Introduction

    Speakers’ Corner

    June 1st, 2010 by Dirk Stieglitz

    Speakers’ Corner is a space for Pontydysgu associates and guest bloggers. It includes the following bloggers.

    Ana García Muñoz

    My name is Ana García Muñoz and I´m from Spain. I´m a Sociologist and I have worked, among others, in European projects in VET. My research interest include informal learning, the changing roles and competences of teachers and trainers with special attention to emergent profiles including acreditation models. In the blog I want to reflect the current Spanish situation in this field in reation with the European landscape.

    My Learning Journey

    Cristina Costa’s learning journey……..

    Jo’s Blog

    Jo Turner-Attwell is an intern at Pontydysgu who is discovering she has more to write in a blog than she originally thought.

    Ange’s Blog

    Angela Rees is a researcher and teacher based in Pontypridd in Wales. Her research intersets include e-learning, special education and learning difficulties and dyslexia.

    Daniela’s Blog

    Daniala Reimann’s blog on Media Arts Education focuses on interdisciplinary approaches in media, arts and education at school and university level.

    Dialogos

    Maria Perifanou has been working as an Italian language teacher for the last ten years and a researcher in the field of Applied Linguistics since 2002. She also works as an e-learning trainer for language teachers. She has participated in several European research summer and winter schools, workshops, conferences. She is also a member of different European research networks such as the TENCompetence Network and the Network of the European Technology of Enhanced Learning.

    User Design Blog

    This blog is written by Anuraj Dadhich. He is from Assam in India and is spending a summer internship with the University of Bremen and Pontydysgu. Anuraj is a student in Interaction Design.

    Speakers' Corner

    GoogleTranslate Service

    Vocational biography design to support young unemployed people goes Europe

    November 2nd, 2014 by Daniela Reimann

    We just managed to tranfer the idea of enabling young unemployed people to visualize their vocational experience and biography using digital media to the European level. The research project “Show Your Own Gold (Acronym) develops, tests and evaluates „a European Concept to Visualize and Reflect One’s Vocational Biography Using Digital Media”. It is funded under the ERASMUS+ Key Action 2, Strategic Partnerships programm for 3 years (2014-2017), co-ordinated by IBP/KIT

    EU_flag-Erasmus+

    Aims and objectives
    The project aims to develop a European concept for consultancy, including course design, to enable young, unemployed people to display their vocational biography. This is realized by producing media available on a multimedia-based online environment to visualise informally and formally acquired skills. The letter is realized by introducing media-based competence portfolios. Within the framework of the project, both the Internet-based competence portfolio as well as consultancy offered for the participants of vocational preparation courses will be developed in the form of an scientifically accompanied course. The course will be developed, realized with young people in the 6 countries and evaluated.

    Project partners:
    • Instituto Politécnico de Beja, Art and Multimedia Laboratory, Education Faculty, Beja, Portugal (Prof. Dr. Aldo Passarinho, Prof. Ana Sofia Velhinhu Sousa), Website

    • PONTYDYSGU LTD, The Bridge To Learning, Wales, U.K. (director: Graham Attwell) Website

    • SC AxA Consulting 99 SRL, a consultancy and training company providing high quality skills training programmes for corporate and industrial clients. (Liliana Voicu), Bucarest, Romania, Website

    • UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA, Cultural Pedagogies, Faculty of Fine Arts, Esbrina Research Group – Subjectivitats i Entorns Educatius Contemporan“, dedicated to the study of the conditions and current changes in education in a world mediated by digital technologies and visual culture. (Prof. Dr. Fenando Hernandez, Prof. Dr. Juana Sancho-Gill, Rachel Fendler), Website

    • Zavod NEFIKS Institut za promocijo in belezenje neformalno pridobljenega znanja/ aims to educate young people in different fields, persuading employers to consider non-formal education as a reference when getting a job.
    Ljubljana, Slovenia (Alenka Blazinšek) Website

    • Co-ordinator: Institute of Vocational and General Education at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT (Dr. Daniela Reimann, Prof. Dr. Martin Fischer, M.A. Kerstin Huber, M.A. Kristina Stoewe, Nadine Görg)

    Summary
    The project intends to make young unemployed people set up, reflect and visualize their individual vocational and educational biography, actively producing media available on a Web-based multimedia environment. Formally and informally acquired skills and competencies are visualized using a particular type of online portfolio developed in the project (by the partner PONTYDYSGU LTD). Within the framework of the project, both the Web-based multimedia environment as well as the consultancy of young people will be developed in the form of an accompanying course offered in each of the participating countries.

