Unstructured Information as a Socio-Technical Dilemma

Unstructured Information as a Socio-Technical Dilemma

Lars-Erik Nilsson (Kristianstad University College, Sweden), Anders Eklöf (Kristianstad University College, Sweden) and Torgny Ottoson (Kristianstad University College, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-970-0.ch031
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate how access to information through the implementation of digital information and communication technology challenges traditional school practices and introduces dilemmas about democracy, school development, ethics, information management and learning. Video data together with screen captures are used to present three cases where students try: to match questions to search expressions; to make decisions about whether sites can be visited; and how they make decisions about relevance and credibility. Data illustrate that information always appears to be unstructured to the students and that restructuring poses a socio technical dilemma involving appreciation of ideological and ethical nature.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Categorization: The term has been frequently used in etnomethodology, conversation analysis and other methods for analysing discourse and refers to the practice of sorting into collections and naming these collections common to human discourse. ?

Project management software: Project management software generally include provision of tools that support collaborative work on projects. Elaborated software of this kind would include features that allow users to plan, schedule, prioritize, and divide tasks, as well as communicating and storing information. Slim versions may include only support for storing, collecting and editing information in order to generate a report as in the case of Microsoft Encarta Researcher.

Source criticism: The term was developed in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century as a method to separate sources that gave well founded knowledge from those that didn’t. Through critical examinations, by means of a set of criteria’s, you examine if the information is true or false, usable or useless in connection with the question you seek answer to. The set of criteria’s has changed and evolved as a result of new media forms and the growth of digitally distributed information.?Information literacy: The concept is usually seen as the generic ability to make well informed choices based on the critical evaluation of a wide range of information sources. There is a substantial commonality in identifying it as an individual generic skill both in science and political texts. Some say the concept includes an ability to find, control and evaluate information sources in order to create personal knowledge and use these wisely. Others argue that literacy cannot be separated from the domain specific socio- technical practices that give rise to them that is, information skills evolve in disciplinary and other contexts, and they are practiced by communities using appropriate technologies.

Affordance: The term refers to the fit between an animal’s capabilities and the environmental supports and opportunities. An affordance is a potentiality for action; in other words, an action that can potentially be performed by a specific organism in a specific environment.

Particularization: The term has been used to point to a need to reverse categorization. If categories can be built they can also be taken apart. Claims are constructed to support making sense of something as an exception to what is generally seen to be the case, such as for instance when an omission of a reference is described as an example of common knowledge rather then an example of plagiarism.

Information Literacy: The concept is usually seen as the generic ability to make well informed choices based on the critical evaluation of a wide range of information sources. There is a substantial commonality in identifying it as an individual generic skill both in science and political texts. Some say the concept includes an ability to find, control and evaluate information sources in order to create personal knowledge and use these wisely. Others argue that literacy cannot be separated from the domain specific socio- technical practices that give rise to them that is, information skills evolve in disciplinary and other contexts, and they are practiced by communities using appropriate technologies.

Dilemma: A social dilemma would imply a situation where a person decides between promoting his personal interest or according to collective interest. Some people use dilemma to describe a rhetorical construction where participants’ accounts frequently draw on opposing themes as part of there sense making process, in their construction of claims and in justifying and corroborating these. Categorization and particularisation are such opposing themes.

Socio-technical: Focus is on the influence of the technical on the social and vice versa yielding such perspectives as socio-technical mapping and actor network theory. The social and technical is seen as constantly interacting, shaping each other such as when social and technical elements are interwoven in discourse and used to support accounts. ?Affordance: The term refers to the fit between an animal’s capabilities and the environmental supports and opportunities. An affordance is a potentiality for action; in other words, an action that can potentially be performed by a specific organism in a specific environment.

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