Book

Knowledge in Motion: Space, Time and Curriculum in Undergraduate Physics and Management. Knowledge, Identity and School Life Series: 2

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Abstract

Physics and management are disciplines deeply implicated in the domination of the physical and social world. This book is the product of ethnographic fieldwork that studied physics and management programs as points of entry that give access to larger processes that constitute and reproduce disciplines and center around the incorporation of students into discipline-specific temporal and spatial organizations of knowledge. Chapter 1, "Knowledge in Space and Time," attempts to dismantle a network of assumptions about knowledge and learning. Chapter 2, "Producing Material Space-Time and Constructing Students in Physics," examines how the physics program zoned students' activities into a set of material and social spaces and compressed their time to foster the development of exclusive within- program social ties. Chapter 3, "Connecting Students To Practice: Mobilization in Physics," develops an account of problem-solving as a way of integrating students into the discipline's way of organizing the world through textual representations. Chapter 4, "Constructing and Isolating Academic Space in Management," shows how the management program fragmented academic space-time and organized it into distinct short-term units. Chapter 5, "Mobilizing Bodies for Management," shows how non-academic portions of the program created lines of connection between the program and the business world by mobilizing students in distinctive systems of material practice. Chapter 6, "Knowledge in Motion," is a reflective commentary on major themes of the book and a look beyond it. (Contains 167 references.) (JRH)
... This paper uses Nespor's (1994) conceptual framework of knowledge in motion and concepts drawn from workplace learning theory to report on the continuing professional development (CPD) experiences of vocational teachers. It explores how further education (FE) vocational teachers, situated in contexts removed from their original occupation or industry, are able to maintain, refresh and update their vocational, occupational knowledge and utilise it to provide a more effective and relevant learning experience for students. ...
... Thus, a second conceptual lens is used to flesh out the transportation processes. Using Nespor's (1994) concept of knowledge in motion, it is argued here that vocational knowledge moves across contexts through networks and it is the actions of vocational teachers through their CPD that enables this process. ...
... By utilising the concept of knowledge in motion and by viewing its development and distribution as a network effect, it begins to shed light on the processes involved. Nespor (1994) in his empirical study of physics and management students on undergraduate programmes examines knowledge as a relational network. He views learning and knowing as emerging through materialising networks and network practices (Fenwick and Edwards 2013). ...
Article
The paper presents empirical data to consider some of the current debates concerning the nature of vocational knowledge taught in Further Education colleges to students following craft, vocational and occupational courses. The concept of ‘knowledge in motion’ and workplace learning theories are employed as a conceptual framework to examine the continuing professional development (CPD) activities of vocational teachers. This is used to shed light on the ways in which teachers use CPD as a means of accessing and transporting vocational knowledge from occupations to classrooms. Empirical data were gathered through questionnaire, in-depth interviews and participant observation. The findings are presented around five themes: (1) the range of CPD engaged with by vocational teachers; (2) the limitations of propositional, explicit knowledge; (3) engaging with and capturing tacit knowledge; (4) managing the temporality of vocational knowledge; and (5) networking within and to the occupation. Findings suggests that vocational knowledge is distributed and networked and this conceptualisation makes visible some of the ways teachers are able, through CPD activity, to transport vocational knowledge from occupations to classrooms.
... We draw on socio-cultural theories of workplace learning to shed light on the distinctive nature and characteristics of vocational knowledge and acknowledge that it is tacit and largely uncodified. Drawing on the work of Nespor (1994) we draw attention to the vocational as being temporal and with high levels of currency, rather than static. This is followed by a focus on the methodological approaches we used to research the development of pedagogic and vocational expertise, which we argue enables us to provide frameworks through which to research and understand vocational knowledge and expertise. ...
... An additional complexity in understanding vocational knowledge and the development of expertise is highlighted by Broad (2016). Drawing on the work of Nespor (1994), who views learning and knowing as emerging through materialising networks and network practices (Fenwick and Edwards, 2013), Broad argues that vocational knowledge is temporal with high levels of currency. It is in constant development, changing and melding to the specific needs of a particular organizational context and setting. ...