    In the project, a consultancy concept with a specific scope of courses offered for the generation and reflection of appropriate media formats, such as video clips showing the young participants at the workplace, in work processes, at the company, during internships. Further interviews with the trainees and skilled workers of a branch, including images of their own work pieces and projects are to be provided.

    The research design is based on several distinct research strategies:

    1. A desk study (analysis, literature review) of the situation of vocational preparation organised and embedded in the VET system and the employment situation of young people in the partner countries. This is necessary in that no studies are at present available on the analysis of the integration of the concept of vocational biography design in vocational preparation in the participating countries;
    2. The development of the course (curriculum design) and
    3. Its’ application in vocational preparation, followed by
    4. a set of in-depth group interviews and surveys with the social actors involved, such as trainees and trainers, accompanied by a series of transnational work meetings.

    Dissemination
    The results of the project will be clearly spelled out to be easily circulated and disseminated via an International Youth Panel, including the BIBB the German Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Training, as well as social media in order to enhance their usability within the policy making process. The project aims to support EU and national policy makers for what concerns the development & implementation of new VET related policies towards a European concept of successful vocational biography design.

    The interim project Web site can be accessed here

    EU_flag-Erasmus+

    Leave a Reply


    4 + 8 =


    Digital Identity and Employability

    October 30th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

    Last week, Dr Lisa Harris gave a talk to the Living, learning and working in the digital economy class.
    Below are the slides and video with Lisa’s talk.

    Although I have blogged about digital identities in the past, my thinking has moved (as it should, I want to believe), and so I will be blogging more about it sometime soon.

    For the time being there are just some observations that I would like to make. It seems to me that the discussion around this topic has evolved to focus mainly on  how we manage our digital footprint to our own advantage, and which some people thought of as a form of  manipulation, rather than how our digital footprint provides evidence of our practice and defines us professionally. I need to reflect on this before I post again. Meanhwile I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Leave a Reply


    4 + 8 =


    The digital divide is shifting, but is it for the better?

    October 30th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

    Photo by Flickr ID Kelayc (CC)

    A study published by Deursen and Dijk (2014) provides a new angle on the Digital Divide debate which has often been guilty of a binary classification of technology “haves and haves not” (p, 14).

    Placed in the Dutch context the research reveals that individuals from all social classes are now making use of the web. This contradicts arguments that the digital divide is directly related to high levels of economic capital, or lack of it. This is likely to be a direct result of new-ish policies that aim to make technology and broadband increasingly more affordable in Europe. So, with the “technology fix” sorted, what else are we missing?

    When it comes to digital practices (and digital habitus), the history of social class division seems to reproduce itself on the online world. The authors report that individuals from a lower socio-economic status (and unsurprisingly with less education under their belt) are more likely to access the web to play games or engage in social interactions, whilst individuals from upper classes (and with higher levels of education) use the web mainly to access information and seek (professional) development opportunities.

    In short, the study reveals the expected: simply put, people from upper classes seem to be able to strategise their activities online better. This unquestionably puts them at an advantage when compared to the online activities carried out by individuals in lower classes. The distinction herein presented is punctuated by a difference of (and in) practice(s). This is nothing more than a reflection of the cultural capital individuals embody and which they carry with them to the online world.

