06 SES 01 A, Choosing, Producing & Teaching
The progressive digitization of learning arrangements is associated with many hopes. For example, it is supposed to enable inclusion facilitate learners’ digital competence, reduce educational inequalities and make education more effective (cf. European Commission 2017; UNICEF 2017). However, little attention is paid to possible limitations or negative side effects like even reinforcing digital inequalities through digital media. The ethnographic research project ‘Educational Participation of Refugees in Digitized Educational Arrangements’ of the University of Cologne and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg (BMBF, duration 2019-2022) focuses the reconstruction of conditions for the educational participation of young refugees in the context of digitized formal, non-formal and informal educational settings. In the presentation preliminary findings will be presented and discussed.
Young refugees are considered as a particularly vulnerable group. Their participation in society is even more difficult by intersectional disadvantages, such as the frequent lack of a (family) support system, processes of othering or institutional dependencies (cf. von Unger 2018). Digital media are proving to be highly relevant in everyday lives of young refugees and their participation in society (cf. Aden 2019). Smartphones in particular often can provide support in coping with everyday life such as orientation, self-appropriation of information for young people, they can be a means of transnational self-location (cf. Kutscher/Kreß 2018) and can be significant for experiencing one's own ability to act (cf. Friedrichs-Liesenkötter/Schmitt 2017). However, in addition to the potential for promoting educational participation, research also explicitly points to the risk of digital media reproducing social inequalities (cf. Kutscher/Kreß 2018; Alam/Imran 2015, p. 12 ff.).
Our ethnographic research project addresses tensions of the potential and factual role of digital media in educational processes for refugees’ participation in education and society. The research aim is to identify both facilitating and hindering factors of digitized educational arrangements for refugees’ participation. Regarding the European context, these are issues of global importance caused by the migration movements to Europe in recent years, raising questions about enabling inclusion and social justice. Due to the high importance of informal and non-formal contexts for educational processes (cf. Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung 2018), the project takes a trans-organizational perspective on education and participation. Thus, not only the formal educational context of school but equally non-formal and informal contexts of life are focused. Whereas there is a lot of research on education and digitization, the target group of young refugees and the question of the importance of digital media for their participation remains under-researched. The research project presented here addresses precisely this desideratum.
Within this project, participation is understood as being part of and taking part in the educational, social and cultural environment. In the context of education, participation is on the one hand regarded as an aim which should be ensured equally and 'fairly'. On the other hand, education enables further participation in society, for example in the labor market or regarding coping with everyday life (cf. Dietrich 2017). The role of digital media in educational arrangements for the inclusion and exclusion of young refugees will be discussed in the presentation. In our analysis, we look at the ‘explicitly’ planned pedagogically use of digital media, the ‘implicitly’ unplanned media use of young refugees and at interactions between pedagogues and refugees about the topic of media.
Sensitizing concepts for the analysis are the concept of ‘Medienbildung’ (structural media education) (Jörissen/Marotzki 2009), media literacy (e.g.: Baacke 1996) and the usage of media for achieving subject-specific teaching objectives.
The research project is conceived as ethnography in a neo-praxeological perspective and thus focuses on being present in the field and observing practices (cf. Breidenstein et al., 2015; on praxeology: Schatzki 2002). Methodically, the multi-sited ethnography according to Falzon (2009) will be used. For the research project, a total of 20 young refugees between the ages of twelve and 24 were recruited, who, in the sense of maximum contrast, vary in categories of difference such as gender, country of origin, residence status, living condi-tions, and family circumstances (e.g.: accompanied/unaccompanied). In three field phases, the participants are accompanied into their various everyday contexts across organizational borders, for example school, vocational training or work place, tutoring, youth welfare, resi-dential care, social pedagogical family assistance and private leisure activities with family and peers. Participant observations are supplemented by interviews with the young people and pedagogues. The analysis of the material is conducted parallel to the field phases and is carried out based on the Grounded Theory Methodology (cf. Strauss/Corbin 1990). It is complemented by artifact analyses of digital artifacts following Lueger and Froschauer (2018). The praxeological orientation and the accompanying observation of social practices makes the organized nature of practices investigable and in this way allows conclusions about the immanent symbolic orders. In its trans-organizational orientation, the research project not only focuses on orders within the respective organizational relations. It also explicitly takes a look at cross-connections and cross-relations that become visible through digital artifacts and practices. Artifacts can thereby function as boundary objects between contexts or cause breaks in the orders and practices between the organizational formations (cf. Erstad 2012).
In our presentation we will discuss the findings with focus on the formal educational context of school. Therefore, we examine the tension between the demands and offerings of the school on the one hand and the prerequisites and resources of the refugee students on the other. To this point, our analysis indicates that in educational settings with refugees, general chal-lenges of integrating media in schools are becoming visible. To name one finding: Teachers in our sample mostly do not support in a didactically thought-out way the use of tablet com-puters in the classroom, although those are used to promote language skills and thus ena-bling participation. Furthermore, with regard to the refugee students, there is an explicit risk of exclusion via digital media which showed up during distance education while the first school closure in Germany in cause of the COVID-19 pandemic (cf. Fujii et al. 2020). Under these circumstances, we identified four key dimensions for inequality and educational dis-advantages for young refugees: First of all, young refugees are often affected by a lack of technical access to digital media in terms of a limited digital infrastructure (e.g.: internet access) as well as a lack of devices (e.g.: laptop). Second, young refugees often dispose of limited media skills which, thirdly, interlock with a lack of language skills. Lastly, young refugees often lack a personal support system, so that contact persons for dealing with ques-tions and difficulties in the context of media usage are barely or even not available. In our presentation, we would like to discuss successful and unsuccessful constellations of fit be-tween the school and their actors in context of digital media and the associated processes of inclusion and exclusion. We would also like to give an insight in questions of interconnec-tions of formal education with non-formal and informal contexts.
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