Appropriation of mobile phones for learning John Cook London Metropolitan University Norbert Pachler Institute of Education, London Claire Bradley London Metropolitan University http://www.londonmobilelearning.net/
Structure Introduction Why? Our definition of appropriation Notions of appropriation Stages of appropriation Typology of appropriation Example of appropriation and implications for education Conclusion Questions
Introduction Definitional base for appropriation. Typology. Stages of development. Conceptual frame for understanding literacy practices of learners outside and inside educational settings. We provide an update on the paper in proceedings
Health warnings! NOT taking about misappropriation
YES texting can damage your health!! As always there is more to it than that.
NOT about criminal appropriation, as in your nicked !
Notion of life worlds of users (Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger) rooted in phenomenology. Focus is on making technology your own for and through identity formation social interaction meaning-making entertainment Focus on personal uses and identity. Recent research (JISC, 2007; Conole et al, 2008) suggests that students place greater value on technologies they have discovered themselves
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973.
I would also add that I am not hostile to the academy and the learned, and happily count myself a member of it. I would certainly not want to bite the hand that feeds me! As Hoffer puts it: "People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."
Why? Definition, typology and stages could be used to plan the means for bringing the life worlds of learners who are at a distance to school and society closer to educational systems. Form a useful checklist when designing for and analysing emerging practices. Importance of developing an ontology, i.e. a community-mediated and accepted description of the kinds of entities in a domain As part of our emerging ontology the typology can also provide a useful basis for community debate about the types we identify.
We consider personal ownership as key: an exploration of these issues seems desirable given that 3.3 billion people, more than half the worlds population, now subscribe to a mobile- phone service (The Economist, 2008, p.3). Significant implications of fact that learners own the mobile devices Motivational and affective factors Identity building Learning process Also, we foreground the importance of learner agency, their action on tools and through it on socio-cultural practices
Figure 1: Key components of a cultural ecological approach to mobile learning Structures: media convergence, applications, media literacy Cultural practices: linking informal and formal learning Agency: appropriation as internalisation and externalisation in relation to media use and learning habitus
Simplified definition of appropriation the processes attendant to the development of personal practices with mobile devices; we consider these processes in the main to be: interaction, assimilation and accommodation as well as change making technological devices ones own and harnessing their functionalities, make them fit for their personal, interpersonal and social requirements (rather than necessarily use them in line with the designed-in functionalities or anticipated uses or accessorising them)
We draw on: Dourish (2004) context of appropriation is emergent and not predetermined by events centrality is placed on practice learners engagement with particular settings context becomes embodied interaction
Piaget (1955) learning and perception Constant effort to adapt to the environment in terms of assimilation and accommodation Assimilation means that a learner takes something unknown into her existing cognitive structures Accommodation refers to the changing of cognitive structure to make sense of the environment
Notions of appropriation Socio-cultural and technological perspectives of appropriation. Key questions for us are: What are the key characteristics of appropriation? To what extent is the effective use of technology premised on the ability of the individual and/or their life world as well as their worlds of work/school to envision possible uses? Within what socio-cultural traditions, values and codes of behaviour is appropriation situated and how is it constrained and/or enabled? Through what stages, if any, does appropriation develop? And, what are the implications for learning with mobile devices?
Cultural tradition plays a considerable part in conceptions of technology and how they are being used (Stald, 2008). Bachmair (2007), for example, powerfully demonstrates media preferences according to social milieu. Agency is central (see e.g. Bachmair, Pachler and Cook, forthcoming).
Different approaches to mobile phone appropriation are discussed by Carroll et al. (2002) and Waycott (2004, 2005). Bar, Pisani and Weber (2007) provide another interesting examination of the appropriation of mobile technology. Stald (2008) series of empirical studies of 15-24 year-old Danes and their mobile phone use illuminates the personal and interpersonal levels of the socio-cultural arena.
Stages of appropriation Carroll et al.s (2002) appropriation model: attractors; criteria e.g. lifestyle organiser, add value?; reinforcement, power and identity. Our proposal is to conceive of three stages 1.exploration 2.adaptation, accommodation and assimilation 3.change
Typology of appropriation Emerging ontology. Provide useful basis for community debate. Typology systematic classification of mobile learning appropriation types that have characteristics in common. Three types: socio-cultural interpersonal personal
Example of appropriation and implications for education The case of Cyrill (Bachmair, Pachler and Cook, forthcoming) describes a young man who is at distance to society and school But someone who has developed expertise within media convergence he uses mobile phones to capture content and is engaged in advanced media literacy practices
On the interpersonal level, with notions of learner-generated contexts, Cyrill is clearly very active in this and other aspects of our typology. A key part of appropriation is that learners are evolving practices and meanings through their interaction. In Cyrills case, the evolving practice was engendered through personal, interpersonal and socio-cultural interaction.
For example, he is heavily active on various discussion lists using different identities On one list he engages with fellow underdogs via the internet elsewhere he is featured on a mens fashion website as someone who is cool
Cyril is also being pursued by the police because of the nature of some of the material he has uploaded onto YouTube (i.e. on the socio- cultural level he as transgressed social norms in terms of acceptable behaviour). Because of the situated character of appropriation of the mobile and informal learning as meaning-making, one could recommend in school the creation of learning situations, which integrate mobile practices and expertise of the students.
Perhaps it would be possible to reconceptualise Cyrill within the school context as a software expert or blog expert for peers? Writing about fringe life style will probably attract him As his Maths teacher, for example, one could think about the possibility of tasking Cyrill with creating a mobile site for the class or the school
Conclusion The learner in two examples examined in this paper (Stald, 2008; the case of Cyrill) are actively engaged in forming their identity. The mobile phone is a cultural resource in that it comes with culturally formed ways of usage, the way in which the learner has in the past internalised this usage is also achieved in response to cultural factors.
By examining a learners appropriation in terms of our definition, typology and their traversal of the stages we have enumerated, it should be possible to include in formal learning activities and elements of the media literacy skills that learners gain informally outside the school or educational organisation. Our brief exploration of the Cyrill case was illustrative of this potential.
And, it is this particular aspect of our work on appropriation that we consider to be an important aspect of future research: in what ways are users/learners making technology their own in formal (as well informal) learning situations? Also, how do the stages of appropriation we delineated play out in this context and, how can they be supported and underpinned pedagogically in order to support emerging learning processes that may be distributed across several contexts?