In January 2005 we were a group of enthusiastic academics who wanted to publish critical papers about media, technology and lifelong learning. We found a technological platform for publishing journal articles, did the necessary preparatory work for the journal to be registered, referenced and accepted as a formal Norwegian publication. Over the last decade we have published about 100 papers from Australia, Europe, Asia and North America. We have developed the video abstract as a genre and set some standards for open access publishing in Norway. We have collaborated with academics, groups and activists in the field of media education in order to promote new and challenging topics, and have managed, in our own opinion, to publish papers of wide interest and relevance. By using “Seminar.net” as the formal name of the journal, we intended to honor the idea of the seminar, which was first introduced as a teaching method at the university of Halle, in Germany in the late 17th century. The Seminar was a successful method, which opened for the voice of the participants, not only the professors, but for everyone taking part in the discourse.
In this issue we introduce four papers who are all significant contributions to the field.
Professor Norm Friesen, currently at the University of British Columbia, discusses the notion of “old” and “new” literacies in his paper “Old Literacies and the “New” Literacy Studies: Revisiting Reading and Writing”. The aim of the paper is to raise critical questions regarding contemporary and dominant theories of “literacies”. Professor Friesen expands the views of literacies with findings from recent archeological research and relates this to the current regime of testing and standardizing literacies in schooling. The paper concludes by “… considering the broad implications of these findings, and of the concomitant normative investment of education to established textual forms and standards.”
Professor Andreas Lund, Associate professor Jonas Bakken and associate professor Kirsti Engelien, University of Oslo propose in their article ”Teacher education as design: technology-rich learning trajectories and environments” that student teachers need to be prepared to initiate, design and develop new practices in teaching and learning. The paper examines the challenges that teacher education is facing “…when both the amount of information and its complexity are increasing due to the growing use of technology”. They argue for a richer view of technology than what they find in policy papers and didactic literature. They relate this discussion to a case of how the use of a wiki and testing out a new type of exam might demonstrate how their concept of teacher education as design might prove fruitful.
Philosophical speech act theory and challenges in interactive dialogue: Experiences of narrow communication
Professor Halvor Nordby of Lillehammer University College uses philosophical speech act theory in his article “Philosophical speech act theory and challenges in interactive dialogue: Experiences of narrow communication”. His contribution highlights the problems that remain with producing meaningful and sufficient communication when solving problems in health care. His primary concern is how paramedics communicate and often fail to communicate well with their centres for radio communication. He interprets data from his research on how to improve communicative skills for the training of paramedics.
Comparing the use of computer-supported collaboration tools among university students with different life circumstances
Miikka J. Eriksson is university lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland, and Päivi Rasi and Hanna Vuojärvi are university lecturers at the University of Lapland, Finland. Their article “Comparing the use of computer-supported collaboration tools among university students with different life circumstances” discusses how higher education in Finland deals with the fact that an increasing number of students in higher education integrate their learning activities with various life circumstances such as employment or raising children. Their study aims to compare whether and what kinds of differences exist between the perceived use of synchronous and asynchronous computer-mediated communication tools among university students with children or in full-time employment and students without these commitments. They found in their study that students adjust differently to their complex life situations. They suggest that “..pedagogical choices should support different kinds of learning strategies. Students with multiple commitments, and especially students with children, should be encouraged and assisted to create stronger ties with their peers, if they are willing to do so”.