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Networked learning and digital technology

Jones, Chris (2012). Networked learning and digital technology. In: 8th International Conference on Networked Learning 2012, 02-04 April 2012, Maastricht, Netherlands.

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Abstract

Networked learning has been defined in the Networked Learning conference series as being based on the use of Information and Communication Technology. The term networked learning acknowledges one aspect of this relationship to computing and to networked computing in particular. This paper explores the relationship of networked learning to technology using an alternative characterisation of new technologies, the term digital, and asks what kinds of implications the digital nature of current technologies have for networked learning. The paper explores the idea of technology and suggests that the term can be used in a number of different ways. It suggests that digital technologies are complex technologies that imply a degree of modularity and recursiveness. The paper suggests that in learning technology digital technology is usually met as part of an infrastructure, understood as a sociotechnical system. The paper argues that despite this complexity there are analytically discernable features of digital technologies that can be thought of as affordances.

Using two lenses the paper examines current usage of the idea of the digital in terms of digital natives and digital literacy (-ies) and argues that both ideas are inclined towards technologically determinist outlooks. The paper also notes the particular feature of rapid change in relation to digital technologies and how the nature of the evolution of digital technology relates to digital literacy. The paper concludes by suggesting that research into networked learning needs to take the nature of the digital seriously. A more detailed understanding needs to be developed of what kinds of affordances digital technologies make available. These need to take into account the different meanings of technology and encompass the purposes of digital technologies, the ways they are arranged in assemblages and the way they present themselves as an entire collection of devices in a culture. If insufficient attention is paid to the digital bedrock of technologies then determinist readings of the effects of technology that are based on accounts that are uncritical and lacking in any detailed understanding of digital technologies will prevail.

Item Type: Conference Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 Chris Jones
Extra Information: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Networked Learning 2012,
Edited by Vivien Hodgson, Chris Jones, Maarten de Laat, David McConnell, Thomas Ryberg & Peter Sloep
ISBN 978-1-86220-283-2
pp.456-463
Keywords: technology; digital technology; networked learning; affordance; digital native; digital literacy; agency
Academic Unit/Department: Institute of Educational Technology
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 33552
Depositing User: Chris Jones
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2012 08:19
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2012 06:47
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/33552
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