE 2014 – the 5th International Conference on Personal Learning Environments – will take place in Tallinn, Estonia, from July 16th to 18th with a preceding “pacific” event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from June 25th to 27th.
The PLE Conference intends to create an engaging, conversational, and innovative meeting space for researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas, experiences, and research around PLE related themes.
The conference invites contributions in the format of “academic papers” or “alternative session proposals”. However, authors of both types of contributions will be asked to communicate their research and ideas within session formats that look to avoid the traditional 15 min presentation.
Beyond formal: emergent practices for living, learning and working
The 5th Edition of the PLE conference aims to move beyond discussions about definitions to explore emergent practices for living, learning and working in relation to PLEs and the new understandings and underlying needs that arise around these practices in our contemporary society. Delegates are invited to submit their ideas, research and/or practice under the topics listed below…
I have agreed to serve as the conference chair for the Tallinn venue of PLE 2014. The Kuala Lumpur venue is chaired by Dr. Sakina Baharom from the Centre for Learning Innovation and Excellence (CLIEx) at UNITAR International University.
We are looking forward to receiving your extended abstracts for “academic papers” and “alternative session proposals”. Have a look at the PLE 2014 Call for Papers for details on submission types and procedures.
Here is a quick overview of all important dates and deadlines:
17.03.2014: Deadline for extended abstract submission
01.05.2014: Author notification of acceptance of extended abstracts
16.06.2014: Submission of final papers & session descriptions
25.06.2014: Pre-conference activities
26.06.2014: Conference – Day 1
27.06.2014: Conference – Day 2
Registration for Kuala Lumpur: to be announced
16.07.2014: Pre-conference activities
17.07.2014: Conference – Day 1
18.07.2014: Conference – Day 2
Registration for Tallinn: to be announced
Old town Tallinn, Estonia
Our text “Personal learning environments: A conceptual landscape revisited” (pdf) has just been published as part of eLearning Papers – Issue 35 Personal Learning Environments. The issue was edited by Ilona Buchem (Beuth University of Applied Sciences, Berlin) and Tapio Koskinen (Aalto University, Helsinki).
This paper reports on a renewed attempt to review and synthesise a substantial amount of research and development literature on Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) published in recent years. Earlier comprehensive review efforts (Buchem, Attwell, & Torres, 2011; Fiedler & Väljataga, 2011) had attested considerable conceptual differences within the research community. If and how these differences have qualitatively changed since 2010, is the focus of an ongoing literature review project. While the project is still work in progress, some provisional findings and insights are reported and discussed.
Buchem, I., Attwell, G., & Torres, R. (2011), Understanding personal learning environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. PLE Conference 2011.
Fiedler, S.H.D., & Väljataga, T. (2013). Personal learning environments: A conceptual landscape revisited. eLearning Papers (35), 1-16.
Fiedler, S. H. D., & Väljataga, T. (2011). Personal learning environments: Concept or technology? International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 2(4), 1-11.