Learners as Meaning Makers

Learners as Meaning Makers

Petrilson Pinheiro (University of Campinas in Brazil, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9304-1.ch006

Abstract

Text review activities in formal schooling settings are by and large carried out vertically and not rarely in an authoritarian way, in which teachers usually assign text production activities for the students whose only readers and reviewers are the own teachers. Then, students rarely have the experience of sharing their texts with one another. Conversely, in the Scholar e-learning environment, students have different experiences of both assessing their peers' texts and commenting on the peers' reviews (feedback on feedback). In order to understand how Scholar enables horizontally text reviewing practices, this chapter aims at developing a qualitative analysis of the peer reviewing process carried out in the Scholar e-learning environment for one online graduate course.
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Introduction

There is no doubt that digital information and communication technologies have heavily impacted social and cultural life of our societies, and, particularly, have enabled new literacies, especially with the development of Web 2.0 technologies (O’Reilly 2005), in which ways of thinking, informing, communicating have been created and/or transformed. This has allowed new techniques and socio-cultural conditions for the expansion of new social practices in the digital world, in which people not only receive, but also publish information on the Internet, which in turn demands us all to rethink and to review the roles of teacher and student.

Indeed, the impact of these changes has been realized in different literacies experiences, such as in the characteristics of vernacular literacies (Barton & Lee 2012), and in innovation, creativity and design as sources of value in literacy practices (Cope & Kalantzis 2011), such as writing assessments (Cope et al. 2011 and possibilities for the creation of innovative learning environments (e-learning) afforded by new educational technologies (Cope & Kalantzis 2009, 2013, 2015).

One interesting e-learning environment is Scholar, which provides a ‘social knowledge’ technology in which everyone can interact with one another in free-flowing knowledge dialogues (Cope & Kalantzis 2015). In this sense, Scholar not only provides collaborative experiences of text production and review, such as informal social media (for instance, a blog), but also enables them through more horizontal levels of interaction in formal settings of education.

If one considers particularly the text review activity in formal schooling settings, one might say that this activity is traditionally carried out vertically and often in an authoritarian way. Teachers usually assign text production activities for the students whose only readers and reviewers are their own teachers. Consequently, learners rarely have the experience of sharing their texts with one another. Conversely, in the Scholar environment, students have different experiences of both assessing their peers’ texts and commenting on the peers’ reviews (feedback on feedback).

In order to understand how Scholar enables horizontally text review practices in which learners can be meaning makers, i.e., they not only have access to contents, but also form knowledge communities, create multimodal works, and provide and receive supporting structured feedback on/from each other's works (Cope & Kalantzis 2009), affordances that are on the basis of the Web 2.0 mindset, this chapter aims at developing a qualitative analysis of a peer reviewing process carried out in the Scholar e-learning environment for one online graduate course at University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), USA, in 2017. To do so, this chapter is based upon the learning by design approach (Cope & Kalantzis 2000, 2009), which is sustained by the theoretical concepts of New Literacies (Lankshear & Knobel 2007, 2008), Space of flows (Castells 2010), Design (Cope & Kalantzis 2011, 2015), Agency (Emirbayer & Mische 1998), and Knowledge Processes (Cope & Kalantzis 2009).

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