19 SES 06, Ethnographies of Educational Policies and Social Change
In this paper, we present some of the results of the R&D Project called "Ecologies of learning in multiple contexts: analysis of expanded education projects and citizenship configurations" funded by Minister of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain).
The interest of this project arises after considering that much of the individual and organizational learnings have been turning invisible in different educational spaces. Therefore, our purpose is to study the different socio-educational mechanisms that individuals and organizations put into play in different scenarios: schools, asociations, virtual academical contexts, etc.
On this ocassion, we present some of the methodological issues and results of a specific case: "La Universidad Rural Paulo Freire de la Serranía de Ronda" (onwards URPF), a rural socio-educative organization. The ethnography is being developed in Benalauría (Ronda mountain range). This organization is focused in the recovery of traditional learnings that people used to have around the rural world. It is settled in a critical perspective that connects their educational actions under the approaches of sustainability, dignity, feminism, etc.
The general objectives we consider for this project are the following:
- To know life style of people in Benalauría context.
- To understand the configuration of URPF group and its impact in the territory.
- To promote learning communities of practice with other organizations.
As specific objectives, we emphasize:
- To review the conceptual frameworks those allow us to understand the practices of invisible learning in this experience.
- To generate visual narratives those evidence the work and identity features of the URPF.
- To Analyse the life stories of the people who are part of this experience (as well as the collective story), for the understanding of socio-educational action in rural contexts through dialogue of knowledge, generation of democratic practices and collaborative participation.
- To generate spaces for dialogue with other organizations, groups and people for the creation of networks and learning communities.
The beginning of the ecological metaphor started with the intention of a new paradigm of understanding knowledge. The first findings were about plant and animal ecology (Burgues, 1920), later on political ecology (Club de Roma, 1972), which went to human ecology and to urban ecology (Nicolas, 2004). This metaphor was also crossed with the ecosystems approach. Consequently, the concept is extended to characteristics of adaptation, evolution, and self-organization of communities with common interests (Martínez-Rodríguez, 2015).
Initially, the ecology of learning is considered in formal educational contexts in order to generate a structure that exceeds the transmission of unique knowledge. In this paradigmatic transition, the ideas of Ecology of education (Cobo and Moravec, 2011) and Ecology of knowledge (Sousa Santos, 2010) begin to coalesce. "No medium acquires its meaning or existence alone, but only in constant interaction with other meanings" (McLuhan, 1964: 43).
In this point, the concept of learning ecologies emerges from two theories of learning: constructivism and connectivism. It also manages to integrate and extend elements beyond teaching and learning models. It allows the consideration of knowledge in the service of the construction, adaptation and self-sufficiency of the subject in a context of real educative action. For this reason, formal contexts are not the only focus of this perspective.
Finally, for the case that we are dealing with, it is necessary to refer to the concept of Ecology as learning communities that is an analysis of social networks as a community (Siemens, 2003). That makes sense in the actions carried out by the URPF, the nuclear agent of our ethnography.
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