Vol. 13 - Issue 1 2017 - ISSN 1504-4831
Friday, 19 April 2024

Ethics, methods and diversity in the use of new media

Yngve Nordkvelle

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This issue presents six papers covering a wide range of topics. It demonstrates how varied and encompassing the research in these matters are. Our authors this time come from Mexico, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Finland, Norway and the UK. The topics in this issue range from how students use the Internet in such diverse countries as Mexico and Finland, and we also offer an analysis the effect on one computer per students has in Swedish secondary schools. The language used on digital publishing contexts is an important topic covered in a politically inspired article. Three articles have a more methodological interest: two of them are about the ethnographies of communities of learning, and about teachers using videos in their professional development. The last one is about ethical matters, a topic all too seldom covered in publications about new media and Internet. The wider context is the use of digital storytelling with groups of people who need particular protection because they may be more vulnerable, due to a health condition.

Pip Hardy is a co-founder of “The Patient Voices Programme” and has since 2003 provided opportunities for new ways of expressing problems related to health through new digital media. Digital Storytelling is a successful method for making people express their ideas and emotions about health matters. Her paper “First do no harm: developing an ethical process of consent and release for digital storytelling in healthcare” explains how the process of caring and protecting participants through the process of producing and sharing their results. The activity of the programme is directed towards health practitioners as well as patients and their families. In her PhD-project at Manchester Metropolitan University, she also elaborates and refines the strategies for the protection of patients rights and ownership to their own stories.The paper describes how that process has been developed and explores the issues that it was designed to address.

Catarina Player-Koro and Martin Tallvid both work at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Their paper has the title: “Title One Laptop on Each Desk: Teaching Methods in Technology Rich Classrooms”. Their article takes its point of departure from the main findings from research in four upper secondary schools where one laptop is given each student and reports on a deeper analysis of four classrooms that are part of the empirical study. The theoretical and empirical analysis argues that technology plays a lesser part than the deeper structures of teaching, learning and education, and that change does not happen as easily as those enthusiastic about such initiatives often think.

Rune Johan Krumsvik and Lise Øen Jones, both from the University of Bergen, Norway, presents the article called “Digital Learning Aids for Nynorsk Pupils in School: - A Politically Sensitive Area or a Question of a Deeper Scientific Understanding of Learning?“ The paper focuses on the bilingual situation in Norway. The Norwegian language situation is exceptional because the nation has two written standards, Bokmål (majority variety) and Nynorsk (minority variety), and both the Education Act and the Norwegian Directorate of Education require that publishers provide parallel editions of all paper-based and digital learning aids for pupils. In spite of good intentions the reality is that the minority language, is much less provided for on digital platforms. The paper analyses the situation and argues that there is in deed time to think radically and new about the situation.

Filitsa Dingyloudi and Jan-Willem Strijbos, both from Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunich, present their paper called “Examining value creation in a community of learning practice: Methodological reflections on story-telling and story-reading”. They claim that despite the abundant research on communities in various shapes and settings, examination of what community members gained from their participation remains an uncertain issue. The paper reports from an experiment where they analyzed stories and the expression of values. They asked two questions: (1) To what extent can the values that the participants originally intended to report be identified as such by the researchers/analysts’ without bias due to the researchers/analysts’ own perspectives? and (2) To what extent does a theoretically-driven pre-defined typology of values confine or enrich the range of possible values that can be identified?

Clemens Wieser of the University of Graz, Austria, introduces us to his paper with the title: Technology and ethnography – will it blend? Technological possibilities for fieldwork on transformations of teacher knowledge with videography and video diaries”. Using video to document teachers’ work has been used for decades. This paper describes how teachers may use videos as a sort of «self-technology» to reflect on their own acts in the classroom in order to improve their style and practice of teaching. Videos are also helpful to show how teachers do their planning and preparation in many other settings outside school, and can provide a richer texture for understaning the life of teachers. Wieser explains how teachers who operate with self-technologies may help scaffold the transformation of personal knowledge into practical knowledge.

Miguel Santiago  of the UniversityofOulu and PirkkoHyvönen, who is affiliated to both UniversityofOuluandUniversityofLapland in Finland, present their joint paper “Website Preferences of Finnish andMexicanUniversityStudents:A Cross-Cultural Study”. The paper offers a cross-cultural study that shows similarities and differences that occur both because of different cultural as well as economical conditions in such different countries as Finland and Mexico. Thestudyexplores how university students use the Internet and whattype of influencethe Internet has onthem in such varying contexts.