Finland

Participants from Finland
During year 2016-2017 the participants were 26 students on the 6th class and their teacher Katariina Stenberg in Viikki University Training School

 

The project will continue with Kata and her new students who are on their 5th class.

Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki
http://www.vink.helsinki.fi/index.php?del=0&id=911

Researchers

Dr Minna Ruckenstein, University of Helsinki, Department of Political and Economic Studies, Consumer Society Research Centre

Dr Katariina Stenberg, Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki

Dr Riikka Hohti, University of Helsinki, University of Oulu

The importance of acknowledging students’ ownership

 The padlet task and the peer circle in Kata’s class, 6th grade.

In the padlet task, the students took photos and wrote texts under the title “Me and my mobile phone”. The aim was to provide the children a space to tell about their relationship with their smartphones. Before the task, there was a phase of warming up: the children were standing in two circles and talking face-to-face in pairs exchanging questions and answers. After discussing each other for two minutes, the students moved to talk with a new peer.

The instructions of the peer circle were:

  • Show your phone to your pair and tell about it: How did you get it? Are you satisfied with it? Why did you choose that type (Samsung/Iphone etc,). What technical problems have you faced with it and so on.
  • Show your applications to your pair: what are your favorite ones and why you use them? On what purposes you use your phone?
  • Are you addicted to your phone? What happens if you are not able to use your phone? Have you been without your phone? Do you find it easy? Why or why not?

In reflecting afterwards we noticed that this phase before the actual working using padlet was important. Why? The discussion flew freely and the atmosphere was lively. The kids could talk about their favorite applications. There was a boy who presented his pizza call app with great enthusiasm! The teacher joined the discussion. They had the phones as concrete items in their hands, but their discussion spread to cover their lives broadly when talking about how they use their phones. Without this phase the padlet task could have been understood by the kids just as another school task, as now the task went on with great engagement.

 

What did we learn? Whenever touching the subject of mobile technologies, teachers need to take into account that students have their own knowledge and in many cases much broader experiences about them than we assume.

 

 

 

Beyond Technology at the AVPC conference, 17.-18.6.2017, Aalborg

Our project was shared at the annual Association for Visual Pedagogies Conference (http://www.avpc2017.aau.dk/) in three research presentations.

The project leader Kathrin Otrel-Cass (Aalborg University, Denmark) presented with a student from Sofiendalskole, Monica Sun. The presentation was entitled: Primary school students as co-researchers. Kathrin and Monica were sharing stories about students producing video recordings to share their insights into technology use. The main idea was that videos allow students to select and identify things that are important to them.

Dorina Gnaur (Denmark) presented a paper on digital didactic designs. Here, digital media play a decisive role in connecting students accross various learning and action spaces making the learning process follow the learner. In the case of school children, this would mean connecting activities outside school with what is going on in class and taking the teaching out of the classroom, in real life. Videos are an excellent means of transporting rich data across these spaces.

 

Riikka Hohti (Finland) talked in her presentation about children and smartphones in class. She used the concept of entanglement to think about the relationality and interdependencies of children’s digital activity. She also talked about the affective dimensions of boredom, addiction and vulnerability with the help of photographs and narratives.

Sweden

Participants from Sweden
This project is undertaken with 26 year 4 class students (school year 2016/2017) and their teacher Helena Björk at Ribbybergsskolan in Haninge. Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology participate as well.

Ribbybergsskolan
Ribbybergsskolan is situated in Haninge municipality, 15 minutes south of Stockholm. There are 520 students (6–12 year-olds) and about 55 teaching staff.
School’s website

Researchers
Dr Niall Seery, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Dr Eva Hartell, Utbildningsförvaltningen, Haninge kommun and KTH Royal Institute of Technology

 

Are we the only ones in Sweden? Wow! Year four students said in chorus when they were made aware of their participation.


