02 SES 11 B, Technology and Simulations
Use of technological tools in schools has expanded in recent years; even though such tools have existed already decades. Digital technologies cover a wide variety of tools such as computers, robots, learning environments, digital media like blogs, wikis and social media. In this symposium, we will focus on uses of simulations and mobile phones in learning vocations. The aim of the symposium is to discuss and reflect on uses of these technological tools in both high-technology contexts like in the Scandinavian countries and in low-technology context like in Cuba.
In the case of VET, not only digital tools of learning are used, but also digital working tools and tasks are frequent. For example, use of mobile phones in home care increases communication with clients. The presenters reflect on how does the use of technological tools promote learning vocations and what kinds of challenges do exist with digitalization? Furthermore, we discuss how the use of technological tools changes practices of VET.
Hakkarainen (2009) pointed out how use of technology-mediated learning changes also knowledge-practices. He concluded that technology enhances learning through transformed social practices. In other words, not the use of technological tools as such, but how technological tools are integrated as part of teachers’ and students’ social practices. In VET, also how technological tools are part of vocational and professional practices.
Studies presented about simulations come from health care field (Aarkorg, Poikela). In health care context, Gaba (2011) has outlined that simulations are perceived as attempts to replicate a clinical situation to amplify or replace actual experience. Simulations are divided into three categories—live, virtual, and constructive simulations—involving live people, simulators, and simulated systems, such as gaming with avatars (Sokolowski, 2011). Challenges in health care area are, as Poikela and Teräs (2015) pointed out in their review, that pedagogical knowledge was often thin.
Research about use of mobile phones (e.g. Leander et. al., 2010) has mapped a rapid development; the upper secondary classrooms in the Nordic countries have become connected to the online world through the students' own smart phones. However, only few studies have focused on VET (though see for instance Chua & Jamil, 2012). In public debate, smart phones have been described as disturbing and distracting and laws have been enacted in several countries to reduce the use of smart phones in classrooms. As a result, schools encourage use of certain digital technologies (computers and tablets), while prohibit use of technologies that the students already possess (Ott, 2017). Challenges for VET teachers are not only whether or not to incorporate the phones into their teaching, but also to make sure that the phones do not compose a threat or health risk for the students in the vocational environments. Uses of smart phones is reflected by Janne Kontio.
Digital technologies can act as a means for inclusion and exclusion to communities in multiple levels: in classrooms, organizations, work places as well as countries. Digital divide is the concept that describes inequalities in access to digital technologies and Internet as well as inequalities in skills and how it is used (cf. Rogers, 2016). In low technology context, such as Cuba, a special challenge is how to deal with scarcity of resources and develop alternatives ways that permit access to advantages of digital technologies. Here initiatives and creativity in using learning environments becomes essential as illustrated in the contribution by Lázaro Moreno Herrera.
Gaba DM (2011). Have we gone too far in translating ideas from aviation to patient safety? British Medical Journal 342: 198-199. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c7310 Hakkarainen, K. (2009). A knowledge-practice perspecive on a technology-mediated learning. Computer-supportive collaborative learning, 4, 213-231 Leander, K., Phillips, N., & Taylor, K. (2010). The Changing Social Spaces of Learning: Mapping New Mobilities. Review of Research in Education, 34, 329-394. Ott, T. (2017). Mobile phones in school: from disturbing objects to infrastructure for learning. Diss. Göteborg : Göteborgs universitet, 2017. Gothenburg. Poikela, P. & Teräs, M. 2015 A Scoping Review: Conceptualizations and Pedagogical Models of Learning in Nursing Simulation. Educational Research and Reviews 10(8), 1023-1033. Rogers, S. (2016). Bridging the 21st century digital divide. Tech Trends, 60, 197-199. Shava, H., Chinyamurindi, W., & Somdyala, A. (2016). An investigation into the usage of mobile phones among technical and vocational educational and training students in South Africa. SA Journal of Information Management, 18(1), 8. doi:10.4102/sajim.v18i1.716 Sokolowski, J. A. (2011). The practice of modeling and simulations: Tools of the trade. In J. A. Sokolowski, & C. M. Banks (Eds.), Modeling and simulation in the medical and health sciences (pp. 23-33). Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.
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