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24 October 2021
20 May 2022
Rethinking the boundaries of learning in a digital age
Developments in digital media and mobile technologies that enable new ways for learners to move in and between settings, have implications for how we conceptualize and study learning (Sefton-Green & Erstad, 2017). There has been a growing interest in studying how learners move between settings and are positioned as learners in specific ways (Barron, 2006; Bricker & Bell, 2014; Leander, Phillips, & Taylor, 2010), and scholars have identified possible continuities and discontinuities in and between contexts of participation and learning (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Bronkhorst & Akkerman, 2016). In addition, challenges in how to define what a learning context is and how such contexts change over time have been emphasized (Biesta, Thorpe, & Edwards, 2009).
New developments in media and technologies (such as social media, apps, big data, learning analytics) necessitate a critical exploration of how boundaries and borders between different contexts for learning are understood and experienced by learners. In this field of research, we often operate with polarities such as online and offline, formal and informal, in and out of school, and education and work, while the technologies we use are becoming more and more borderless and polycontextual (Greenhow & Lewin, 2016; Leander & Lovvorn, 2006). For instance, smartphones enable young people to engage in social practices that are characterized by ‘anywhere, anytime’ connectivity. Thus, there is a need to theorize and empirically study how ‘boundaries’ can be understood in contemporary learning contexts.
Movement and connectivity might be understood as physical movement across time and space using diverse mediational means and technologies, or ways of blending online and offline activities, or as ways of drawing on resources across contexts when teachers bring knowledge and practices from students’ everyday life into the classroom discourse (Kumpulainen, Mikkola, & Jaatinen, 2014). However, technologies might also contribute to creating new tensions and challenges when moving across such boundaries in different ways (Säljö, 2010). Furthermore, digital technologies challenge the school as the crux for learning and development, since more informal environments, such as computer games, social media and other interest-driven activities can provide young people with rich communities to develop competences and knowledge necessary in the twenty-first century (Gilje & Silseth, 2019; Ito et al., 2018).
In this Special Issue, we are interested in building a collection of theoretical, methodological and empirical studies that enhances this field. We aim to bring together articles that investigate boundaries in and across both formal and informal settings for learning with new technology. We invite scholars to contribute with theoretical explorations and empirical studies focusing on what enacts educational boundaries in a digital age, by whom and for what purposes, and how this is experienced by learners. The contributions will provide theoretical, methodological and empirical developments to this field of research and promise to become key reference contributions for future research in this area.
The articles in this Special Issue will focus on issues such as:
- Boundaries of learning in a digital age, including the tensions, dilemmas and possibilities created
- Trajectories across different contexts using diverse technologies
- Interrelationships between online and offline learning and participation
- Digital technologies to rethink and expand notions of learning and teaching in schools
- Transcending polarities and borders between communities using digital media
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Interested authors are invited to send an abstract for the special issue (max 500 words), alongside brief CVs of the proposed authors by email to Ola Erstad & Kenneth Silseth by 24 October 2021:
Invitations to submit a full manuscript will be sent 19 November 2021, with full manuscripts due 20 May 2022. Please remember to select ‘special issue title’ when submitting your full manuscript to ScholarOne.
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