Questions about learning and identity arise from IT
The world population is getting close to seven billion people and there are about four billion cell phones in use. Three percent of the Swedish three-year-olds ande five percent of the five-year-olds are using modern technology.
— Naturally, this changes our lives, says Mikael Alexandersson during a lecture at Växjö University.
||Mikael Alexandersson is a professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Gothenburg. As a researcher he has taken an interest in what and how children and young adults learn.
— What do students really learn when they learn something? he asks and makes a comparison between Carl von Linné's pupils and students in a modern learning environment.
— The core of the situation is not very different. There is someone who knows something that the others should learn.
But is there any evidence for a computer making students learn better?
— Not automatically; there must be a pedagogical structure based on what they are supposed to learn. Some learn more
and better but others do not, Mikael Alexandersson says.
Someone in the audience asks if it in return means that some students learn less. Mikael Alexandersson replies that so is not the case.
— But the expectation of digital learning technology is often that it should be better per se.
According to Mikael Alexandersson, schools must get passed referring to IT as a tool.
— That is so 1990's, he says.
Instead, he suggests that we should study other dimensions of IT - how it reorganizes our lives and relationships, how it effects peoples identities and the way we communicate. Today's IT offers new perspectives since it is possible to exist in virtual spaces parallel to the existence in the physical space.
— What happens to our way of thinking, our sense of "we" and what makes the core of our existence when we are online all the time? Mikael Alexandersson asks.
A new generation is on its way in to the school systems and the academic environments. A generation of people whose identity and life is formed by physical spaces but just as much by virtual ones, where there precense is defined in other ways.
|One prejudice about young people is that they only have virtual and superficial friends.
— Relationships are being established in the digital arenas but they develop and grow deeper in th "real" and physcal world, states Mikael Alexandersson.
He has been following a group of high achieving young adults, who are in the front line of using modern IT.
— In the same way as aspen leafs tremble before the wind reaches the forrest, these young people express trends and changes in society in the coming, he says.
Common for all these youn people is that they are involved in several parallel projects that require presence in both digital and physical environments. School is just one of these projects.
Reading tips from Mikael Alexandersson:
Limberg, L., Alexandersson, M., Lantz-Andersson & Folkesson, L. (2008) What matters? Shaping meaningful learning through teaching information literacy. In Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services.
Limberg, L., Alexandersson, M. & Lantz Andersson, A. (2008). To Be Lost and to Be a Loser through the Web. In Hansson, T. Handbook of Digital Information Technologies: Innovations, methods, and ethical issues. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Link to the research project LinCs.