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Riga,	16.12.2016
Ecosystem	approaches	in	
education:
Communicative	ecology	and	networks	
Kai	Pata
kpata@tlu.ee
Senior	rese...
Goals	of	the	workshop
• Applying	ecological	principles	from	natural	science	
in	social	science?
• Two	case	studies:	adult	...
Ecology/ecosystem	– not	just	the	
metaphor	but	transferrable	principles	
and	processes
• Main	goal	of	ecosystems:	
to	perm...
The	network	structure
• The	permeability	of	a	AE	service ecosystem	will	
depend	on	the	connections	between	services	that	
...
Ecology/ecosystem	– not	just	the	
metaphor	but	transferrable	principles	
and	processes
• Means:
• Diversity	of	species.	
V...
No	learner	is	the	same,	yet	we	
have	unified	AE	opportunities
Educational	
deficiency
Language	
deficiency
Social	
constra...
What	this	network	can	be	in	
education?
• Learning	
opportunities
• Services	to	enable	
access	to	services
• Different	typ...
What	this	network	can	be	in	
education?
• Communicative	actions	about	learning	
opportunities,	learners,	counsellors,	AE	
...
Ecology/ecosystem	– not	just	the	
metaphor	but	transferrable	principles	
and	processes
• Means:	Communication	and	
interac...
Ecology/ecosystem	– not	just	the	
metaphor	but	transferrable	principles	
and	processes
• Means:	
• Coalitions,	distributio...
Ecology/ecosystem	– not	just	the	
metaphor	but	transferrable	principles	
and	processes
• Means:
• Accommodation	to	specifi...
Context	1:	Vulnerable	Adult	
Learners’	Access	to	Education
• Big	question:	What	creates	vulnerability	to	
access	HE	educat...
Context	1:	Vulnerable	Adult	
Learners’	Access	to	Education
• What	are	available	services	for	adult	learning	
targeting	act...
AE	ecosystem	example
• Vulnerability	is	appearing	as	a	lack	to	fit	to	certain	
ecosystem	services	and	results	in	restricti...
What	data	are	available?
• Service	descriptions,	interviews	with	adult	
educators	and	vulnerable	young	adults	->	network
•...
Context	2:	Online	professional	
networks
• Sample	of	threads	from	
professional	networks	in	
healthcare	and	construction
•...
Context	2:	Online	professional	
networks
• Sample	of	threads	from	
professional	networks	in	
healthcare	and	construction
•...
Mapping	the	flows	of	knowledge	transformation
Context	2:	Online	professional	
networks
Context	1:	Vulnerable	Adult	
Learners’	Access	to	Education
• Big	question	2:	How	knowledge	of	AE	opportunities	
and	the	wh...
Communicative	Ecology	approach
• A	holistic	approach	to	understanding	the	
dynamic	interrelationships	between	social	
dime...
Communicative	Ecology	approach
• There	is	not	a	single,	agreed	upon	
communicative	ecology	model
• A	set	of	ethnographic	t...
Communicative	ecology	data
• Scope	of	data	collection:	holistic,	external	
overview/internal	perspective,	space	
bounded,	...
Communicative	Ecology	characteristics
• Context-dependent:	
• anchored	in	geographical/digital	location	
and	may	move	seam...
ComEco3
Jo	Tacchi slide
https://comcultgirl.wordpress.com/tag/technology/
Figure	by	Singh	
http://www.slideshare.net/abhigyan1107/design-challenges-for-sustainable-mobile-community-
communication-...
Figure	by	Singh	
http://www.slideshare.net/abhigyan1107/design-challenges-for-sustainable-mobile-community-
communication-...
Chininthorn et	al.	(	2016)	figure
Exploration	of	Deaf	People’s	Health	
Information	Sources	and	
Techniques	for	Information...
Communicative	Ecology	characteristics
• Three	intricately	entwined	and	mutually	
constitutive	layers:	
• Social	(social	st...
Context	1:	Vulnerable	Adult	
Learners’	Access	to	Education
• Big	question	2:	How	knowledge	of	AE	
opportunities	and	the	wh...
Workshop	activity	in	pairs
• Find	one	AE	opportunity	type	in	basic,	secondary,	
vocational	or	higher	education	level	(e.g....
Workshop	activity	in	pairs
• Map	your	findings	in	the	format	that	could	be	used	
for	network	analysis	(excel	spreadsheet)
...
Workshop	activity	in	pairs
goo.gl/GRjTJ7
Workshop	activity	results
• What	vulnerability	characteristics	were	restricting	
access	to	AE	opportunities?
• Try	to	map	...
