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Lucy Johnson

Lucy Johnson WQ10

Personal Information; See Lucy’s LinkedIn Profile

See also; Participatory Art Project (November 2012)

WikiQuals Aim;  June 2015, after a short trip to Lanzarote I am enthused to begin researching Cesar Manrique.

Brief overview of research question-main objectives of research;

I intend to start assisting another student who is carrying out research into Education Technology (2015), so to facilitate the proposal beneath.

To evaluate the impact that creative, unrestricted and fully integrated use of Social Networking technologies (and digital media and educational technology in general?) within institutionalised education settings may have on ‘learner identity’ and the potential positive impact this might have on phenomena such as ‘life long learning’.  Evaluating students at the beginning of the study possibly in the sixth form, through higher education, and at the end as they take their first tentative steps into work and training.  Contrasting with a control group who do not have this access (to a technology enabled learning environment).  The study could potentially follow the participants for longer if funding was available.

I intend to take as my objects for study students and teachers beginning within three contrasting kinds of secondary educational environment:

The first would be Thomas Tallis School, a large mixed comprehensive school for pupils aged 11-19, located in Kidbroke in the borough of Greenwich in London. The school is a specialist Arts College, Leading Edge School and National School of Creativity.  It uses Social Networking tools in the way it faces out to the public and also to facilitate creative projects.

Secondly I hope to investigate ‘Red Balloon of the Air’-a charity that helps children who have become marginalised in mainstream secondary schools because of bullying and does this using a bespoke Virtual Learning Environment.  This will be as a contrast to the secondary schools I have chosen and aims to perhaps throw into relief some of the problems (?) inherent in these institutions, which might be useful in terms of the research question.   November 2012-this school has indicated it is unwilling to co-operate in the research process-interesting as this is flagged up in the module I am doing on Educational Enquiry at the Open University that non Local Authority Schools may potentially be unwilling to take part in this kind of research for a number of topical reasons that sit around the many changes that are going on in the education system at the moment, and the reason given by the manager concerned: ‘lack of man power’, would sit with this.

The third educational environment I hope to look at will be a school, which has an ambivalent, unformulated  or nascent approach to Social Networking and technology in education.  This will be Bishop Challoner School, a large mixed comprehensive and the countries first federated school for pupils aged 11-19, located in Shadwell, in the borough of Stepney, London.

The school has recently been rebuilt and offers state of the art accommodation for its students. I examined some of the contradictions and complexity of such a rebuild and school in my Masters dissertation (2009).

The question I have chosen is rooted in the notion that the fostering of creative capability within the individual such as that detailed within ‘All Our Futures’ by Ken Robinson and the ultimate success of the ‘innovation economy’ (1) which will be crucial to the continued success and influence of developed countries such as the UK, is essential to enable our continuing competitiveness in coping with the rise to prominence and indeed the inevitable dominance of countries such as China and India, and to enable us to deal with the complex issues of a globalised society.

The objective of the research is to show that allowing ‘networked cultures’ (2) to flourish and indeed encouraging them within institutionalised education settings is crucial to our success and in fact survival in the face of these complex global problems and to offer strategies to schools that so that they can engage with these technologies and use them positively for the benefit of learners and stakeholders.

Literature review

Rawls I came to after my Masters dissertation, especially his work on democracy, and this is an enduring fascination of mine. Dewey was the backbone of that piece of work with his invaluable work on the philosophy of education and the heritage of our liberal education system. Latour too in terms of his understanding the ‘Social’ which will be key to formulating a nuanced understanding of Social Networks, and I am also indebted to Robinson for his work on ’All Our Futures’ which informed the ‘Creative Partnerships’ initiative which is in some way addressing some of the concerns of the question I hope to research, how well I hope to be able to conclude at the end of this proposed piece of work.  I need to mention Becker and Schumpeter for their analysis of innovation economy and capitalism and the systems that these networks function within.

I have also looked briefly at ‘Connectivism’ and follow some of these debates as they unfold online, such as CCK11, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011. I am critical of this theory, and understand that the work of Siemens et al is very much contested, but follow this with interest.

I have made myself aware of educational theorists such as Piaget, Montessori, Erickson and Vgotsky, often taken for granted but always worth going back to in terms of any analysis of education and learning.

dana boyd I must mention for her work on Teen Sociality in Networked Publics which has at least broken the terrain in this area.

