Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘social capital’

Can Cultural Capital help explain Digital Divide?

Matthew Damon Wright (2012) The Digital Divide and Cultural Capital, A Thesis Presented to the faculty of the Department of Sociology California State University, Sacramento, Submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Sociology

The digital divide, the concept of an inequality in computer and Internet access and skills, has been a political and social scientific topic of research and debate. The prior analyses of Internet use grouped people based on “haves” and “have-nots” and did not specifically address who these people were and what kind of demographic, individual, and family characteristics might promote digital literacy. By combining the ideas of the digital divide in the usage of the Internet and the concept of cultural capital as a marker of socioeconomic status, this study used data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project 2008 to test whether higher socioeconomic status (using measures of education and income) is associated with more frequent use of the Internet. An exploratory subsample analysis by gender was also conducted. As previous studies have found, education plays a significant role in predicting higher Internet use. Counter to previous studies, income was the only significant predictor for overall frequency of Internet use and of specific types of Internet activities. The study also found that gender conditioned the effects of socioeconomic status, family, and work on Internet use.

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Does the structure of the brain help explain why some people are more distractible?

Kanai, R., Dong, M. Y., Baharami, B. & Rees, G. (2011) Distractibility in daily life is reflected in the structure and function of human parietal cortex. J. Neurosci. 31, 6620 – 6626.

Inter-individual variability in perception, thought and action is frequently treated as a source of ‘noise’ in scientific investigations of the neural mechanisms that underlie these processes, and discarded by averaging data from a group of participants. However, recent MRI studies in the human brain show that inter- individual variability in a wide range of basic and higher cognitive functions — including perception, motor control, memory, aspects of consciousness and the ability to introspect — can be predicted from the local structure of grey and white matter as assessed by voxel-based morphometry or diffusion tensor imaging. We propose that inter-individual differences can be used as a source of information to link human behaviour and cognition to brain anatomy.

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At what level does social capital impact workgroups?

Y. Connie Yuan (2011) Social Capital and Transactive Memory Systems in Workgroups: A Multilevel Approach, Cornell UniversityDepartment of Communication, Best Papers Proceedings of the Sixty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management

A multilevel, multi-theoretical model of transactive memory was developed by integrating the mergence model with social capital theories. Empirical tests showed that individual social capital significantly impacted the development of the micro-level component of transitive memories, but collective social capital did not significantly influence the development of macro-level transitive memories.

What is the role of context on students’ performance on map tasks?

Lowrie, Tom, Diezmann, Carmel M., & Logan , Tracy (2011) Primary students’ performance on map tasks : the role of context. In Ubuz, Behiye (Ed.) Proceedings of the 35th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education: Developing Mathematical Thinking, PME, Cultural and Convention Center, Ankara, pp. 145-152.

Being numerate in today’s society requires increased demands on our capacity to represent, manipulate and decode information in various graphical forms (e.g., graphs, maps). New technologies allow data to be transformed into detailed and dynamic graphic displays (e.g., Google Earth) with increased complexity (and detail), and consequently, there is greater need for students to become proficient in decoding maps. At the same time, the tasks students are required to solve are becoming more authentic and realistic. The purpose of this paper is to  investigate the effect that students’ lived experiences (in terms of geographic locality) have on their ability to decode maps.

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How does social capital affect individual performance in academic collaboration?

A Abbasi, L Hossain, R Wigand (2011) Social Capital and Individual Performance: A Study of Academic Collaboration, Arxiv preprint arXiv11122460

Studies on social networks highlight the importance of network structure or structural properties of a given network and its impact on performance outcome. The empirical validation of the association between network structures and performance has been well documented in a number of recent studies. One of the important properties of this network structure is referred as “social capital” which is the “network of contacts” and the associated values attached to these networks of contacts. There are very few systematic empirical studies suggesting a role of co-authors, as social capital in their scientific collaboration network and their effect on performance. In this study, our aim is to provide empirical evidence of the influence of social capital and performance within the context of academic collaboration. Results suggest that research performance of authors is positively correlated with their social capital measures. This study highlights the importance of scholars’ social capital characteristics on their performance suggesting stronger links to more powerful contacts will lead to better performance and, therefore, their respective professional social network shows indicative outcomes to evaluate and predict the performance of scholars. It further highlights that the Power-diversity Index, which is introduced as a new hybrid centrality measure, serves as an indicator of power and influence of an individual’s ability to control communication and information.

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What are parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home? Habitus and social class.