    And so, even though the digital divide may well be shifting to differences in usage, when it comes to differences in social class, the digital divide only seems to be getting wider. In part, this comes as no surprise. Individuals transport their habitus from one field to another. The advantage of one group in relation to another is no longer in the technology they possess, but rather in the embodied cultural capital they transfer from the offline world to the online world. All of a sudden, the idea of ubiquitous access to technology no longer seems to provide an answer to the digital divide phenomenon. But Bourdieu (1986) seems to know where the issue lies. He reminds us that:

    To possess the machines, [they] only need economic capital; [but] to appropriate them and use them in accordance with their specific purpose [they] must have access to embodied cultural capital, either in person or by proxy.

     

    So the question remains: how can we narrow the digital divide gap? Can the introduction of digital literacies in the curriculum be a step towards a solution?

     

    References:

    Bourdieu, P. (1986). Forms of Capital. In Handbook of Theory of Research for the Sociology of Education (pp. 241–58). Greenwood Press.

    Deursen, A. J. van, & Dijk, J. A. van. (2014). The digital divide shifts to differences in usage. New Media & Society, 16(3), 507–526.

     

    Leave a Reply


    9 − 6 =


    Skills for the creative industries – Virtual conference on UNESCO-UNEVOC’s online forum

    September 29th, 2014 by Daniela Reimann

    “Skills for the creative industries” is a virtual conference on UNESCO-UNEVOC’s online forum: http://en.unesco.org/events/skills-creative-industries-virtual-conference-unesco-unevocs-online-forum:

    “In the next edition of UNESCO-UNEVOC’s virtual conferences, we will discuss the role of skills in the creative industries. The virtual conference will be moderated by Paul Collard, CEO of Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE), an international foundation dedicated to unlocking the creativity of children and young people in and out of formal education, based in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The conference will take place from 29 September to 10 October 2014 on UNESCO-UNEVOC’s e-Forum.

    UNESCO’s 2013 Creative Economy Report refers to jobs in the creative industries as “activities involving cultural creativity and/or innovation”. The creative industries are recognized by UNESCO as a powerful source for “new development pathways that encourage creativity and innovation in the pursuit of inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth and development.”

    The virtual conference will address the following questions:

    • What are creative industries and what are the needs for skills?
    • How can we turn the expansion of creative economies into an advantage for TVET and, in turn, what can TVET and skills development do to support the growth of the creative sector?
    • What is the role of creativity in TVET?
    • What are the different vocational pathways to creative jobs?
    • What do we know about the creative industries and what do we still need to learn?

    When, local time:
    Monday, 29 September 2014 – 9:00am to Friday, 10 October 2014 – 5:00pm
    Where:
    Bonn
    Type of Event:
    Working group/Expert Meeting
    Contact:
    Alix Wurdak, a.wurdak@unesco.org +49 228 8150108

    via UNESCO
    http://en.unesco.org/events/skills-creative-industries-virtual-conference-unesco-unevocs-online-forum

    LOGO UNESCO unevocs

    Leave a Reply


    9 + = 14


    High levels of Radio Activity

    July 17th, 2014 by Angela Rees

    The RadioActive team are in Tallinn this week for PLE 2014, we are running a workshop and will be broadcasting a short live show.

    Meanwhile in the UK the young people at Dragon Hall youth organisation  have been busy preparing  the second part of the fascinating feature ‘Tracks of my Years’ that documents the journey through life of a musician and producer, David ‘Zorro’ Caplin, who gives us a personal perspective on issues such as homelessness and drug addiction. This use of ‘music as storytelling’ is the vehicle for an honest, emotional and typically cautionary tale that exposes the human reality of issues that are often treated trivially or questionably glamorised within the music industry. We think you’ll agree ‘it’s been emotional’.

     

    The Music is The Message – Part 4
    Live show 7PM UK time Thursday 17th July 2014
    radioactive101.org
    Contact us on info [at] radioactive101 [dot] org [dot] uk
    Connect with us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RadioActive101
    Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/RadioActive101

    Comments are closed.


    Bourdieu explains online memes

    July 14th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

    Julien, C. (2014). Bourdieu, Social Capital and Online Interaction. Sociology, 1–18.