... The ANT analysis here shows its development as a network effect, rather than a codified product. Drawing on the work of Nespor (1994), Fenwick and Edwards explain learning as "…ways of being, ways of acting, ways of feeling, ways of interacting, ways of representing, as well as ways of knowing." (Fenwick and Edwards, 2013, 52), that they argue emerge through the materializing networks. ...
Chapter
This chapter explores how English Further Education (FE) college vocational teachers’ expertise is used and developed in practice. Examples are drawn from two research projects. The first focused on the experiences of vocational teachers as they engaged in teaching observations as part of their initial teacher training (ITT). The second centred on the continuous professional development (CPD) activities used by vocational teachers to maintain and refresh their occupational knowledge and expertise. In adopting Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and Actor-Network Theory (ANT), respectively, we show how the development of vocational expertise is diffuse and positioned within networks of both people and things. We argue that through our use of ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews, we have developed robust methodological approaches which offer opportunities to not only capture vocational practice in action but also to make such practices visible. We discuss the implications of our research with the aim of rethinking how best to support the development of vocational teachers.
... A limitation of the existing literature generally and the Finnegan et al. study in particular, is that little insight is offered into how these courses were organized, or whether time on task changed over the course of the semester as students' strategies for learning might change in the wake of feedback. Timing of the curriculum is worth more consideration in educational research because disciplinary norms influence how instructors think about time in their courses [28]. Instructors in hard-pure disciplines like physics tend to have high expectations for the amount of time that students will spend on course content outside of class, whereas instructors in soft-applied fields like management may place little emphasis on time on task or the timing of events in the course [28]. ...
... Timing of the curriculum is worth more consideration in educational research because disciplinary norms influence how instructors think about time in their courses [28]. Instructors in hard-pure disciplines like physics tend to have high expectations for the amount of time that students will spend on course content outside of class, whereas instructors in soft-applied fields like management may place little emphasis on time on task or the timing of events in the course [28]. Left implicit in much of the research on factors that promote retention and persistence is the potentially influential role of time. ...
Conference Paper
In this paper we discuss the results of a study of students' academic performance in first year general education courses. Using data from 566 students who received intensive academic advising as part of their enrollment in the institution's pre-major/general education program, we investigate individual student, organizational, and disciplinary factors that might predict a students' potential classification in an Early Warning System as well as factors that predict improvement and decline in their academic performance. Disciplinary course type (based on Biglan's [7] typology) was significantly related to a student's likelihood to enter below average performance classifications. Students were the most likely to enter a classification in fields like the natural science, mathematics, and engineering in comparison to humanities courses. We attribute these disparities in academic performance to disciplinary norms around teaching and assessment. In particular, the timing of assessments played a major role in students' ability to exit a classification. Implications for the design of Early Warning analytics systems as well as academic course planning in higher education are offered.
... A partir de estos episodios de clase se ve que los maestros utilizan cadenas de traducción 3 apoyadas en las experiencias personales de los estudiantes como una fuente legítima para construir conocimientos científicos escolares (Nespor, 1994). 3 Según Bruno Latour (2001, p. 371), la cadena de traducción hace referencia a las transformaciones, los desplazamientos y las conexiones a través de los actores cuya mediación es indispensable para que ocurra cualquier acción. ...
Article
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This ethnographic and analytical study of discursive interaction was undertaken in natural science lessons in first and second grades in three public schools in Bogota, Colombia. The analysis explores how constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom is influenced by the students' and teachers' personal experiences. The results evidence that like in the scientific community, where established theories and knowledge of scientific culture model observation, participants in the classroom interact to collaboratively construct permeated scientific knowledge that relates to the socio-cultural context from which it emerges. Because of this, we believe that understanding the complex dynamic between teacher and student in the natural science class, contributes to the debate on how science is constructed in the classroom, and thus analyze how it can be improved.
... It is also possible to widen the net still further and map the "constellation of relations" which occur across and beyond the boundaries of an institution (McGregor, 2003: 354). Following Massey (1994) and Nespor (1994), McGregor (2003 argues for a conceptualisation of how space and interaction within a professional environment overlap. In this topological model, space is relational -the physical environment is both constructed by, and supports the construction of, the social relations that happen within it: the institution itself is "continually being produced by interconnecting relationships and practices" (McGregor, 2003: 353). ...