S. Hollingworth, A. Mansaray, K. Allen, A. Rose, (2011) “Parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home: social class and the role of the habitus”, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 347–360, August 2011

Sociologists of education highlight that parent’s ability to engage with their children’s education and learning is not a straightforward issue. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, this paper attempts to open up a space for examination of the differential experiences of parents from different social class backgrounds, of technology in the home, and how this informs the potential they see for family learning using technology. We use Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘cultural and economic capital’ and ‘habitus’ to explore several themes. Firstly, the paper explores the impact of material inequalities of access on families and how this structures parental engagement with technology in relation to their children’s schooling; secondly, how the harms and risks of technology are differentially experienced, negotiated and managed by parents from different social class backgrounds – with varying amounts of social and cultural resources available to them; thirdly, through discussion of the ‘generation gap’, we examine the significance of the parents’ working lives (in terms of the privileged forms of engagement with technology, which professional employment increasingly requires and facilitates) in shaping parents’ own relationships to education and learning.

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How do librarians view innovation in academic libraries?

Ronald C. Jantz (2012) Innovation in academic libraries: An analysis of university librarians’ perspectives, Library & Information Science Research 34 (2012) 3–12

Through a series of structured interviews, university librarians at six institutions provided their perspectives on innovation in academic libraries. The literature on leadership styles and organizational change provides insight into the roles of these leaders in the innovation process. Leadership was cited by many researchers as being a critical factor for organizations to innovate. University librarians revealed a commitment to innovation, some distinctively nontraditional innovations, and a concern for how to encourage risk-taking behavior. Further insight into the innovation process was sought by interpreting the interview data within a larger theoretical context. Although leadership and management can foster innovation in a library, researchers have reported other factors that can influence the ability to innovate, including organizational aspects – size and complexity – and environmental factors. Beyond the organizational aspects, the individual and the norms of the profession appear to create a framework with certain boundaries, some of which may impact the ability to innovate.

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Is there Equity in the Access to Digital Technology?

Mark Warschauer and Tina Matuchniak (2010) New Technology and Digital Worlds: Analyzing Evidence of Equity in Access, Use, and Outcomes, Review of Research in Education 2010; 34; 179

There is a widespread belief that the falling cost of computers and Internet access is rapidly narrowing a digital divide in U.S. society. However, as this review shows, gaps in home access to digital media are still substantial, and inequalities in technology usage and outcomes are even greater. Unfortunately, many of the measures most frequently used for analyzing technology-related access, use, and outcomes are insufficient. Though technology-related access, use, and outcomes are difficult to measure, all available evidence suggests they are critically important factors in shaping social futures. As we rethink how to measure evidence of equitable resources, conditions, and outcomes of student learning, continued close attention to the role of technology in both school and out-of-school environments is urgently needed.

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How are learners’ ICT literacy skills influenced by their economic, social and cultural capital?

Tiffani Cameron, Sue Bennett & Shirley Agostinho (2011) ICT literacy and the second digital divide: Understanding students’ experiences with technology, AACE, Edmedia 2011

This work in progress paper reports on a doctoral research study investigating the ICT literacy skills of contemporary learners across primary and high school settings, in order to understand the influence of their economic, social and cultural capital to explain their relationship with and use of ICTs. Data collection will comprise a background questionnaire, an ICT proficiency test followed by semi structured interviews and series of in-class activities that will focus on exploring students’ technology use and background. This paper is structured as follows: firstly a review of the related research is presented to describe the context for the study; the research design for the study is then explained, followed by a brief discussion of the studies significance and expected outcomes.

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Who should decide how students use technology? Youth-Driven vs. Adult-Driven Genres of Participation

Tripp, Lisa M., and Rebecca Herr-Stephenson (2009) “Making Access Meaningful: Latino Young People Using Digital Media at Home and at School.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 14.4 (2009): 1190-1207.

This research challenges the assumptions held by some that incorporating media into the classroom is somehow inherently motivating for students. Just as Seiter (2005) urges us to be skeptical of the drive and hype to incorporate computers and the Internet into schools, and recommends that we stay attuned to the kinds of economic and pedagogic pressures that teachers and schools face from often ill-conceived efforts to integrate technology into instruction, we suggest that similar concerns exist about incorporating media production into instruction, and we see little value in incorporating digital media into instruction in superficial ways. At the same time, we take Warschauer’s (2007) charge seriously, that we should “promote multimedia literacy and information literacy in schools in ways that simultaneously develop diverse students’ reading, writing, cultural literacy, and academic literacy…” (p. 44). Based on this research, we conclude that media education can help accomplish these goals if it includes production and analysis activities that connect to young people’s existing knowledge and interests in media and technology, although we recognize that doing so successfully requires a great deal of innovation—and resources—often amidst challenging institutional, social, and cultural constraints.

