Skip to main content

MEDA

MEDIA AND EDUCATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE

MEDA PROJECTS

You can find information about a specific MEDA programme by clicking a project in the menu below.

MEDA

The ‘postdigital age’ is a notion that describes the disenchantment with the digital age and its promises, and the condition in which the possibility of alternative futures will inspire reflection and action. In our project, we want to investigate this condition and gain a clearer picture of its opportunities. This project is an inquiry into this ‘postdigital’ condition especially in relation to education.

The main goal of this project is to anticipate the challenges and the opportunities of the postdigital in higher education as these emerge from the responses to the digital discontent in education and elsewhere. The project challenges ideas based on false assumptions about the relationship between technological development, social change and education and, therefore, the influence and the interests of the political actors that endorse these ideas. 

This project is organized into five sub-projects, dealing with some of the most relevant dimensions of the postdigital from cross-disciplinary approaches. The sub-projects will explore: 

a.     The ongoing theoretical debate about the postdigital, 
b.     The challenges and opportunities associated to this notion in educational research, 
c.     The critical issues associated with ‘big’ and ‘social’ data analysis, 
d.     The (re)thinking and (re)development of social media platforms to combine data privacy, political participation and commercial viability in ways more compatible with democratic ideals, 
e.     The challenges associated with the increasing wealth of information and disinformation together with lacking information competence. 

The project team is cross-disciplinary and includes (in alphabetical order) PhD Owen Kelly, PhD Shuhua Liu, PhD Matteo Stocchetti, M.Ed. Tore Ståhl and D.Soc.Sc. Jonas Tana, running the project collegially. 

 

The evolution of communication technology is often described in terms of a powerful force of change. In this project we interrogate the role of this evolution on the educational functions of storytelling. Storytelling is one of the oldest form of communicative behavior: one that, throughout the history of humankind, participates in many important social activities, from religious rituals to informal communication. In this perspective it could be argued that, independently from cultural differences, the educational relevance of storytelling is a reflection of the importance of storytelling itself in the social construction of the real.

The main question we want to address here is about the direct and indirect impact of digital communication technologies on the educational role and functions of storytelling. In particular, we want to address three sets of interrelated questions: First, what are the functions of storytelling in education? Why is storytelling important on educational grounds? Second, what is the impact of digital technology on the functions of storytelling in education? Do these changes create conditions in education and in the broader society that require fundamental changes in the nature and processes of storytelling? To what extent, for example, does the incredulity of the ‘postmodern condition’ affect the social and educational functions of storytelling? Or are these changes overrated when it comes to the fundamental functions of this communicative practice? Third, what are the risks, challenges and opportunities associated with the impact of digital technologies on the traditional functions of storytelling?

Coherently with the mission of MEDA, in this project the focus is on practical problems, with conceptual or theoretical issues addressed only when strictly necessary to clarify the nature of these problems. Our main goal is to gather relevant information, knowledge and opinion concerning the past, present and future educational role of storytelling in the digital age for a primary audience of media and communication students, teachers and educators.

Project coordinator: Matteo Stocchetti

This project is inspired by the idea that no matter how disenchanted we may be about the democratic potential of digital technologies, that potential is not lost and applied research can give a fundamental contribution to its recovery. A core ambition of MEDA_Demos is to contribute to the revaluation of this potential through applied scientific research capable of improving the quantity and quality of political participation through digital media. Demos is a Greek word that, in the notion used here, indicates the people regarded as a political formation: a deliberative unit composed by formally equal members, willing and capable of performing organized collective action ultimately inspired by the effort of being master of its own destiny. In order to exist and survive, a democratic regime needs its demos as a body needs a soul to be alive. But demos can exists only if certain conditions are met. Coherently with the general guidelines of the MEDA programme, also in MEDA_Demos the focus is on those, among these conditions that are more closely connected to education. From this perspective, the reconstitution of the public sphere in the digital age is a challenge that has to do with the formation of individuals as well as with the political economy of communication media. Research activities in this project are performed in partnership with the Audience Research Office of Svenska Yle and include:

  • MEDA_Demos Survey, an exercise that once a year collect information concerning youths access and contributions to online news.

