On 3/7 Changing Social Spaces of #literacies and Learning

Guest hosts this week are Nate Phillips (@nathancphillips) and Ty Hollett (@tyhollett).

Meet them here: Nate and Ty

Find the Chat Archive here…and continue the conversation below!

The title for our chat, “Changing Social Spaces of #literacies and Learning,” comes from a review article Nate wrote with Kevin Leander (@kevtweet) and Katie Headrick Taylor (@KayteeTaylor)a couple years ago (Review of Research in Education, vol. 10). We aimed to review literatures that troubled a tethered, bounded, or static view of learning and considered learning, instead, as mobile, as always constituted by and through flows. As a way of introducing our concerns in that article, we wrote:

“Herein lies our concern with mobilities—because evolving social systems and distributions involving resources for learning that are on the move, or constantly configured and reconfigured, and because people are on the move within such social systems and distributions, then the examination of learning involves an expanded series of questions concerning learning, space, and time. An entire category of inquiry concerns the constitution of places for learning. How do people (on the move) build qualitatively distinct relations with different learning “environments”? What does it mean to recast the notion of the “learning environment” to “learning-in-place”? (Leander et al., 2010, p. 331)

That’s what we’re interested in discussing in the #literacies chat on March 7. But our topic might better be introduced in the words (paraphrased here) of a high school sophomore girl we’ll call Sarah. Ty recently interviewed her as she, and other youth, prepared to design a learning space at a local library:

She spoke of school as a dead-space, a holding cell of sorts where she really couldn’t work: the lighting was weird, the desks hard and uncomfortable, the noise (and silence) overwhelming. She needed to leave school to learn, to find a place for herself where she could really get to work. School, for her, was just a place to get the work, not a place to do it.

For youth like Sarah:

  • What would equitable spaces of learning look like?
  • How can educators think about #literacies across space(s) and place(s)?
  • What needs to change in the ways we theorize pedagogy, research, learning, and #literacies?

With that as introduction, we’re hoping to dive into a rich conversation (is that possible on Twitter?) about #literacies and learning through a spatial/mobile/geographies lens.

More Questions to Consider:
The idea of an imagined geography of education—the expectation of when and where learning should “take place” is both for educators and researchers. Here are a few questions that come up later in Review of Research in Education, vol. 10 article:

  • “How do youth differentially experience school as related to other places in their everyday geographies, and in their geographical histories?” (p. 383).
  • “To what degree do present studies of youths mobilities and learning account for their routine and constant traversals across material and virtual spaces, or the “always-on” presence of the virtual during face-to-face engagements?” (p. 383)
  • “To what degree are liminal places and spaces, such as physical street scenes and virtual streets, key sites for learning and identity work?” (p. 384).
  • And finally, the article concludes with the following line:
  • “However, the locations of children, in and through which they learn, are not simple containers, are not bounded, and will not hold still” (p. 385). Is this true? Does youth literacy/learning take place on the move? In a container? Will it hold still? Should it hold still? What forces act upon youth to make them hold still? To contain them? To release them?

Here is a short list of resources that might help you to dig deeper into this if you’re interested. We included our scoop.it pages, so you can see what we’re thinking about at the moment. Please share more resources in the comments below!

  • Atlantic Cities: How the internet reinforces inequality in the real world. This article takes on the ways in which the digital and physical work together to structure our experience of place, leading to inequalities ranging from who can contribute to who can access.
  • Ty’s scoop.it page, Bridging Spaces for Learning, curates resources about the ways in which digital and physical spaces are layered on top of one another.
  • Nate’s scoop.it page, Maps are Arguments, is a home for maps found in popular media. The collection is intended to explore connections among geography, literacy, media, and learning. As you’ll see, all the maps are arguments.

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