ERG SES G15, ICT and Education
In recent years, there has been growing interest in new practices of creating and sharing digital goods within the social web (e.g. Jenkins 2009, Sützl et al. 2012). With regard to these practices some authors emphasize the great opportunities the social web offers for education, especially for (knowledge) sharing beyond the classroom (Guth and Petrucco 2009) and for facilitation of active participation (Owen et al. 2006, Ulrich et al. 2008). Other researchers already discuss the possibilities and challenges of a new participatory culture (Jenkins 2009) or respectively a participatory media culture (Biermann et al. 2014). However, as Grell and Rau (2011) pointed out, the implementation of social web tools within higher education courses does not automatically lead to actively participating students.
Although many recent studies have focussed on different aspects of participation in the context of education and digital media, comparatively little effort has been paid to clarify the different understandings of the term itself and the implications for educational institutions. For instance, Vonderwell & Zachariah (2005) as well as Hrastinski (2009) emphasises a definition of participation with a close focus on learning. Vonderwell & Zachariah (2005) define participation as „taking part and joining in a dialogue for engaged and active learning” (p. 214). Hrastinski (2009) propose the definition of online learner participation “as process of learning by taking part and maintaining relations with others. It is a complex process comprising doing, communicating, thinking, feeling and belonging, which occurs both online and offline” (p. 80). According to Hrastinski (2009) a central challenge for educational institutions is: “If we want to enhance online learning, we need to enhance online learner participation” (p. 81). In this meaning, the only purpose of participation is to improve learning. However, the tension between the participatory character of the social web and the general conditions of institutional education (e.g. Bonk et al. 2009, Grell and Rau 2011) appear to be neglected. Furthermore the lack of participation within courses using blogs or wikis (e.g. Ebner & Maurer 2009, Meyer 2010, Safran 2008) has hardly been discussed theoretically. From another perspective Henry Jenkins (2009) uses the term participation as a broad term “that cuts across educational practices, creative processes, community life, and democratic citizenship“ (p. 10). He argues that a „participatory culture is reworking the rules by which school, cultural expression, civic life, and work operate“ (p. 9). According to Jenkins (2009) a current key challenge is “to encourage youth to develop the skills, knowledge, ethical frameworks, and self-confidence needed to be full participants in contemporary culture“ (p. 10). In this sense, being part of a participatory culture respectively participation becomes a goal of education itself. Moreover traditional understandings of the term participation appear to be much more linked with civic and political engagement (e.g. Arnstein 1969, Habermas 1992).
Taking this variety of perspectives into account the aim of this paper - as part of a doctoral thesis - is to identify and critically discuss current conceptions of “participation” in the context of educational institutions and the social web or respectively digital media in general. This clarification and conceptualization seems necessary as a preparatory work for a planned empirical study, especially to clarify what is empirically examinable. To address this aim a literature review was performed.
Arnstein, S. R. (1969). A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planers. Volume 4, 216-224. Biermann, R.; Fromme, J., and Verständig, D. (2014). Partizipative Medienkulturen. Positionen und Untersuchungen zu veränderten Formen öffentlicher Teilhabe. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Bonk, C. J, Lee, M. M., Kim, N., and Lin, M.-F. G. (2009). The tensions of transformation in three cross-institutional wikibook projects. The Internet and Higher Education, 12(3-4), 126-135. Ebner M., & Maurer H. (2009). Can Weblogs and Microblogs Change Traditional Scientific Writing?. Future Internet. 1(1), 47- 58 Grell, P., and Rau, F. (2011): Partizipationslücken. Social Software in der Hochschullehre. Medienpädagogik. Vol 21, 1–23. Guth, S.; Petrucco, C. (2009): Social Software and Language Acquisition. In: Handbook of Research on E-Learning Methodologies for Language Acquisition . New York: InformatIon Science Reference, 424–442 Habermas, J. (1992). Faktizität und Geltung. Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Hrastinski, S. (2009): A theory of online learning as online participation. Computers & Education 52, 78–82 Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture. Media Education for the 21st Century. From John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning Cambridge: The MIT Press. Lenzen, D. (2013). Hochschule der Zukunft: Zwischen atlantischer, europäischer und konfuzianischer Tradition. Keynote at Campus Innovation 2013. Lincoln, Y.S. and Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. Meyer, K.A. (2010) A comparison of Web 2.0 tools in a doctoral course. The Internet and Higher Education 13.1: 226–232 Owen, M.; Grant, L; Sayers, S.; Facer, K. (2006): Opening Education: Social software and learning. Bristol: Futurelab Safran, C. (2008). Blogging in higher education programming lectures: an empirical study. In Proceedings of the 12th international Conference on Entertainment and Media in the Ubiquitous. New York, NY: ACM, 131-135. Sützl, W.; Stalder, F.; Maier, R.; Hug, T. (2012). MEDIA, KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATION: Cultures and Ethics of Sharing. Innsbruck: Innsbruck university press. Ullrich, C; Borau, K.; Luo, H.; Tan, X.; Shen, L.; Shen, R. (2009): Why web 2.0 is good for learning and for research: principles and prototypes. Proceeding of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web. New York: ACM, 705–714 Vonderwell, S., & Zachariah, S. (2005). Factors that influence participation in online learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(2), 213–230.
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