Learning and Meaning Making in the Virtual Space

Learning and Meaning Making in the Virtual Space

Staffan Selander (Stockholm Institute of Education, Sweden) and Anna Åkerfeldt (Stockholm Institute of Education, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-970-0.ch023
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Abstract

School pedagogy is being questioned. Increasing migration as well as increasing access to information and new patterns of communication are challenging traditional school work and school curricula. Teachers’ and students’ positions as didactic agents seem to be changing. The individualized curriculum puts new demands on schools. Teachers not only function as subject experts but also as individual “coaches” or “mentors”. To a greater degree than ever before students are obliged to understand their own learning paths and develop strategies for their school work. A new perspective on learning is needed to capture these changes in learning in institutional settings. Our aim is to outline a new perspective on designs for learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Designs for learning: The concept emphasizes the double aspect of learning, on the one hand resources and system created for learning, on the other hand the learners meaning-making as sign production.

User control: User as a producer of his or her own learning resources. The shift in interest from technological to pedagogical possibilities, indicated a shift in school work, although not all teachers have been trained for this change.

Representation: The final student work that the teacher assess. Show what the students’ perceive as central or peripheral by way of various modes and media. The representation itself indicates what students value as natural or divergent, important or unimportant, central or peripheral, necessary or unnecessary and so on.

Transformation and formation of knowledge: Learning process that leads to the final representation. Students seek and transform information, they cut and paste information from the Internet, but they also produce new information by way of interviews, making film, producing music or, for example, constructing three-dimensional objects. The process of transforming and forming contains many choices and decisions that show choices and “signs” of learning.

Design: Design as a concept involves changed attitudes towards information and knowledge. It is a necessity both for teachers in terms of designing environments and processes of learning, and for the individual student in terms of designing his or her own learning path.

Educational semantic web: Highlight the role of the new tools in education, in relation to what is understood as learning in schools. The concept is also a kind of futuristic vision, is based on three affordances; 1) the capacity for information storage and retrieval, 2) agents, 3) and the possibilities of communication via Internet (Anderson & Whitelock, 2004).

Learning design sequences: A theoretical map for the purpose of describing and analyzing critical incidents in (a creative) learning process, in a process of meaning-making. Central aspects are the situation and the resources, interest and social communication as starting points for the meaning-making process, by transforming and forming knowledge.

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