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How is the explosion of online social media a new opportunity to measure social capital?

Matthew S. Smith (2011) A Computational Framework for Social Capital in Online Communities, A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Brigham Young University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The explosion of online social media means that it is now possible to collect rich data about people’s connections and interactions, in a completely ubiquitous, non-intrusive manner. Such dynamic social data opens the door to the more accurate measuring and tracking of social capital. Similarly, online data is replete with additional personal data, such as topics discussed in blogs or hobbies listed in personal profiles, that is difficult to obtain through standard surveys. Such information can be used to discover similarities, or implicit affinities, among individuals, which in turn leads to finer measures of social capital, including the often useful distinction between bonding and bridging social capital.

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How can Social Capital inform the actual and potential use of IT?

Marleen Huysman, Volker Wulf (2005) The role of Information Technology in building and sustaining the relational base of communities, The Information Society (TIS), Vol. 21, No. 2, 2005, pp. 81 – 89

One of the most important potential fallacies of the debate on IT enabled communities, is the over-enthusiasm towards technological possibilities. The trap lurks particularly in the assumption that IT can positively support and improve knowledge sharing while ignoring the social conditions that trigger or hinder people to share knowledge. As many scholars have already argued, the tendency to perceive IT as independent from the social environment of which it is part, has caused disappointing acceptance rates (e.g. Ciborra 1996, McDermott 1999). It is not the technology itself but the way people use it that influence whether or not and how IT will be used. Moreover, in case of communities of practice, it is not the technology itself that enables connecting people, it is the motivation for people to relate to each other (Lesser 2000). We postulated that social capital analysis of communities informs us better about the actual and potential use of IT. Based on theory we proposed that the higher the level of social capital, the more members are stimulated to connect and share knowledge. This implies that communities with high social capital will be more inclined to use – or continue using – ICT to share knowledge than in case of low social capital.

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What is modern about technology?

Thomas J Misa (2003) The Compelling Tangle of Modernity and Technology, Publisher: MIT Press, Modernity and technology (2003) Pages: 1-30

The goals of this volume are: 1. To examine modernist icons such as clocks, railways and airports in the light of social theory 2. To understand technology as an embodiments of human needs and desires, the interactions of networks and systems. Modernity is charactarized following Weber by rationalization and following Marx, by concious change. Airports are brought as examplary complexes embodying modernity and technology. Modernity is bound with technology and every human experience in the modern world is mediated by technology.As much as we may desire to escape this nexus, we must confront it as humans and scholars and this is the task of this volume. What is the relation between modernity and technology? Proposal 1: The concepts “technology and “modeniry” have a complex and tengled history. So what is modern? In popular use it means the latest and necessarily the best, phase of an ongoing parade towards a better future. It is indeed bound with the idea of progress. This tie between modern technology and social progress was central to early 20th century thinkers. Modernist artists, influenced by American technology and managerial models, emphasized too, regularity, order and rationality. More recent recent traced the origins of the modern world to earlier revolutions, such as the sientific or industrial ones, or even to economic changes in the late middle ages. Others pointed to enlightenment as the touchstone of modernity due to its concern with rationality and social progress. To conclude, modernity as a multifaceted process is very hard to capture and define.It is the same with technology. The meanings of the term changed over time, assuming their contemporary meaning only after the mid 19th century. Proposal 2: Technology may be the truely distinctive feature of modernity There is a gap between social theories and empirical studies od technology, which this volume tries to bridge. Social theorists have described modern society as subjegated to technology, which was usually presented abstracly, without any reference to the messy, disorganized way by which problem solving technolgies are born and diffused. Technology in this writing is a unitary totalizing entity which is usually contrasted with “traditional” concepts such as the “self”, “lifeworld” etc.

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What can Social Capital and ICT do for Inclusion?

Dieter Zinnbauer (2007) What can Social Capital and ICT do for Inclusion? Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

Social capital facilitates learning and the acquisition of skills. Learning is a social process and social networks and communities of practices are indispensable spaces for informal learning, providing opportunities for individuals to seek advice, discuss ideas and upgrade their work-related and other skills. A social capital approach aligns itself very closely with the European eInclusion agenda, which aims not only to combat social exclusion in its various dimensions with the help of ICT but also seeks to prevent new generations of ICT from generating new socio-economic disparities.

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