03 SES 04 A, Citizenship Education: Teachers' and Students' Voices in Curriculum Design
In this study, we take an interest in how young pupils respond to a growing situation of ubiquitous digitalisation, when they within a school’s curriculum are given opportunities to process current everyday issues related to digital contexts in a value-based education. The process of digitalisation in society and school has been thorough and comprehensive during the last decades, both in the Nordic countries as well as in other European countries (European Schoolnet, 2013). The density of computers and mobile phones has rapidly been increasing; 98% of Swedish secondary high school students have a smart phone of their own (Alexandersson & Davidsson, 2014). This quite new digital situation creates new patterns of communication as well as new ways to get in touch with the public sphere.
Earlier research has taken an interest in how digitalisation has affected learning practices of school in different aspects. Studies have for instance focused teachers’ new roles in the digitalized classroom (Lantz-Andersson & Säljö, 2014; Kluge et al, 2014); how curriculum, content, and methods have been affected (Hillman, 2011; Hultin & Westman, 2012, 2014; how students’ use of smartphones in school affect their study results (Andersdotter & Schmidt, 2013; Forsman, 2014).
However how digitalization of school brings new conditions for creating democratic learning practices as part of a value-based education, has not yet been addressed adequately by earlier research. For this reason, the aim of this study is to contribute with knowledge on children’s thoughts on and wishes for a value-based education in a digitalized classroom.
Theoretically, we turn to Dewey for an understanding of learning practices as comprising the potential for democratic experience (1916/2007). Dewey emphasises that democracy is not only a form of government but also a form of life that is a community or a practice. Such a practice is created by the participants’ common interests, which in turn are constituted in communication. The degree of a community’s or practice’s democracy, and also learning potential, has to do with the participants’ opportunities to share interests, differences, and ideas with each other and with other communities and practices (Dewey, 2016/2007). This Deweyan idea of democracy is of specific interest in our study as it gives an understanding of the children’s thoughts on and wishes for a value-based education as specific expressions of their desires of creating democratic learning practices at school.
Of analytical interest for this study is also Biesta's distinction between three functions of education as citizenship education- qualification, socialisation, and subjectification, specifically the two latter concepts (2010). Socialisation focuses on the preparation of citizens-to-be for the successful entering into an already existing socio-political order, whereas subjectification concerns the way that democratic subjectivity is developed by engagement in political processes, which is also in line with the Dewyan thought of democracy as a life form.
Furthermore, we turn to Jenkins´ concept participatory culture (2008), which comprises an understanding of participants as being neither primarily consumers nor producers but rather both at the same time, so called prosumers (cf. Jenkins, 1992; Tapscott, 1996; Herman et. al., 2006). Jenkins, among others, has stressed that digitalization has brought new opportunities for people to participate in on-line communities (Jenkins, 1992; Gee, 2004). Thus, the concepts of participatory culture, which inhabits by prosumers, can from a Deweyan point of view be understood as a democratic practice where the participants share interests, differences and ideas. From this perspective, we ask the question whether the children’s thoughts on and wishes for a redesigned value-based education can be understood in terms of participating as prosumers in digital communities?
This study is a part study of a three years long (2015-2018) action research project at a school where teachers had developed a teaching program for a value-based education related to digitalisation. Digitalisation in this context refers to the availability to digital resources in and out of school and the availability to a web-based social life. This teaching program included teaching strategies, a teacher handbook, and in-service education of the teachers. The teachers started developing this program in 2012, in order to meet and handle a new situation where the school provided Internet connected computers to all pupils to be used in almost all school-subjects. Most children had also access to computers and Internet at home. In this new digital situation, the teachers perceived a need for new curricula objectives and activities such as source criticism, knowledge on copyright laws, and ethical discussions (not the least for preventing bullying and other social problems that had gone on line). The overall aim of the research project as a whole is to contribute with new knowledge on value-based education related to digitalisation. The project has a qualitative methodological approach including classroom observations and interviews of both teachers and pupils. In this part of the study we focus on the pupils’ responses to the teaching program. The material contains of field notes from two weeks of observations in three classrooms and transcripts of three group interviews with pupils that were participating during the observations (five one graders in one group and eight six graders in two groups). The interviews were 30-45 minutes long. The main broad foci of the discussions in the group interviews of the pupils were: 1) their thoughts on digitalisation, 2) what was learnt during lessons of value-based education related to digitalisation, and 3) what do they would want to learn during these lessons? A content based analysis was conducted in three steps. In the first step, we discerned three overarching themes in the material and as a second step we conducted a comparative analysis between the seven-year-old and the twelve-year-old children’s answers. In the third step, we analysed how the children’s thoughts and wishes for a specific value-based education could be understood in terms of socialisation or subjectification.
