Australian Teachers of Media

In July earlier this year I spoke at this conference. My talk was called: The Media in Everyday Life: Learning and the Dis/Connected Home and drew on the year –long ethnography into the ‘learning lives ‘ of 13-14 year olds in London. Focusing on the everyday, quotidian, domesticated and routine uses of media in the home, I described how learning is constructed, mediated and enacted in six families showing how these families adopt and use folk ‘theories of learning’ in the home, and how such theories relate to dominant discourses around learning in school. I examined how media technologies – especially how they are purchased and how they are located in the home – also contributed to dominant conceptualizations of learning and at times almost seemed to stand for a proxy measure of it. Thirdly, I drew on observations and accounts of how learning is enacted as a discipline and as a habit within the ebb and flow of family life. I aimed to question assumptions about how we talk about learning in the home by showing that who defines learning in domestic contexts, and on what basis, is subject to a series of class-based, inherited and aspirational discourses and imaginaries.

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Blogging – Digital Media Learning

I am now blogging for the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. I will be covering a range of topics and themes relating to informal learning, digital making, media education and digital culture. My post are available here.

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Maker Bridge Webinar series

Today is the first of three webinars exploring digital making and maker communities. The website for the series can be found here. This series s brings together initiatives, experiences, academic understanding and practitioner expertise around the field of digital making.

We will host three online events during May and June 2013 to develop resources and conversations that are explicitly international and bring together expertise and experience from the US and the UK.

The Series asks: what is new about digital making now? Why is it important? How does digital making relate to other forms of creativity? How can we best organise digital making for children and young people? Is digital making difficult to teach? What is happening in digital maker communities and how can we link schools and young people to them?

My report about the series is available here.

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Mapping Digital Makers: a review exploring everyday creativity, learning lives and the digital

This review maps the theory, practices and policies that underpin our understanding
of digital makers and digital making in relation to young people. It investigates what we know about the relation between what young people do today with digital technologies and what they then might do when they grow up, and when they join the workforce. It explores: creative and making experiences undertaken by young people by themselves or with their friends and in production-focused communities; an analysis of theories of learning underpinning digital making interventions across the full spectrum of educational provision; and formal policy documents and public pronouncements around digital creativity.

It offers three key recommendations:

  •  exploring, anatomising, and theorising digital creativity as an integrated concept across, as part of, and as discrete from other creative production disciplines;
  • modelling growth, developments and progression in creative people (or people engaged in making and devising) as they move across and between different life- course experiences;
  • and the need to invest in and share systematic accounts of learning digital creativity in a range of educational locations (at home, in the community, at school, college, university and at work), including case studies and quantitative measures in order develop a more consistent evidence base to support on-going initiatives.

It was commissioned by The Nominet Trust and is available here.

You can hear a podcast of the launch event held 12th March 2013 here and a webcast here.

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Connected Learning Synthesis Report

The  Connected learning ResearcH Network, of which i am a member has now produced a synthesis report exploring the principles and design of connected learning. It is available here.

The press release for the report can be found  here.

The Digital Media Learning Research hub is here.

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Webinar – 5th December 2012 – Learning in out of school contexts

A recording of this event is available here.

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Revisiting Learning Lives: longitudinal perspectives on literacy in educational research

Jennifer Rowsell from Brock University  and I recently led this SSHRC funded symposium in Toronto, November 7th-9th 2012. Working with participants from Canada, the UK, the US and Australia we explored the theoretical and practical challenges involved in revisiting broadly defined literacy research subjects and /or sites from the past.

Our starting point was that it would be interesting and generative to revisit research subjects who we worked with over the last 10/20 years. We invited about a dozen well-known and early career scholars  in broadly speaking case study accounts of literacy (loosely defined in New Literacy Studies frame)  to participate in the seminar. We suggested that participants needed to be able to locate and meet up with the ‘actors’ who peopled their account(s), or a least one of them and review with them:

–       either the longer term nature of current literacy practices seeking to contextualise your contemporary accounts

–       and/or their current reflections on the kinds of intervention or project you worked with them in the past

–       and/or how lifecourse experiences may have shifted some of their earlier literacy practice orientations – the travel and traversal[1] of their literacy practices

–       and/or how the current digital regime have may have offered new and different opportunities for those earlier literacy practices

–       -and/or how revisiting these research subjects may reveal underlying trends about current literacy practices in general.

We will be publishing and disseminating our work in the near future.

[1] Lemke, J. (2000). Across the scales of time: Artefacts, activities, and meanings in ecosocial systems. Mind, Culture and Activity, 7 (4), 273–290.


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From Creative Learning to Creative Lives: Contextualising the Youth and Community Non-Formal Education Sector

I gave this talk at the Vancouver Digital Media Ecologies Research Symposium. I argued that the place of ‘not-school learning organisations is firmly if unequally established as part of the ‘ecologies’ of educational provision in many cities across the developed world. In many of these initiatives there is an interest in and commitment to a range of creative actives, art , drama and forms of media making. There is a small if problematic research literature describing and characterising learning in such centres and spaces. In this talk I reflected on what it means to talk about learning out side of the school and explored the significance of some ‘creative biographies’ – examining the effect over time on people who participate in such initiatives when young and what difference it might make to them from a life-long perspective.

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Dis/connected Learning: the social worlds of young people in the digital age

This is the title of a talk I recently gave  in Vancouver at the Harbour Centre to a joint audience from Simon Fraser University and University of British Colombia. I explored three aspects of ‘The Class’. (1) learning in the home (2) learning music outside the school and (3) the social and learning capital made visible through social network analysis.

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Identity, Community, and Learning Lives in the Digital Age – New Publication

This book co-edted by myself and Ola Erstad has just been published by Cambridge University Press. You can order it here.

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