06 SES 02, Media Practices: Perspectives and experiences
Many argue that education must support student`s identity and Bildung. In media education, within which this paper is situated, it is vital to develop student`s media literacy, i.e. to develop skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to read, interpret and produce media content in a critical and reflexive manner. Media literacy is central to prepare students to participate as active citizens in a democratic society (Buckingham, 2003; Lankshear & Knobel, 2006).
Within this context, the paper discusses a case-study among students in Media Education at a Norwegian university college, as a way of investigating learning and development of media literacy (Burnett, Merchant, Pahl & Rowsell, 2014). The overarching aim of the case-study is to understand how young people`s media practices relate and connect to learning and media literacy within the context of the subject Media Education. It is also an aim to develop and design methods and learning resources in order to facilitate and scaffold student`s learning processes. A vital concern is how media practices (learning resources and methods) initiated in formal education becomes relevant or is seen as disturbances in students’ out-of-school worlds, and vice verca. If relevance and meaningfulness is achieved, students might be able to connect learning and identities in media practices across different contexts (Bjørgen, 2010).
Learning is investigated in terms of experiences of relevance and disturbances within a range of media practices that students on the program Media Education participate in. The case-study investigates how students interpret different media practices as relevant or as disturbing, for example during collaboration on assignments and in creative digital productions, when receiving guidance from supervisors, or when they search and evaluate online resources, to mention a few. The following questions guide the study:
What media practices are students engaged in at campus and outside campus? How do they experience these different media practices in terms of relevance and/ or disturbances to own learning?
If students struggle to find relevance and meaning in learning resources and methods on the study program Media Education, it might have consequences for their development of media literacy. Experience of relevance and meaning has to do with whether learning resources and methods are founded in student`s media practices both inside and outside campus. Experience of relevance and meaning also means that students do not understand language and feedback. Within the bigger picture, these questions concern issues of inclusion and exclusion in higher education.
Adopting a socio-cultural (Wertsch, 1998) and a systems theory approach (Luhmann, 1995) on learning and human development, the analysis is guided by an understanding of media-practices as situated and interconnected across various spaces (Lankshare & Knobel, 2006). Hence it is problematic to use simple distinctions and binaries about media practices in different domains. Following Bulfin and North (2007), we suggest the idea of ‘negotiated practice’ as a way of understanding young people’s media practices “(…) and how these are connected and ‘worked out’ across home, school and other contexts” (p. 248).
The analysis is also guided by Luhmanns (2000) approach on communication systems. Luhmann rejects students being able to multitask. When students communicate via mobile or other media, rather than being attentive to the lecture, they are in principle opt for inclusion in another communication system and hence excluded from educational communication. According to Luhmann, communication systems can not completely avoid disturbances, but they can help stabilize an education situation if rejected. If interference or self-inflicted excuses are not rejected, many smaller communication systems may appear, the purpose of which is probably not learning (Fritze 2004; Arntzen, 2013).
The paper draws on results from an ongoing research project focusing on third year Bachelor-students participating in the subject of Media Education (15 ECTS) at a Norwegian university college. A focus group approach was used to gain insight into discourses and negotiating processes. The material will be analyzed according to a media-ethnographic approach (Drotner, 2008; Heath, Street & Mills, 2008). The focus group-interviews took place at campus and were all audiotaped. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed in accordance with a thematic-analysis approach. This is a qualitative approach which is used to search across the material to identify, analyze and report on repeating themes or patterns emerging from within the data. Thematic analysis also allows one to draw on relevant theory and personal experiences from the field (Bernard & Ryan, 2010).
The presentation discusses selected examples on student`s reflections on their media practices at campus and outside. The aim is to arrive at descriptions of how they experience and understand their media practices and learning across contexts. By focusing on student`s interpretations of learning resources, methods, media practices and learning contexts, the paper contributes to expand public and academic debates that limits itself to highlight how potentially transformative modern technology might change educational practice. The paper is relevant to Nordic and European educational research by highlighting the importance of investigating how students, as young people, reflect and interpret media practices within certain pedagogical and contextual frames. The relevance also arises from our argumentation that rest on the assumption that technology and anticipated benefits for educational purposes cannot be studied detached from specific participants and pedagogical contexts.
Arntzen, L. (2013). Se min skole. En studie av elevenes tilstedeværelse i klasserommet. Master- oppgave i pedagogikk, Universitetet i Tromsø, Tromsø. Bernard, H. R., & Ryan, G. W. (2010). Analyzing qualitative data: Systematic approaches. Los Angeles: Sage. Bjørgen, A. (2010). Boundary crossing and learning identities—Digital storytelling in primary schools. In Seminar.net. International Journal of Media, Technology and Lifelong Learning, 6(2), 161–175. Buckingham, D. (2003). Media education: Literacy, learning and contemporary culture. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bulfin, S., & North, S. (2007). Negotiating digital literacy practices across school and home: Case studies of young people in Australia. Language and Education, 21(3), 247–263. doi:10.2167/le750.0 Burnett, C., Merchant, G., Pahl, K & Rowsell, J. (2014). The (im)materiality of literacy: the significance of subjectivity to new literacies research. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(1), 90-103. Drotner, K. (2008). Leisure is hard work: Digital practices and future competences. In Buckingham, D. (ed.) (2008): Youth, identity, and digital media (pp. 167–184). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Fritze, Y. (2004). Mediet gør en forskel : en komparativ undersøgelse af kommunikation i nærundervisning og fjernundervisning. Phd-afhandling. Syddansk Universitet, Odense Heath, S. B., Street, B. V., & Mills, M. (2008). On ethnography: Approaches to language and literacy research. New York: Teachers College Press. Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2006). New literacies: Everyday practices and classroom learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Luhmann, N. (2000). Sociale systemer – grundrids til en almen teori. København: Hans Reitzels forlag. Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. New York: Oxford University Press.
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