The study shows an alteration in the way pupils experience risk in relation to digital contexts – from fears of doing wrong to fears of being subjected to other’s wrong-doings. The seven-year-old children express uncertainties when entering the world of internet, such as downloading something inappropriate or submit their names in wrong contexts. However, children’s concern of personally doing wrong undergoes modification as their experiences expand. The result shows that twelve-year-old children instead perceive risks of being subjected to others’ wrongful conduct. They articulate worries of being bullied, having their identity hijacked or being exposed to some kind of abuse of their personal information. This alternation from a personal to a more public sphere corresponds to how pupils describe their use of digital devices. The character of change moves from communicative opportunities in a family context to opportunities to participate in a youth cultural context. The younger children describe how they play games at home, watch movies or send text-messages to family members, whereas the older children give voice to a broader social participation. The character of the latter also includes creative processes where the twelve-old-children for instance make and share texts, videos and games. When pupils describe what they have learned in value-based education related to digitalization the pattern of alternation reoccurs. The younger children express learning outcomes were they better know how to avoid risks whereas the older children express explicit valuable knowledge together with skills and conducts. The change in focus describes an alternation from a more individual responsibility which can be related to socialization, to an expressed shared responsibility common digital milieu which can be related to subjectification. Accordingly, the twelve-year old children emphasize a desire to, within educational settings, develop skills and abilities to become participating prosumers in digital contexts.
Andersdotter, G.& Schmidt, C., (2013). Gränssnitt i folkbildning. I B. Gustavsson & M. Wiklund (red.). Nyttan med folkbildning. En studie av kapitalformer i folkbildande verksamhet. Stockholm: Nordica Academic Press. Alexandersson, K., & Davidsson, P., (2014): Eleverna och internet 2014. https://www.iis.se/docs/Eleverna_och_internet-2014.pdf Biesta, G., (2010) Good Education in an Age of Measurement. Etichs, Politics, Democracy. Boulder: Paradigm Publisher. Dewey, J., (1916/2007). Democracy and Education. Sioux Falls S. D.: NuVision Publication. European Schoolnet, (2013). Survey of Schools: ICT in Education. Benchmarking Access, Use and Attitudes to Technology in Europe’s Schools. Final Study Report, February 2013. http://www.eun. org/observatory/surveyofschools/ Forsman, M., (2014). Duck/Stoneface. Ungas onlineaktiviteter ur ett genusperspektiv. Stockholm: Statens medieråd. Hillman, T. & Säljö, R., (2014). Digitala teknologier omformas i matematikundervisningen. I Lantz- Andersson, A. & Säljö, R. red), (2014). Lärare i den uppkopplade skolan. Malmö: Gleerups. Herman, A., Coombe, R.J. & Kaye, L., (March/May 2006). “YOUR SECOND LIFE? Goodwill and the performativity of intellectual property in online digital gaming.” Cultural Studies, 20 (2-3), 184-210. Hultin, E. & Westman, M., (red.) (2014). Att skriva sig till läsning – erfarenheter och analyser av det digitaliserade klassrummet. Malmö: Gleerups. Hultin, E. & Westman, M., (2013): Literacy Teaching, Genres, and Power. Educational Enquiry, Volume 4, Issue 2. Gee, J.P., (2004). Situated Language and Learning: a Critique of Traditional Schooling. New York: Routledge. Jenkins, H., (1992). Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York: Rout- ledge. Jenkins, H., (2008). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. ([New ed.]. New York: New York University Press. Tapscott, D., (1996). The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelli- gence. London: McGraw-Hill.
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