    Abstract
    While there has been much discussion in recent decades on the nature of social capital and its importance in online interactions, it is my contention that these discussions have been dominated by the American Communitarian tradition. In this article, I begin with an overview of American Communitarianism to identify the key elements therein that are found in contemporary theories of social capital. Following this, I expose some of the weaknesses of this tradition and apply Bourdieu’s distinctive theoretical framework to online interactions to demonstrate the fecundity of Bourdieu’s sociological perspective when applied to contemporary online interactions. To do this, I examine interactions online that involve ‘internet memes’, as digital inhabitants themselves colloquially define them. It is my contention that an agonistic model, rather than a communitarian one, best describes the online interactions of digital inhabitants.

    It is interesting, and in a way inevitable, that Bourdieu’s sociology is increasingly being adopted to theorise online interaction. The paper mentioned above attempts to do just that by researching online memes. But in my opinion, it succeeds more in arguing why Bourdieu’s tool kit is useful in this context, than it does it proving an explanation of memes as a new online phenomenon. And so I found this paper useful because it tries to demystify online networks as an idealised space of democracy and interrelations ‘devoid of colonial intent or capability” (Coleman, 1999 as cited in Julien, 2014) as defended by the American Communitarians, as the author calls them.

    For many years now, the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) world, in particular, has been guilty of such assumptions and that has created a lot of glowing reviews of the web, thus lacking more critical perspectives, as Professor Neil Selwyn pointed out at the Networked Learning Conference, but for which he did not seem to provide alternatives. Well, Bourdieu does provide a relevant research kit to understand social phenomena – even online -  that can be also further enhanced.

    Julien also makes a very valid point about the fact that

    Participation and exclusion in online interactions do not particularly refer merely to access or inaccess of IT, but rather to the ability or inability to act in particular ways online; in other words, to be able to differentiate and achieve distinction within online culture.

    This is an important differentiation and an element of (voluntary/involuntary) digital exclusion that is worthy of note, because as he goes on to state ‘individuals online inculcate a unique habitus” (p.7).

    Although I very much agree with this discussion of the literature, I was a bit lost about how it related to the use of online memes, first because the context of the empirical research on which the paper focuses is missing, and second because the paper ends up summarising the Internet (not the web!) as a field that can produce a ‘digitally oriented habitus” (p.13) instead of examining and acknowledging what role social capital plays in producing such changes, or distinctions in the first place. Yet, it supports a growing practice of looking at online phenomena from a critical lens.

    The post Bourdieu explains online memes appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

    Comments are closed.


    The world cup and academia: what do they have in common and what sets them apart?

    July 4th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

    WorlWorld Cup 2014 Ball, aka Brazuca. (CC)

    I have written before about what in my opinion football and academic research seem to have in common: the constant struggle to achieve symbolic capital.  Football as a field of struggles is also a perfect metaphor to illustrate the Bourdieuian tool kit of investigation; one that Bourdieu himself used to exemplify his thinking.

    In the last couple of weeks I have been following the worldcup and this has led me to consider some of the most pronounced aspects of this championship, sociologically speaking, that is.  Amongst them are the perceptions of identity, distinction, and power.

    Football moves crowds. The passion for it, depicted mutually through accentuated enthusiasm and a certain sense of fury leaves very few indifferent to it. Even those less interested in the game, come out of their ‘shell’ to celebrate their country, or the country they choose to support for whichever justified reason when their (my!) ‘nation’ is out of the competition. And then there are also the teams one would *never* support, because…  (insert here your personal reason).

    This interplay between a strong sense of identity and distinction is fascinating, to say the least. And so is the power dynamics displayed through these games. In terms of the worldcup these do not necessarily translate in the common forms of power that currently govern the world. Here power is (naively) more skill and luck at the game than it is economic capital. We could also throw the concept of ‘tradition’ in the mix. Look at the American team as an example. In comparison to south and central America, some may think they leave a lot to be desired …in football terms. This is however different in the context of the premier league or related championships, because there the economic power speaks louder (buys the best players), whereas the national teams “have” to make due with their ‘home grown players’. [Obviously this is a very simplistic, and possibly naive perspective, but this is often the first layer of interpretation by enthusiastic supporters].

