Wednesday, 20 October 2010

#mLearn2010 keynote of Agnes Kukulska Hulme on Conversations en route to Learning

Live from mlearn 2010 Wednesday 2010. Liveblogging Agnes Kukulska Hulme (so typo's might appear due to time restraints of live blogging)

Agnes in a beautiful checkered dress with autumn colors

two meanings that interests Agnes
  1. increasingly conversations take place between learners on their way to learning => interested in moving
  2. second the metaphorical one: the learners are gearing up to learn while they have the conversations, so this is an interesting mental state.
Conversations are a very strong form of human communication.
A broad topic, so only highlighting some issues on mobile communication and learning
She starts off with her own mobile journey, which is very close to narrative learning and I like it.
Big interest in Learner-led mobile language learning.

Human ingenuity enters: for instance post restante (a letter send to Paris, and once the person arrived in Paris they would pick up the letter. Nice, for it shows that even in adverse circumstances people create conversations). Another example is the wish tree: a wish is for themselves, but really it is communication and the end point of the communication is not defined.
All these ideas comes from the past and pervades the new technologies as well.

There is an intensity about these communicative, mediated conversations, linked to your own attitude towards travel and communication. A lot of important conversations take place when people move in between places: Wright, N. (2010) Twittering in teacher education: reflecting on practicum experiences, Open Learning, 25(3). The conversation builds the community, through the use of twitter on their phones. the study recalls how the teachers shared thoughts while driving home, to reflect on their experience.

Second case study is by Madoe, M (2010) Exploring the use of MXit - a cellphone social network to facilitate learning in distance education, Open learning 25(3).

But sometimes it does not work, these conversations on route.

There has been done a lot of work on conversations and learning (going back to Pask, 1976), Sharples (2003), Laurillard (2002, 2007).

The pervasive learning space still needs to be researched extensively. We have to understand the changing surroundings. there are shifting conditions, time constraints... this leads to different states of mind while traveling, moving, waiting, lying down (learners with disabilities).

Physical traveling has become more complex. so we should investigate how learning en route is affected by complexity of the route itself.

How do mobile and ubiquitous technologies affect our conversations?
  • Conversations are becoming layered (people working together with the remote mediator, virtual additional layer). We should look at all these layers and the interactions between them.
  • We also need to look at multilogues: often conversations start in one place, and then they continue in another. Often it is due to practical or social situations (switch to group preferred mediums). So we use multiple media. "... in a world marked by fluidity, provisionality and instability" Pachler, bachman and Cook (2010).
  • Speech acts become artefacts: conversations become artefacts that travel across cyberspace and have lives of their own (the collection forms its own narrative, which in its part becomes a new artefact).
  • More opportunities now to 'Converse with Sel'. This inner dialogue is often important in a learning dialogue.
  • Any questions answered service (AQA): any question you post from your phone will be answered by unknown people that will deliver the answer anonymously. The answer is succinct, which triggers to want to know more. It would be good to explore being a learner. Nice also because you can use it anywhere.
The nature of conversations en route to learning should be researched, how?
  • donate your sms texts to research ( ), additional layer to your conversational layer. At the moment you have to send the message, but potentially you could have a conversation with the researchers, but interesting way forward for such research.
  • research data from conversations with self: mappiness application which monitors your mood. Build by London school of economics (remark from me: I think, not sure, but something with economics). You share pictures, sms... and you obtain graphs with feedback. GREAT, but also into private area for LSE researchers.
  • This highlights the limits of human language. Nolfi & Mirolli (2010) evolution of communication and language in Embodied Agents, pp 23-24. Really interesting remark on human communication as it is mostly done on external communication.
  • Digital jewelery as conversational prop (Jayne Wallace ). So as you move through space, film movie exerts are played which can trigger conversations with people around you (great also).
  • Innovative ways of starting conversations

Human communication uses all senses
  • artefacts
  • sound
  • touch, gesture and movement
  • smell and taste
  • thought and feeling
  • bodily reactions,
  • space
  • time
our challenge is to look at all of them and get a deeper understanding.

Time and turn-taking in conversation is also an interesting research, how do we understand the laps of time in between conversations.
Multimodal turn-taking has been researched as well (like comments on pictures, for which you need to see the picture in order to understand it).

New media as a lingua franca
when speakers do not share each other's language, they use a lingua franca.
in contrast with the problems encountered by non-native speakers when interacting with native speakers (C.Meierkord, Linquistik online 5, 1/00, 2000. So maybe the new media will enable joint construction.

Rebecca West (: there is no such thing as conversation, they are only intersecting monologues (remark from me: interesting as this would underline learner-centered learning).