Thursday, December 15, 2005

Situated Learning

Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media: Frameworks and Methodology
Unfortunately, nobody is offering to give me $3 million to study digital kids, but perhaps I can benefit from some of their work to get my thesis done. First of all, their methodology sounds interesting, and I could probably duplicate the approach in a simpler, more focused way. Again, it sounds a bit like connectivism:
"Our ethnographic approach draws from theories of situated learning and the social construction of technological systems. Situated learning theory is grounded in the recognition that learning is both a social process and a cognitive one."
They've also done a literature review in the area of technology and informal learning, and they're finding mostly gaps, which is probably why I've had a hard time digging good stuff up:
"Yet as our literature review demonstrated, there has been little sustained study of learning in informal settings, and almost no foundational theoretical work on the properties of unorganized or non-institutionalized learning. These emergent practices challenge our cultural and institutional definitions of learning and social participation in ways that will likely reframe our theories of education and development."
And finally, I love this paragraph describing how we are redefining what constitutes learning. It's about individuals integrating learning in an incidental way into the flow of their lives, without any dependency on institutions to transmit information or dictate how and when education should occur:
"For example, our focus on digital ecologies pushes us into learning domains outside what we traditionally consider educational settings, challenging cultural definitions of learning and knowledge. In contrast to most cognitive and psychological approaches to learning, situated learning approaches are generally agnostic as to whether content is explicitly educational or not, and recognizes learning as deepening engagement with any kind of cultural content and social group, even those that our society has labeled 'entertainment.'

In fact, this model is probably most illuminating in understanding contexts where learning is a by-product of participation in an activity, rather than a formalized process of knowledge transfer, for example, apprenticeship learning, sports, or everyday learning in the home. As digital technologies enable kids to gain knowledge and cultural competency in domains that are not framed by explicit educational agendas, we begin to see changes in how kids construct identities and reputation, and how they relate to school and academic knowledge."

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