Also crucial to me has been Tiziana Terranova and her work on ‘Network Culture Politics for the Information Age’.

Charlie Leadbeater is a thinker and writer who I found inspirational when I was doing my Masters, particularly his work: ‘We Think’-though I realise that if I am to write a successful research piece I need to interrogate such assumptions critically and my admiration of them.

In terms of the Networked Society, examining Clay Shirkey, Donna Harraway, Ray Kurzweil, Geert Lovink and of course Tim Berners Lee have and will pay dividends.

I am also very much aware of Ivan Illich, on the radar as a key thinker who has inspired the founders of ‘the School of Everything’, a web 2.0 ebay solution for learning that formed part of the focus of my Masters Dissertation and people such as Andy Gibson, Tessy Britton, Dougald Hine, Bridget Mckenzie, Alison Powell, David Jennings and indeed Professor David Gauntlet who I follow in the blogosphere and have had the good fortune to meet and share thoughts and idea in terms of ‘learning’ which we understanding to be quite separate from ‘education’ at the ‘Unplugged’ meetings at the Festival Hall every Wednesday morning

Research Question

Does the use of Social Networking technology have a positive impact on ‘learner identity’ and allow learners to flourish in a way that learning environments that do not have access to this technology do not? How might these environments be encouraged or duplicated so that ‘best practice’ can be captured and replicated?


Research Techniques

I would work by trying to find the informal methods that students themselves develop-these may be called invisible learning environments-and look for systems that sustain and support those to see how they might be encouraged and acknowledged.

I would examine a school that has put in place such environments formally and try to see what the problems and successes were with this approach and speak to the students as to their attitudes to authority or the establishment co-opting what many commentators sees as the young peoples’ terrain. (3)

I would talk to people who are trying to develop such software for learning-such as is being developed by Nodle Soft and the project Red Balloon-the issues that they are having developing their Virtual Learning Environment particularly concerning training issues of staff.

I will interview school students to see what their attitude is to Social Networking (maybe they want and see it as separate from their learning perhaps-so therefore how do they construct and see themselves as learners-which is one of the key questions of this research).  I will use visual communication research methods to encourage the participants to give more developed and complex considered responses.

This is a creative approach (visual communication research) as developed by Professor David Gauntlet amongst others and might be possible to use within Social Networking environments and with digital technologies to create new virtual research environments and perhaps potentially to model the kind of learning environments that this kind of research envisages or champions (the extension of secondary schools into more ‘informal’ or ‘self-organised’ learning environments-the fostering of the desire and inclination to learn in the students who are progressing through those institutions).

Ethnographic participation-observing the interaction and participation of students in networked spaces-I might have to facebook ‘friend’ students-this has ethical implications, I am aware this would have to be carefully structured.

Speaking to PGCE courses that train teachers to try to see if they have taken on board any of these changes in networked publics yet (for example Doctor Vicky Obied at Goldsmiths College)-to try to understand what the next generation of teachers coming through’s attitude are to this technology.

Examining government policy such as the Rose Review (4) and the Wolf Report (5).

Interviewing teachers who are enthusiastic of advocates for these technologies sourced through my own ‘Twitter connections’: @creativeducator and @lucyjohnson, also the network I have developed through my own teaching practice.

Leveraging all my social networks, online and otherwise to source participants, interviewees, I may call on people such as David Jennings, Andrew Davis, Fred Garnett, Bridget Mckenzie, Dougald Hine, Patrick Hadfield, and other people who are involved with the ‘Everything Unplugged’ facebook group.  Also the people who are connected with the ‘Education For The Crisis’ (#E4C) group.

References and bibliography

 1) Gary Becker

2) Tiziana Terranova

3) dana boyd

4)  Rose Review

5) Wolf Report

Human Capital- Gary Becker

Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics-

dana boyd

Democracy and Education-John Dewey

Making is Connecting-David Gauntlet

Reassembling The Social-Bruno Latour

We Think-Charles Leadbeater

Weaving The Web-Tim Berners Lee

An Introduction to Economics with Emphasis on Innovation, Pol, E Carroll, P, Joseph Schumpeter

Piaget’s Theory-Jean Piaget

A Theory of Justice-John Rawls

The Element-Ken Robinson

Network Culture: Politics For The Information Age-Tiziana Terranova

WikiQuals Activity

Time table

Year One: consolidate research methods-a) decide places for focused data collection, b) decide the way I will be collecting data, c) make ethical contact with participants. As of October 2012 I am enrolled on Educational Enquiry through the Open University to give me a grounding in research methodology.