  • The analysis of readers comments to the online news of Svenska Yle.

The introduction of digital technologies in education has not only changed the practices of education but also, and most radically, the way we think, discuss and write about education. This project looks at the productive power, the ideological ramifications and the practical implications of the digital discourse(s) in education. More precisely, in this project we apply the conceptual framework of critical discourse analysis to the empirical study and the systematic discussion of the nature and direction of changes brought about by digital discourse on the meanings, identities, relations and functions constituting the educational process. In this perspective, there are at least two sets of distinctive but related topics that are of special interests: First, the way the experience of learning, teaching, and all that may be included in the educational and pedagogical process is represented in/through digital discourse and what are the differences with the representations of the pre-digital age. Second, the ideological roots, ramifications, implications etc. of these digital representations, in relation to issues usually associated to education such e.g. social change, agency, political participation, competence building, etc. In this project we are especially interested in looking at the way digital discourse in education affects:

  • Identities e.g. teacher, learner, education manager, youngster, etc.

  • Relations, e.g. teacher-student, teacher-managers, etc.

  • The nature and role of knowledge

  • The nature and role of culture

  • The nature and purpose of education

  • The meaning of learning, its nature, purpose, etc.

  • The role of notions such as ‘information’ or ‘data’ in pedagogical practices

  • The relative importance of labour in the life of individuals

  • The pedagogical implications of technocentric discourse in education

  • The meaning and social implications of ‘evaluation’ and evaluative practices of

    education in digital discourse

    Coherently with the mission of MEDA, in this collection we do not want to address the methodological, conceptual or theoretical issues relating to the analysis of discourse. Our main goal is rather that of bringing to a broader public the knowledge that this form of enquiry can offer in relation to the debate about the role of digital technology in education. The normative goal of this project is to inform and to help to understand the nature and implications of a complex phenomenon – the discursive representation of education in the

digital discourse – in order to foster informed and democratic participation to the politics of education. In this effort, we want to reach a public broader than that of those already familiar with Critical Discourse Analysis. Our audience should include all the stakeholders affected by the processes, changes, subversions we look at: teachers, educators, decision- makers, activists, but also scholars and researchers in the variety of relevant domains.

This project addresses the question of why people learn by asking another, more pertinent question:what do we mean by “people”?
We need to address this second question because of the implicit assumptions about “human nature”built into the industrialised education systems that have come to define education in the years afterFrederick Taylor’s Scientific Management first attracted the attention of those charged with educating the masses (Ross, 2010). These assumptions fly in the face of 100 years of research in the fields of literature, media ecology, painting, philosophy, psychology, theology, and latterly memetics and neuroscience (Kelly, 2015), and yet their reductionist logic is too little challenged .

We can find much to suggest that human consciousness, in the way we usually think about and describe it, constitutes a benign user illusion, and that people become fully socialised before they become individualised, to the extent that they ever do. From this perspective consciousness forms a narrative device related to our skills in meta-thinking and meta-feeling. We are “stories all the way down”.

This project will seek to draw together and evaluate the evidence pointing to these conclusions, and use it where applicable in the service of a genuinely post-Taylorist pedagogy. It will also seek to explore the use of digital tools for self-learning and self authoring.
Project coordinator: Owen Kelly
——————————–
Kelly, O. M. (2015). Ambient Learning & Self Authoship. Helsinki: Aalto University Press
Ross, E. W. (2010). Clockwork: Taylorism and its continuing influence on work and schooling. In E. Heilman (Ed.), Social studies and diversity teacher education: What we do and why we do it (pp. 33- 37). New York: Routledge.

Empirical evidence from the last 20 years of psychiatric research on the impact of digital technology on children and teen agers suggests that mediatized societies cannot afford to ignore the risks associated to excessive or inappropriate exposure to this technology (Committe on Public Education, 2001) (Council on Communication and Media, 2012)[1]. This research project aim at assessing the scope and intensity of these risks in the children and teen agers of Swedish speaking communities in Finland.

• [1] Available on line
at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/2/423.full.html and http://pediatri cs.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/09/27/peds.2010-1636 respectively.