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Ecological approaches to educational data

Communicative ecology analysis

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Ecological approaches to educational data

  1. 1. Riga, 16.12.2016 Ecosystem approaches in education: Communicative ecology and networks Kai Pata kpata@tlu.ee Senior researcher in Digital Learning Ecosystems Tallinn University, School for Digital Technologies
  2. 2. Goals of the workshop • Applying ecological principles from natural science in social science? • Two case studies: adult education services for vulnerable young adults; online professional networks • Methods: Communicative Ecology approach; Network approach • Data collection • Unit of analysis and data representation • Representation of results • Interpreting the results with ecological principles
  3. 3. Ecology/ecosystem – not just the metaphor but transferrable principles and processes • Main goal of ecosystems: to permeate the transformative flow, Ecosystem productivity as an ability to accumulate, transform • Means: Network of interdepending species and the environment – connectivity, distribution, clusters Information flow Knowledge transformation Knowledge accumulation in the system
  4. 4. The network structure • The permeability of a AE service ecosystem will depend on the connections between services that pass access to transformative learning opportunities and the emerging side-paths and hubs in this network that can redirect the flows.
  5. 5. Ecology/ecosystem – not just the metaphor but transferrable principles and processes • Means: • Diversity of species. Variation of specimen within species Species as kind of similar elements/ objects/ subjects
  6. 6. No learner is the same, yet we have unified AE opportunities Educational deficiency Language deficiency Social constraints Disability Cultural constraints Legislative constraints Economic constraints Regional constraints Personal characteristics Etc.
  7. 7. What this network can be in education? • Learning opportunities • Services to enable access to services • Different type of learners that need these opportunities
  8. 8. What this network can be in education? • Communicative actions about learning opportunities, learners, counsellors, AE educators, devices, channels ADULT LEARNER BECOMING INFORMED OF OR CONSTRAINED OF AE OPPORTUNITIES
  9. 9. Ecology/ecosystem – not just the metaphor but transferrable principles and processes • Means: Communication and interactions. • Within and between species. • Mutual awareness. • Direct and indirect (signals in environment). Information, Signals, Meanings INFORMATION SOURCES AND THEIR ACCESS
  10. 10. Ecology/ecosystem – not just the metaphor but transferrable principles and processes • Means: • Coalitions, distribution, clusters of species and organisms • Mutualisms: synergy, parasitism, competition Synergy of services Competition of goals
  11. 11. Ecology/ecosystem – not just the metaphor but transferrable principles and processes • Means: • Accommodation to specific conditions, fitness to niches • Feedback loop to and from the niches • Successive stages of ecosystems, dynamically changing Niches as abstract needs’ spaces to be fit NICHE as fitness space
  12. 12. Context 1: Vulnerable Adult Learners’ Access to Education • Big question: What creates vulnerability to access HE education? • STEPS: Defining AE Service Ecosystem components and its niches not accessible to vulnerable subjects • What are available AE opportunities – courses etc.? (kind of species) • What are vulnerability characteristics (kind of niche dimensions, that describe variability of individuals)
  13. 13. Context 1: Vulnerable Adult Learners’ Access to Education • What are available services for adult learning targeting active citizenship? What are available services for vulnerable people? (kind of flow paths to be activated by individuals to access AE opportunities)? • What are mutualisms between AE and vulnerability services in Service ecosystem? (synergies as flow enablers, antagonisms as flow constraints)? • How can the AE opportunities be accessed in case of different (combined) vulnerability characteristics? ( who are restricted from AE?)
  14. 14. AE ecosystem example • Vulnerability is appearing as a lack to fit to certain ecosystem services and results in restricting AE opportunities. CARETAKER OF MINORS REGIONAL ACCESS LIMIT EDUCATIONAL DEFICIENCY LIMIT SOCIAL SERVICES: - CHILDCARE SUPPORT - FREE CHILDCARE CENTER AT AE AE SERVICES: - DORMITORY - SCHOLARSHIP - TRAVEL ALLOWANCE - VALIDATION OF INFORMAL COMPETENCES ETC. - TRAINING AT WORKPLACES SECONDARY EDUCATION ADULT GYMNASIUM SECONDARY EDUCATION BASED VOCATIONAL EDUCATION CITIZENSHIP SERVICES: - FREE LANGUAGE COURSES LANGUAGE DEFICIENCY ETC. BASIC EDUCATION BASED APPLIED UNIVERSITY SOCIO-ECONOMIC DISADVANTAGE opportunities services vulnerability characteristics
  15. 15. What data are available? • Service descriptions, interviews with adult educators and vulnerable young adults -> network • Considering AE opportunities as actors and • AE related service enablers/constraints as ties • Vulnerability characteristics as actors In the end of the workshop we try to search and map such data collectively • Open questions: • How to structure data? • What can be seen from data? • What are limitations of data visualization?