    Now, how does this relate to academia? In a way it does, and in another it does not. In the UK, in the period immediately before REF, the ‘transfer window’ was wide open and we saw many of the best players (academics) moving from one team to another (from one university to another) because of their playing skills and assets (research klout that is then translated into the prestige they will provide back to the institution). Although we emulate well this practice, we are less successful in drawing the crowds to support, and make use of our work. And so the question is, how do we adjust our academic playing strategies to make the game more exciting for our potential audiences?

    The post The world cup and academia: what do they have in common and what sets them apart? appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

    Comments are closed.


    What comes first – the analytical framework or the data collection?

    June 12th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

    (CC) Photo by Gobetz

    This is a bit of a chicken and egg question; one that I have often asked myself … out of fear that I, guided by the theory, might not allow myself to see beyond my theoretical assumptions. Classic grounded theory research shares this concern. And so does the romanticised view that many early career researchers bring to the job and which is usually epitomised by this famous quote (attributed to Einstein):

    If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research.

    Grounded theory points out that pre-defining a theoretical framework is inimical to generating new knowledge (see Glaser’s work), because of our theoretical bias. That, however, is to assume that new theories emerge from a vacuum and not from prior knowledge. And although starting data collection without a framework of reference may bear incidental learning that otherwise might not be captured, there is a lingering concern that such process may lack the depth that a theoretical framework is able to provide. Both approaches present vulnerabilities and are known for dividing the research community. Yet, I think both approaches are viable.  What is important when doing research is to be able to justify our choices. This requires a reflexive endeavour to understanding the ‘researcher’s self’, i.e., our ontological, epistemological and methodological stances:

    -          the ontological question: the essence of reality under study (how I, as a researcher, see the world in which I attempt to develop new knowledge, both in its form and nature);

    -          the epistemological question: the essence of knowledge (how and where knowledge takes place, and what is the relationship between the knower and knowledge);

    -          the methodological question: the source and tool of new knowledge (the means through which new knowledge can be attained).

    Being able to answer these questions is to learn where we stand; the philosophical quest of every researcher. I dwelled on this long enough during my PhD to then find out that my research paradigm aligned well with the Bourdieuian lens, i.e., that I see the world as a fluid social construction within structured, structuring and symbolic structures, and that knowledge is a contextual interpretation of such structures. His influence is so strong that it now informs, and influences, my perceptions of my day-to-day experiences. Nonetheless, this take on the social world did not materialise right from the onset of my research project; it rather emerged and matured through the process of collecting and especially analysing data, even though I did survey existing literature as Frances Bell points out here.  What I realised was that the literature reviewed did not provide answers to the data I collected, thus creating the need to look for an analytical framework post data collection. Having said that, the literature review allowed me to create the background narrative that enabled my research project.

    Now, post PhD, and after ‘discovering’  Bourdieu’s work, I face a different dilemma: that of allowing (or not) Bourdieu to frame my research. In the past I let Bourdieu help answer critical aspects of online practice that the learning technology literature had not anticipated. Do I now allow him to ‘ask’ the questions that frame my future research projects?

    • (CC) Photo by Gobetz

    The post What comes first – the analytical framework or the data collection? appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

    Comments are closed.


    Social Theory Applied Re-Launched

    June 10th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

    The Social theory Applied (STA) Blog/Website has a new face!

    STA has just been re-launched, and now features new activities and initiatives; amongst them an open ‘Call for Contributions’ for those interested in writing for the site.

    We would like to invite contributors from a wide range of backgrounds, disciplines and career stages to submit new blog-post style pieces (250-700 words) on, but not limited to, the following topics:

    • - The relationship between research and practice
    • - The application of research methodologies
    • - Reflections on theory as method
    • - The link between one’s research and current affairs
    • - The application of theory to practice and/or policy
    • - Book reviews
    • - Responses to publications
    • - Critiques and/or advancements of theory (questioning the ‘sacred cows’)

     

    For further details link here: http://socialtheoryapplied.com/call-contributions

    There is also other activities in the horizon, such as calls for Academic Journal Special Issues, Book Chapters, etc.