Thesis
For many teachers, professional development through participation in social media spaces has become a routine part of their working lives. Accessed as a source of teaching resources, information, or advice and guidance, social media spaces are an integrated context of teacher’s professional practice. However, motivations for teacher participation in these spaces, especially less visible forms of participation and non-participation, are not always apparent from the posts that form the content of social media platforms. The reasons that sit behind (non)participation remain unseen, and therefore the potential opportunities and issues that surround collaborative professional development within social media spaces are unrealised or misunderstood. Using a mixed-methods design with a larger qualitative component, this thesis explores data from 230 questionnaire responses, and 26 interviews with secondary school teachers from 20 schools to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of professional participation in social media spaces. Interviews were analysed through the use of inductive thematic analysis to allow individuals’ experiences and reasons for (non)participation to form the findings of this thesis and to construct a theoretical model that understands participation in social media as an inter-related professional context rather than a separate space. This thesis finds that the spaces that teachers are creating online are multiple and enmeshed within the many other online and offline contexts in which participants live and work. These spaces are operating as communities of support at a time when participants are experiencing change in the qualifications that they teach, and, for some, these provide an opportunity for self-directed professional development that is closely matched to subject specific needs. However, teachers are also experiencing a collapse in professional/ personal contexts and struggling to maintain these boundaries. Overall, I conclude that there is a lack of clarity surrounding how social media spaces are accessed in schools and an absence of guidance on how social media spaces can be included within the work place as a professional development context for teachers. A more nuanced understanding is needed that recognises the time, effort, and digital labour that comprises social media participation for professional purposes, as well as the benefits and collaborative opportunities that it can provide.<br/
... Tenenberg and Knobelsdorf review "sociocultural cognition theory" that incorporate a sociocultural perspective on how learning takes place [34]. Social theories of learning have also been discussed as a lens to understand learners' development in higher education [22,9,26]. ...
Conference Paper
Identity development and personal experience have been drawn attention to in recent Computing education research addressing low engagement and retention or stereotypes and the gender gap in Computing. However, these findings have rarely been discussed in respect to how identity development could be implemented in the Computer Science classroom at primary and secondary schools. This paper integrates two theoretical perspectives on identity development -- a psychosocial and a sociocultural perspective. We then provide an example of how this theoretical framework can help to understand aspects of learning beyond knowledge acquisition and to design situated learning environments and experiences that foster identification processes and participation in group activities. The example is based on project work that aims to resemble a professional software development project, including a real client (the school) and professional roles taken by both the teacher and the students.
... Tenenberg and Knobelsdorf review "sociocultural cognition theory" that incorporate a sociocultural perspective on how learning takes place [34]. Social theories of learning have also been discussed as a lens to understand learners' development in higher education [22,9,26]. ...
Conference Paper
Identity development and personal experience have been drawn attention to in recent Computing education research addressing low engagement and retention or stereotypes and the gender gap in Computing. However, these findings have rarely been discussed in respect to how identity development could be implemented in the Computer Science classroom at primary and secondary schools. This paper integrates two theoretical perspectives on identity development -- a psychosocial and a sociocultural perspective. We then provide an example of how this theoretical framework can help to understand aspects of learning beyond knowledge acquisition and to design situated learning environments and experiences that foster identification processes and participation in group activities. The example is based on project work that aims to resemble a professional software development project, including a real client (the school) and professional roles taken by both the teacher and the students.
... Cependant, les expérimentations conduites, qui n'ont suscité la participation que d'un nombre restreint d'acteurs à Vancouver comme à Toronto, à Montréal et à Québec, ne peuvent suffire à elles seules à renforcer les liens entre les partenaires institutionnels. Ces expérimentations n'ont le mérite que de faire voir des possibilités nouvelles concernant la formation et la recherche dans le domaine de la formation des enseignants, soit celles qui préservent les avantages de la formation en face à face (Nespor, 1994) tout en mettant à profit les TIC, en particulier les espaces virtuels de collaboration. ...