Formulate introduction and detailed plan for literature review, begin chapter on research methods.

Year Two: carry out main study, begin data collection, initial opinions, ideas, establish emergent theories. Literature understood and familiarised so that meaningful lines of enquiry established.  First draft of thesis underway.

Year Three: write up, complete data collection, thorough understanding of relevant literature.  Describe research procedures and methods.  Final draft completed

WikiQuals Publications;

A thesis, a book, publications-perhaps to disseminate Master’s research more widely.

WikiQuals Support;

I want help with developing and clarifying methodology, also defining and developing action research and enquiry based learning,   I am interested in seeing how educational institutions maybe extended into the community-connections for example with people who in fact have learning difficulties (and so are not in main stream education) and who supposedly cannot learn or at the very least have difficulties with learning.  Also how learning over the internet and using technology maybe used to extend the traditional ‘school’-but in a more ‘rhizomatic’ paradigm rather than the ‘top down’ model of most mainstream educational provision.

November 2012-please find below a proposal for a ‘participatory art project‘ that I wish to work towards along side my ‘Wikiqual’.

Description of proposal-

digital suss-Digital Literacy for the Nation-a participatory art project to be lead by Lucy Johnson

This will be an informal ‘digital learning pop up’ in a disused shop to be accompanied by a book and exhibition at the end of the project in the same space which I propose will run for roughly a month – the book will be an ABC of Social Media in the style of the ‘Ant and Bee’ books-the book will be co-created by the artist team and local people involved in the project.

The pop up space will be a forum for interested people-be they youngsters into making digital music or older people who want to keep in touch with their grandchildren.  At The Magdalen Street Festival in Norwich we recently successfully piloted this idea and used the day’s event as an incubation space for testing our ideas with the local people who came along to enjoy the day’s events at the festival.  It went well and we received some interesting and worthwhile feedback, which will assist in taking the project forward.

Artistic Rationale

We will use a participatory approach.  We will draw on recent successful artistic interventions by artists such as Jeremy Dellar and his involvement with working class communities to produce a variety of mixed media artwork as co-creation.

Proposed Methodology

The project will begin with a pop up shop where people can come and meet and engage with the project, which will start as a workshop space and from this workspace will come a book that will be co-created over a month leading to a book launch. Accompanying this will be an exhibition of photos, video and mixed media collage..

We will need computers and video cameras although a lot of people will have this capability because of their mobile phones and the project seeks to use such ‘found’ or ‘amateur’ footage.  We will also need paper for printing photos for the exhibition, some money for publicity materials that will need to be printed on a slightly larger scale than can be afforded by domestic equipment, such as banners and larger digital photographs to give the final show some real impact and ‘wow’ factor.

I have already invested considerably in the project. I have produced a banner, which I used at ‘The Magdalen Street Festival’ and a facebook page and Twitter feed ‘creativeducator’ which is actively used and logo to ‘brand’ the project: ‘digital suss-Digital Literacy for the Nation’.  The project does not start from a blank sheet but from carefully considered ideas about bringing digital literacy to communities which may not yet have a particularly ‘pro-social’ use of these digital tools-hence the only too real problems for young people such as ‘cyber-bullying’ which this intervention aims to combat.

Proposed participants

Local people-the more diverse the better.  I would start with a school-the pupils who study there and then break out to parents AND teachers. I especially like to work with people who have learning difficulties so I would want to factor in these people’s participation too.  This is an inclusive project, which aims to bring people together.

Proposed Outcomes

The aimed for outcome is improved digital literacy and to facilitate better engagement between participants in the real world through a more positive and knowledgeable use of the digital platforms that they may take for granted and are very seductively pitched at them by big business (for example a more nuanced understanding of ‘digital reputation’ or ‘digital footprint’ or the implications of ‘big data’ for example).  In my experience as a teacher of Media Studies there is a dearth of understanding and learning opportunities, which would give people the tools to make the best use of digital platforms, so this is what this project seeks to address.


2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Designing for Discontinuities « WikiQuals

  2. Pingback: Educational Enquiry E891 An Open University Course-precusor to a Doctorate in Education-EdD | digital suss

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