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Title: The predicament of the learner in the New Media Age : an investigation into the implications of media change for learning
Author: Francis, Russell James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 8728
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis explores the Predicament of the Learner in an age during which an emergent Participatory Culture supported by networked computers is converging or colliding with a top-down Culture Industry model of education associated with centralised control and traditional learning media. Two case studies explore attempts to use advanced E-learning tools, the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) and Revolution (a multiplayer role-playing game) to mediate learning activities in the digital classroom. Both reveal the shifting locus of agency for managing and regulating learning and identify a need to understand how learners are creatively appropriating a range of digital media to advance self-directed learning agendas. The main study, The Agency of the Learner in the Networked University, develops these insights through a cognitive anthropology, informed by post-Vygotskian theory, focussed on the digitally mediated practices of 16 post-graduate students who enjoyed unrestricted access to the Internet from their study rooms. The findings chapters explore i) learners designing personalised learning environments to support advanced knowledge work; ii) learners creatively appropriating web-based digital tools and resources for course related study and self education; iii) learners cultivating, nurturing and mobilising globally distributed funds of living knowledge; iv) learners breaking away from lifeworld communities and learning with others in online affinity spaces; and v) learners seeking out opportunities to bootstrap themselves towards the actualisation of a projective identity through serious play in virtually figured worlds. In each case, an attempt is made to innovate conceptual tools that can help us to identify and conceptualise the New Media Literacies (conceived of as expert-like digitally mediated practices) required to exploit the full potential of new media as a resource for course related study, independent learning and self-education.
Supervisor: Furlong, John ; Edwards, Anne Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociocultural and activity theory ; Learning facilitation ; e-Learning ; Literacy ; Children and youth ; Internet and everyday life ; New Media ; Media Change ; Agency ; Networked University ; Internet ; Participatory Culture ; Learning ; Literacy ; Socio-cultural and Activity Theory