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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

For a Special Issue on
Digital Technology and Networked Spaces in Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

Manuscript deadline
30 September 2022

Cover image - Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

Special Issue Editor(s)

Jack Reed, The University of Edinburgh
[email protected]

Imre van Kraalingen, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
[email protected]

Dave Hills, University of the Sunshine Coast and Griffith University
[email protected]

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Digital Technology and Networked Spaces in Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

The place and management of digital and mobile technologies within the field(s) of adventure education and outdoor learning have received increasing attention in both literature and practice. We recognise that the social and educational contexts of outdoor education are increasingly subject to an array of technological and networked architectures. These architectures, which we take to include mobile technology, networked spaces, and broader digital infrastructures, may now play a central role in how outdoor learning is delivered and how the outdoor learning experience is received.

Turning to the literature, the early works of Strong (1995) and Conover and Conover (1995) take the position that technology diminishes the experience of learning in the outdoors by making it more comfortable and readily consumable. Since then, a for-and-against argument often emerges, with technology in outdoor learning described as a double-edged sword (Cuthbertson et al., 2004). This theme was captured in van Kraalingen’s (2021) systematised review on mobile technology in outdoor learning. Through interrogating 33 articles, it was discovered that whilst some papers present technology as an opportunity in outdoor learning, others argue that technology threatens experiential quality or cite concerns around safety and complexity. Meanwhile, when discussing innovation in outdoor education, Beames (2017) argues that technology that increases student connection to people and place should be incorporated, whilst technology that distorts these connections may “add unwanted layers of clutter” (p. 4). The pedagogical affordances of digital technology in outdoor learning were later mapped by Hills and Thomas (2020) in their ‘Digital Technology and Outdoor Experiential Learning Framework’ (DTOEL 2.0). The above literature provides a foundation to this call for papers. It demonstrates an at times disparate literature base which positions digital technology as a critical consideration within 21st century outdoor learning.

How networked spaces and digital infrastructures fit within the purposes and outcomes of outdoor learning, alongside how such spaces and infrastructure affect how students experience the outdoors, has received less scholarly attention within outdoor studies (Reed, 2021). We know that participants in outdoor learning are positioned within complex and fluid technological societies (Selwyn & Stirling, 2016; Lindgren, 2022) and, perhaps critically, we also know that mobile technology and social media play important roles in the lives of young people (e.g., MacIsaac et al., 2018). As boyd (2010; 2014) discusses, there are layers of social and cultural complexity when considering how the lives of young people intersect with what they describe as ‘networked publics’. Indeed, through access to an infinite array of online gaming, mobile technology, and social media, Montgomery (2015) asked: “How will growing up in this highly connected, data-driven culture affect the way that young people are socialized?” (p. 269). More recently, Reed (2021) highlighted how, regardless of a facilitator's decision to include or exclude technology, students will start and finish their outdoor experience within “a fluid and hyper-networked society” (p. 29) that is beyond the control of the facilitator.  Understanding the role of networked spaces in outdoor education is therefore of critical importance when considering how networked environments are increasingly where relationships, communities, and family may be found and engaged with at any given moment.

Submission Instructions

This call for papers invites contributions that consider the place, management, and impact of digital technology and networked spaces in outdoor learning from conceptual, pedagogical, and participant perspectives. We ask for articles situated within adventure education and outdoor learning, and welcome contributions from the wide range of scholarly fields which consider technology and networked spaces in society. The editorial team welcome articles that are empirical, philosophical, or theoretical.

Contributions should be submitted in the usual way to the journal as they will be subject to the normal rigorous process of peer review (see http://www.tandfonline.com/raol). However, those wishing to be considered for inclusion in the special issue should indicate this clearly on their submission. It is intended to produce the special edition during 2023. Articles of high quality that are not able to be included in the special edition may, with the authors’ agreement, be published in other issues of the journal.

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