ERG SES F 06, Parallel Session F 06
Web-based technologies and software promote interaction and communication through idea exchange and content (co-)creation and can be integrated in different types of social media that can involve various types of activity: weblogging and microblogging, content creation and editing. The ability of these social media environments to aggregate content has enabled the proliferation of connectivity among users who interact in order to build a dialogical shared understanding of reality (or some aspects of it that can take the form of a problem-to-solve, a question-to-answer) within an expansive network based upon a shared purpose. Networking constitutes an essential activity for the development of human cognition that can be traced beyond the limits of antiquity. Yet, the networking ability nowadays along with the reconsideration of the spatial-temporal dimensions has redefined the late modern understanding of learning, knowledge and building knowledge within digital artifactual environments. We, the users, can modify and adapt these environments according to personal choices and create networks that evolve in the cyberspace as parts of virtual communities, or not.
In the educational domain, the ability to network has shaped a shift in perspective with regard to the integration of social media environments into the teaching-studying-learning (TSL) process. Consequently, this integration and use of network-based technologies as tools that enhance the TSL process influences teachers’ cognitions of aspects of their work: the ways teachers plan pedagogical action; how they act; and how they reflect upon that activity. Therefore, the use of network-based platforms influences teachers’ pedagogical decisions and thinking. Pedagogical thinking is intertwined with the internalization of the values and goals of the curriculum that determines teacher purposiveness. In turn, pedagogical thinking shapes and is shaped by the pedagogical meeting, i.e. where teachers’ and students’ intentions, activities and reflections meet (Uljens, 1997, p. 75), e.g. in a classroom. When information and communication technologies facilitate the TSL process, the pedagogical meeting becomes mediated (Tella and Mononen-Aaltonen, 2000, p. 36) and the conventional scenery changes in terms of the ways communication is implemented.
The integration of web-based networking environments influences teachers’ thinking and, therefore, the way the values and goals of the curriculum are realized in the TSL process. However, the quality of the digital tools for networking and collaboration enhancement challenges the established view of the curriculum; as well as the implementation and reflection process within the physical, impermeable walls of the traditional classroom depending upon the pre-fixed sound of the (electric) bell or the scheduled break. Along with the school spatial-temporal conventions and the collective’s representations, traditional symmetry of teacher-student role also collapses and a gate to newly situated teacher cognition opens up.
These dimensions of the plan-act-reflect process forming part of teachers’ pedagogical thinking seeks this study to explore through the lens of the teachers’ conceptions of: the added value the use of the social networking platforms brings into the teaching-studying-learning process; the problems and the implications resulting from such use; the preferred technologies in terms of their ability to generate externalizable and internalizable content.
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