  16. 16. Context 2: Online professional networks • Sample of threads from professional networks in healthcare and construction • Unit of analysis: turn-taking in thread • Inductive codes for content categories • Frequency of ties between inductive codes in threads • SNA data of sequential turn- takings in threads Csv file Gephy.org Social Network analysis tool
  17. 17. Context 2: Online professional networks • Sample of threads from professional networks in healthcare and construction • Unit of analysis: turn-taking in thread • Inductive codes for content categories • Frequency of ties between inductive codes in threads • SNA data of sequential turn- takings in threads Pata, Santos, Burchert, 2016
  18. 18. Mapping the flows of knowledge transformation Context 2: Online professional networks
  19. 19. Context 1: Vulnerable Adult Learners’ Access to Education • Big question 2: How knowledge of AE opportunities and the whole AE Service ecosystem is communicated to individuals with vulnerability characteristics? • Subjects: AE providing stakeholders, AE policy-makers, vulnerable young adults • Focusing particularly on communication subjects’ (WHO?), -places (WHERE?), -contexts (WHEN? WHY?), - content (WHAT?) and existing/missing communication flows to AE opportunities and services
  20. 20. Communicative Ecology approach • A holistic approach to understanding the dynamic interrelationships between social dimensions, discourse and communications technology in both physical and digital environments • Media technologies should be examined and designed in their context of use, with reference to the users' wider set of social relationships, the nature of the communication itself and other media in use Jo Tacchi McLuhan: Media ecology Altheide: Ecology of communication
  21. 21. Communicative Ecology approach • There is not a single, agreed upon communicative ecology model • A set of ethnographic tools to examine how a new form of media or technology may or may not be integrated into existing communication patterns • Qualitative methods: observation, interviews, diaries, artifacts, content analysis, participatory design etc.
  22. 22. Communicative ecology data • Scope of data collection: holistic, external overview/internal perspective, space bounded, time-scope • Mapping: drawing the conceptual maps and creating or collecting oral or written descriptions • Person-perspective mapping • Community perspective mapping
  23. 23. Communicative Ecology characteristics • Context-dependent: • anchored in geographical/digital location and may move seamlessly between these locations; • contextually defined affordances of places that may be fit for some but hinder others • Successive dynamically changing stages: • dependent of its inhabitants’ lifestyles, stages may be socio-culturally animated • Activity dependent: • work/formal/leisure/domestic/personal
  24. 24. ComEco3 Jo Tacchi slide
  25. 25. https://comcultgirl.wordpress.com/tag/technology/
  26. 26. Figure by Singh http://www.slideshare.net/abhigyan1107/design-challenges-for-sustainable-mobile-community- communication-services-for-indian-urban-slums
  27. 27. Figure by Singh http://www.slideshare.net/abhigyan1107/design-challenges-for-sustainable-mobile-community- communication-services-for-indian-urban-slums
  28. 28. Chininthorn et al. ( 2016) figure Exploration of Deaf People’s Health Information Sources and Techniques for Information Delivery in Cape Town
  29. 29. Communicative Ecology characteristics • Three intricately entwined and mutually constitutive layers: • Social (social structures, networks), discursive (themes or content) and technological (communication media, devices and applications, communication models) • preliminary step isolated layers’ analysis • Dimensions: • global/local, networked/collective, online/offline
  30. 30. Context 1: Vulnerable Adult Learners’ Access to Education • Big question 2: How knowledge of AE opportunities and the whole AE Service ecosystem is communicated to individuals with vulnerability characteristics? • Holistic – to vulnerability characteristics, not to particular stereotypes? • Externally observed? • Places, activities as person-perspectives who has certain vulnerability characteristics • Ecosystem stages, time-scope as learning periods
  31. 31. Workshop activity in pairs • Find one AE opportunity type in basic, secondary, vocational or higher education level (e.g. read a curriculum syllabus) • Find what information is available about access/restrictive constraints to this AE opportunity (in syllabus, at webpage, at ministry page) • Find what social and other services are available to support vulnerable young people access to this AE opportunity (at webpage, at ministry page) • What vulnerability characteristics are considered in accessing this AE opportunity • From where was information found?
  32. 32. Workshop activity in pairs • Map your findings in the format that could be used for network analysis (excel spreadsheet) goo.gl/GRjTJ7
  33. 33. Workshop activity in pairs goo.gl/GRjTJ7
  34. 34. Workshop activity results • What vulnerability characteristics were restricting access to AE opportunities? • Try to map on the paper the discursive layer (WHAT?) and media-technology layer (WHERE?) of the communicative ecology of AE

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