Finnish society, as other advanced society, is highly mediatized: an increasing share of interpersonal relations and social life is mediated by a medium of some sort, most often a digital medium. The main question addressed in this project is the following: What is the role of the media in the practices or behaviours through which individuals try to preserve or improve their quality of life? Based on the insights of occupational therapy[2] and the approach of “salutogenics”[3], the scientific goal of thisproject is to collect, disseminate and possibly improve available knowledge on the role of digital technology on the social construction of the concept of quality of life and the practices, the needs and the aspirations associated to it.

This project addresses the pedagogical risks associated to the educational uses of digital technologies (Haythornthwaite & Andrews, 2011) (Friesen, 2009) (Carliner, 2008) (OECD. Centre for Educational Research and Innovation , 2005) (Machado, 1999) (Flecha, 1999 (1994)) suggesting that the social indeterminacy of technological development can be resolved by fostering a more critical attitude about the role of digital technology in the educational process and, in particular, by inviting the stakeholders of that process to acknowledge and evaluate the role of the immaterial infrastructure in the educational uses of digital technology. This immaterial infrastructure include ideas, values, formal and informal hierarchies of power, behaviours, principles, practices and other elements that combineto constitute what Pierre Bourdieu and Jean Claude Passeron termed the “implicit pedagogy” of theeducational relationship. (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990 (1970)). The scientific objective of this project is to give an empirical and conceptual contribution to the theoretical discussion about the impact of digital technology on educational practices in critical pedagogy.

Project coordinator: Tore Ståhl

During the past years, a new generation has entered higher education. In the industrialized world, many of these youngsters have grown up surrounded by digital media and information technology, and they lack a personal history of the time before mobile and smart phones, internet, Google and wikipedia. In literature this generation has been roughly generalized and regarded a homogeneous group, attributed as the Net Generation (Tapscott 1998) or Digital Natives (Prensky 2001). The fact that numerous, but not all, youngsters are net savvy has misled also the broad public to believe that all youngsters are alike.

With reason, these generalisations have been criticized (Bennett, Maton 2010, Kirschner, van Merriënboer 2013). Still, it seems obvious that the representatives of this generation view and regard knowledge and learning differently compared to previous generations. The way some young people manage information, learning and knowledge resembles the connectivist approach described by George Siemens (2005, 2006).

This project addresses the question whether and to which extent immediate and easy access to information, enabled by ubiquitous presence of information technology, has changed the way the young generation views knowledge and learning, i.e. their epistemic beliefs (Schommer 1990, Strømsø,Bråten 2010). The project informs the other projects within MEDA in two ways; firstly, teachers’epistemic beliefs will influence their educational practices and secondly, each learner’s epistemicbeliefs will influence the way s/he approaches learning. Better knowledge regarding the epistemic beliefs of both actors can contribute to developing educational practices.

Publications
Ståhl, T. (2019). Epistemic Beliefs and Googling. Frontline Learning Research, 7(3), 27-63. https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v7i3.417
Ståhl, T. (2019). Epistemic beliefs and field of study. Poster presented at Nordyrk 2019, Helsinki 12- 14.6.2019.
Ståhl, T. (2017). How ICT savvy are Digital Natives actually? Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 12(3), 89- 108. https://doi.org/10.18261/ISSN.1891-943X-2017-03-04
Ståhl, T. (2017). ICT savvy Digital Natives? Arcada Working Papers, (5), 9.11.2017.
Available: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-5260-82-3
Ståhl, T. & Mildén, P. (2017). Applying the FEE to explore epistemic beliefs among students. In A. Bernholt, H. Gruber & B. Moschner (eds.), Wissen und Lernen. Wie epistemische Überzeugungen Schule, Universität und Arbeitswelt beeinflussen [Knowing and learning. The influence of epistemic beliefs on schools, universities and working life] (pp. 59-97). Münster: Waxmann Verlag.
Ståhl, Tore (2016). On investigating the individual in the contemporary ICT and media environment. Arcada Working Papers, (9), 21.12.2016. Available: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-5260-77-9
Ståhl, T. (2013). Measuring Personal Epistemology in the Digital Age. Paper presented at the Jure 2013, Munich 26-27.8.2013. https://doi.org/10.13140/2.1.4673.0241
Ståhl, T. (2013). Personal epistemology in the digital age. Paper presented at the Nera 2013, Reykjavik 6-9.3.2013.
Ståhl, T. (2012). All Youngsters Are Digital Natives, Aren’t They? Paper presented at the Online Educa 2012, Berlin 28-30.11.2012. Available in Book of Abstracts.
Ståhl, T. (2011). Det google- och wiki-baserade “vetandet” som trend. In A. Eskola-Kronqvist, & K. Aaltonen (Eds.), Meidän helmet: aikuispedagogiikan ja -koulutuksen hyviä käytänteitä, uusia toimintamalleja ja välineitä (pp. 85-94). Hämeenlinna: Hämeen ammattikorkeakoulu. Available at http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-784-552-6