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Résumé L’article propose un cadre conceptuel pour le renouvellement des pratiques de formation des enseignants, pratiques issues de l’intégration pédagogique des technologies de l’information et de la communication, elle-même orientée vers l’apprentissage en collaboration. Adoptant une perspective socioconstructiviste et une méthodologie d’expérimentation de devis socio-techniques ( design experiments ), les chercheurs formulent treize principes de conception de l’intégration des TIC pour favoriser l’interaction sociale au sein et entre des communautés d’apprentissage. Ces résultats proviennent de plusieurs cycles d’expérimentation effectués en quatre contextes différents. Ils dégagent ensuite des conditions de réussite de l’intégration pédagogique de ces nouveaux outils pour le renouvellement de la formation des enseignants.
... Nestas falas observamos que as percepções dos licenciandos sobre a docência são figurações que acionam experiências e imagens de outros tempos e espaços. Como nos lembra Nespor (1994), as nossas vivências aqui e agora são mediadas por pessoas e coisas de outros lugares e épocas. Isso fica claro na fala de Elisa, quando ela diz: "Ser professor hoje não é legal como era/ sei lá/ vinte/ cinquenta/ sei lá quantos anos atrás/ quando ser professor era autoridade de sala/ (e) tinha poder aquisitivo". ...
Article
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RESUMO: Este é um Estudo inspirado na Teoria Ator-Rede que buscou mapear a seguinte controvérsia envolvendo a identidade profissional de licenciandos em Ciências Biológicas: seriam as vivências formativas destes estudantes, de fato formativas, no sentido de construírem uma identidade com a profissão de professor? Em outras palavras, que disputas ocorrem em torno das identidades dos licenciandos no interior dos cenários formativos deles? Os dados foram coletados por meio de dois grupos focais com licenciandos formandos de uma grande universidade pública do sudeste brasileiro, a partir da metodologia da cartografia de controvérsias, referenciada pela Teoria Ator-Rede. Constatou-se que, ao longo da trajetória acadêmica dos licenciandos há composições de interesses (translações) que apresentam muito mais desvios que associações em relação à identidade docente, o que favorece a formação de uma extensa rede contraidentitária relativa à profissão de professor.
Conference Paper
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Previous research in STEM education demonstrates that students are engaged in a continuous process of identity development, trying to integrate their educational experiences with their perception of who they are, and who they wish to become. It appears increasingly apparent from this body of research that students are not well supported in this process by the education they currently receive. The goal of this paper is to analyse a specific aspect of the student experience, participation, in order to gain a better understanding of how computer science (CS) and information technology (IT) students engage with CS prior to and during their studies. Drawing on student interview data we describe and discuss students' qualitatively different ways of experiencing participation in CS and IT. The notion of participation applied here is inspired by Wenger's notion of participation in his social theory of learning. A phenomenographic analysis identifies a spectrum of qualitatively distinct ways in which the students experience participation in CS and IT, ranging from "using", to participation as "continuous development", and "creating new knowledge".
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This paper presents a new lens for analyzing written reflections on the teaching experiences of pre-service [science] teachers. The lens, which borrows heavily from Activity Theory, allows science education researchers and teacher educators to identify tensions, disturbances, conflicts, and contradictions within teachers’ written reflections as a means to help the participants situate their successes and challenges within the activity systems in which they operate. This paper describes the process through which the lens was crafted, defines the key constructs comprising the lens, applies the lens to the analysis of two purposefully selected reflection documents, and then considers the affordances of the lens. It also discusses how the insights gained from this lens have lead to new ways of facilitating reflection in pre-service science teachers, including the use of Kenneth Snelson’s tensegrity sculptures as a metaphor for the goal of reflection. Finally, it connects the tensions identified in the individual reflections of two pre-service science teachers to broader issues being addressed in science education.
Conference Paper
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Student identity, in relation to discipline and study cohort, is an important research area that has emerged during the last decade. Sense of identity is linked to student perseverance, satisfaction with one's studies, and retention. In this paper, we describe second year computing students' experiences of participation, and discuss participation as a part of our broader goal to understand computing students' identity development. The focus on participation is inspired by Lave and Wenger's social theory of learning. Phenomenography is used for the primary data analysis. Our main result is a new outcome space describing second year computing students' experiences of participation in problem solving as organising and conducting the process, optimising, considering dependencies, as well as considering classes of problems and solutions. Insights contribute to a better understanding of the interaction between learners, teachers and curricula, as well as of the identities students are adopting.