    We are also looking to establishing new links and make your ideas come to life. So, if you have ideas for future collaborations/joint ventures, do let us know. We would love to work with you.

    To keep up to date with the future developments, please subscribe to the website and/or like our Facebook Page. Feel free to share it with your own networks.

    Comments are closed.


    Digital citizenship: creating a deliberative pedagogical context

    May 17th, 2014 by Cristina Costa
    Democracia y Libertad (CC) by Flickr ID Elisabeth D'Orcy

    Democracia y Libertad (CC) by Flickr ID Elisabeth D’Orcy

    Digital citizenship and digital literacies are topics with a growing popularity, given the impact of the so called digital economy debate on curriculum design. Obviously this is debatable and heavily reliant on the mindset of both individuals and institutions involved in it.  In trying to look for critical approaches to both the themes of citizenship and literacy I found the work of Habermas and of those associated with him. As already alluded to in a previous post, the combination of such topics with interpretations of the ‘digital world’ are however more difficult to find. This opens a research gap, and an area of study that I aim to explore with my students in my new Module on Digital Literacies: Living, Learning and Working in a Network Society.

    Searching for key readings, I found a book chapter by Tomas Englund (2012) on ‘Educational implications of the ideas of deliberative democracy’.

    Englund puts an emphasis on deliberative communication as a democratic form of life, of which the school should be part. Although he does not make explicit links to digital technologies, or the web in particular, as a potential forum of democracy, I can see how his arguments for ‘(…) an open and deliberative pedagogical context’ (p.21) could be enacted via the participatory web, given the communication channels it enables and the opportunities for learning through deliberative and democratic participation that can be created.

    I am interested in the role of education in developing contemporary forms of citizenship literacy. Refocusing Englund’s argument on the digital context, what does it mean for institutions, educators, and learners alike to develop open communication between different perspectives that Habermas explains through the concept of Lebenswelt (life-world)?

    Englund answers this question by stating that citizenship literacy

     …implies a certain responsibility on the part of professionals such as teachers and others who are in charge of teaching situations and who lead communicative interactions (p.21)

    Yet the responsibility is mutually shared with learners who

    …should have opportunities to expand their competence and literacy in terms of understanding and deliberating upon plural ideas and arguments in communication (ibid)

    Englund calls this citizenship literacy through pluralism. The principle of pluralism, closely aligned to the characteristics of deliberative democracy – i.e, different views, tolerance, respect, collective will formation, and autonomy –  provide a good framework for interdisciplinary learning. And although, in Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence aims, to a certain extent, to serve this purpose, it fails to make explicit links between citizenship literacy and the participatory web. The same issue persists in other curricula around the world, I am sure…

    Including the web as an integral part of the curriculum, not only means to create a space where the characteristics of deliberative democracy can be enacted through visible participation, but it also provides a way of activating Dewey’s idea of experiential continuum in that learning is directly related to practices that increasingly permeate our lives; especially that of ‘being’ online.

    On reflection, the characteristics of deliberative democracy might be a more persuasive way to convince institutions, educators and learners to adopt the web as a space of interdisciplinary learning through democratic participation.  After all, life is one big lesson, in which different areas of knowledge supposedly interact to support (de)liberations.

    Reference:

    Englund, T. (2012). Educational Implications of the ideas of deliberative Democracy. In M. Murphy & T. Fleming (Eds.), Habermas, Critical Theory and Education (Reprint edition., pp. 19–32). London: Routledge.
    • Democracia y Libertad

    The post Digital citizenship: creating a deliberative pedagogical context appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

    Comments are closed.


P1020724P1020699P1020698P1020696P1020692P1020688P1020686P1020681P1020678P1020673P1020669P1020666P1020665P1020614