In our society, population is aging and resources to assist them are decreasing. While demographic and macroeconomic trends cannot be altered by any given project, for the time being a partial solution is to increase the efficiency of available resources. Digital media technology can play a role in the efforts to improve the quality of life of the elderly. This possibility, however, should be address critically since in advanced society the spread of digital technology and it applications is too often inspired by commercial interests rather than by the actual needs of the recipient of the caring services. In thisproject we prioritize the needs of the elderly and a notion of “care” and “well-being” based on theempirical study of this concept among the target group of the project itself (Helander & Ming, 2005 ) (Söderlund, 2004). The scientific goal of the project is to collect, disseminate and possibly improve available knowledge on the uses of (digital) media to improve the quality of life of elderly people.

FILM OCH IDENTITET (MEDA-CINEMA)

Förstärkande av den finlandssvenska filmidentiteten genom en studie och filmprojekt av medie- och filmstuderanden.
Film och identitet är en empirisk studie om de grundläggande elementen för finlandssvensk film, så som den kan identifieras i det förflutna, men också, och framförallt, i framtiden. Denna studie kommer att framställas genom intervjuer med specifikt utvalda personer som i sin egenskap av erkända filmskapare eller sakkunniga är inflytelserika för denna identitet. Studien kommer att pågå från den 1 september 2016 till den 1 december 2019, och målet är att skaffa fram empiriskt bevis för att förstärka kursplanen för Kultur och kommunikation. Genom att till en viss grad identifiera de grundläggande elementen för finlandssvensk film kommer det att kunna erbjudas en mer inflytelserik källa av inspiration och riktning för undervisning, produktion och forskning på K&K.

Kärnan av den empiriska informationen kommer att sammanfattas av tre sorts intervjuer: en undersökning om studeranden genom att intervjua dem om filmer eller dokumentärer som representerar finlandssvenskar, en intervju med filmforskare och filmskapare. Ytterligare kommer det att utföras en studie bestående av jämförelser av andra minoriteters filmtraditioner: exempelvis tysktalande italienare och samiska finnar.

Läsåret 2015-2017 har det från skolan fristående projektet ”Points of View” (PoW) pågått på Arcada.Projektets mål är att utmana studerande att se förbi ”vad som säljer?” och istället tänka på vad ”Jag” vill berätta och ”varför?” – vilka problem i vårt samhälles digitala ålder är viktiga för mig att föra fram? 7-10 finlandssvenskar mediestuderanden kommer att inom loppet av ett läsår utforska ämnen i det moderna samhället som de personligen känner att är viktiga – i år har ämnen varit bland annat varit våld i relationer, äktenskap, modern synlighet – och därefter skapa ett faktabaserat manus för att producera en fiktiv kortfilm eller en kort dokumentär.

I och med en studie av den finlandssvenska filmidentiteten kommer studeranden att producera dokumentärer och fiktiva filmer – enligt eget val – baserat på självvalda ämnen men med samband till den finlandssvenska identiteten. Syftet att integrera PoW med Film & identitet är att undersöka om det finns en finlandssvensk identitet inom film, och därmed kunna identifiera den identiteten, eller till och med etablera den.

Projektkoordinatorer:

Matteo Stocchetti
Daniel Lindblom