Ribbybergsskolan

Learning from children

A group of 7.th grade children from Sofiendalsskolen agreed on including me in a group on social media so that I could learn to use these media the way the children are using it. Snapchat and Messenger came up as the most popular among children, and we agreed that Messenger was most appropriate because it saved the posts, whereas Snapachat could only be used for instant postings that could not be saved. I wanted to learn from the children how it was like to be part of a group on social media. We agreed to call the group “My mobile my life” and post things about what they do with technology. Here are some examples from Messenger:


creating a group mood


private use of my mobile


school use on a field trip


school use on a field trip

My experience was that the children were helpful in showing and allowing me to try out being part of the type of communication they were experts in. I learned that Snapchat is a way of sending momentary impressions to keep the contact to one another as if to reassure one another of being there somewhere. Chats and videos on Snapchat can contain some information or exchange, but mostly it is a way to ‘wave’ to one another and maintain the sense of who’s around? Messenger is used for communication and for messages with more content or information or questions, etc.

What I also learned, was that you, as an adult, can be allowed to visit children’s favorite media, but you remain a visitor and better not pretend otherwise. I made some attempts to mimic their playful ways of interacting, and they were kind enough to play back, but such attempts never live on for very long. I am however grateful to have been allowed to peep inside and get a feeling of how youth communicate on their social media of choice. So far, the way it makes sense to me, is that social media gives children an opportunity to create psychological and social presence and maintain a sense of belonging. But then again, this is an outsider’s view, the truth is with the users…

Recording films on mobile phones gives students voice

What we did

We asked students to make videos where they share with us how they use their mobile phones. We asked them to do this either on their phones or using video cameras they had. We received a selection of videos – not from all children – but from the children who felt comfortable to share their stories and often from students who worked together as a group. The production of videos didn’t seem to be too complicated for the students, the video material was at times edited and prepared at quite a sophisticated level.

 

Our reflection on how it went

  • We used students’ videos in an attempt to work closer with them and to identify different opportunities for dialogue
  • We felt that video productions orchestrated by children provide more opportunities for ‘giving voice’
  • The video productions allowed the children to give insights also into creative interpretations of young people’s experiences, feelings and how they see themselves operating amongst adults
  • However, we are aware that this is still an orchestrated process, largely steered by adults (researchers/teachers) and their interests and categories (James 2007)
  • Students have acted within the bounds of defined school community practices

 

Take away message for researchers

Young people need to have more opportunities to share with researchers (adults) their ideas to show what they know and can do.

Tangled FX 2.1 (20 Jun 2017, 07.44.08)
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Recording films on mobile phones gives children and young people the opportunity to select and capture, edit and share stories in creative and personal ways.

Tangled FX 2.1 (20 Jun 2017, 07.44.27)
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Films produced this way provide an opportunity to discuss and find out more, about a given topic but also about the person/s. and their ideas. We found this worked really well when we asked children to tell us about the role mobile phones play in their lives.

Tangled FX 2.1 (20 Jun 2017, 07.45.23)
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My phone in my life

What we did:
We asked the students in the 4th grade to write about their phones and how they use them.

The text should be based on the following topics:

The best thing about my phone
The bad thing about my phone
What I use it for
How I can use it in school

 

 

Reflection:
When we asked them to write about their phones they were excited. When they actually were allowed to take them out of their bags to draw a picture of them they could hardly believe it! According to their school’s policy they are not allowed to use their phones while they are in school but an exception can be made if the teacher allows them to use it for schoolwork.

When we read their stories it was obvious that they use it a lot but almost never to make phonecalls. They use it to visit social media to communicate with their friends, watch Youtube and play games on different apps. They also use it to text someone. It is also very obvious that they really like their phones and the only negative part about them is when they don´t work the way they are supposed to.

In terms of school work most of them suggested that they could use the calculator during math class but that was about it. Since mobile phones are prohibited during the school day at Ribbybergsskolan- we interpret that this limits their thoughts and imagination on what to use them for. This is something that we can develop together with students during this project but we still have to consider the rules that are set for the school.