Working Papers

Designing with Teachers: Participatory Approaches to Professional Development in Education

Ioana Literat and Erin Reilly

Date: Aug 31, 2012

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In the contemporary educational landscape, emerging participatory practices, facilitated by technological and socio-cultural developments, have given rise to a new model of knowledge circulation. Knowledge is increasingly distributed among numerous and diverse networks. Individuals now have the capacity – and the cultural impetus – to become creative producers of information and cultural products. The quickening pace of technological change means we can barely envision the actual contexts in which our students will use what they are learning in school. Some of the most important contexts will certainly include digital networks of user-generated content that is persistent, searchable, and replicable (boyd, 2008). These networks will feature transactive interactions and shared control (Xenos & Foot, 2007), and aspects of what Jenkins et al. (2006) characterize as “participatory culture:” low barriers to entry, abundant support for creating and sharing, informal mentoring of newcomers, and a strong sense of social connection. Such developments suggest that teachers need to foster “participatory learning” where communities of learners work together to develop conventional academic knowledge alongside newer networked knowledge.

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