Chapter
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Higher education institutions have become in practically every society the main institutionalized domains for handling advanced knowledge. They have survived since their origin in more or less the same organizational form (Kerr, 2001), which is all the more remarkable given the fundamental changes that have taken place in their environments. Their main organizational building blocks have always been the knowledge areas around which chairs, departments, faculties, schools and centres are positioned (Clark, 1983), and universities and colleges are populated by academic staff, students, and administrators, whose interactions determine the institutional day-to-day life. These relatively stable elements can still be found as basic organisational characteristics in any higher education institution in the world and are still used as reference points for legitimisation or quality assurance purposes.
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In this ethnographic study, I will show that students at Czech university departments employ copying strategies as part of the dominant educational practices centred on the ‘replication’ of authoritative knowledge. In the teaching/learning situations that we observed, teachers ‘transmit’ knowledge to students, who are expected to ‘replicate’ it in exams, which students manage by either memorization or copying; either way, students are excluded from knowledge construction. This educational configuration is re/produced not just by students and teachers but also by buildings and spaces built for frontal instruction; by projection technologies transmitting fixed knowledge; by students’ community websites that enable sharing and electronic replication of lecture or crib notes; and by public policies of higher education funding or quality assurance. In conclusion, I will argue that many fundamental aspects of research on student so called ‘cheating’ need to be re-examined because this study demonstrates that student copying is integral to the dominant configuration in Czech higher education. This ‘normality’ of student copying challenges the moralist consensus of the literature, expressed in the very term ‘cheating’ as well as in proposals to counter student copying by instilling academic integrity in students, while ignoring complex higher education configurations.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on one aspect of learning through practice in the context of professional work, namely on how engagement with complex artefacts and objects may involve practitioners in wider circuits of knowledge advancement and serve as a vehicle for learning when explored in situated problem solving. As a point of departure we argue that the permeation of epistemic cultures and practices in society has created a new context for professional work and contributed to transform collective knowledge resources as well as the institutional boundaries of professional communities of practice. As knowledge increasingly is mediated by abstract and symbolic inputs, and more advanced knowledge objects are introduced into the realm of professional practice, a creative and explorative dimension is brought to the fore. By introducing Karin Knorr Cetina’s notion of objectual practice as an analytical perspective, the chapter draws attention to the unfolding and question-generating character of knowledge objects and to how these qualities may generate explorative and expansive forms of engagement among professionals that serve to link everyday work with wider circuits of advancements in knowledge and practice. The group of computer engineers is selected for elaborating and illustrating this perspective.
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This is an ethnographic study of a newly created math, science, and technology elementary magnet school in a rural community fiercely committed to cultural preservation while facing unprecedented economic instability brought on by massive loss of manufacturing jobs. Our goal was to understand global- and community-level contexts that influenced the school’s science curriculum, the ways the school promoted itself to the community, and the implicit meanings of science held by school staff, parents and community members. Main sources of data were the county’s newspaper articles from 2003 to 2006, the school’s, town’s, and business leaders’ promotional materials, and interviews with school staff, parents, and community members. A key finding was the school’s dual promotion of science education and character education. We make sense of this “science with character” curriculum by unpacking the school and community’s entanglements with historical (cultural preservation), political (conservative politics, concerns for youth depravity), and economic (globalization) networks. We describe the ways those entanglements enabled certain reproductive meanings of school science (as add-on, suspect, and elitist) and other novel meanings of science (empathetic, nurturing, place-based). This study highlights the school as a site of struggle, entangled in multiple networks of practice that influence in positive, negative, and unpredictable ways, the enacted science curriculum. KeywordsEthnography-Rural science education-Globalization-Cultural studies-Character education
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As part of our Physics Education Research Group efforts to transform the physics instruction at Florida International University (FIU), we have focused attention on how to assess the reforms we implement. In this paper, we argue that the physics education community should expand the ways that it measures students' success beyond grades and conceptual inventory scores to include assessments of students' participation in a learning community and changes in their attitudes. We present case studies of three introductory undergraduate physics students' increasing participation in the physics learning community at FIU, which is a large, urban, Hispanic-serving institution. In previous work, we have reported gains in conceptual learning and attitudes about learning science in those students enrolled in the introductory courses at FIU taught with Modeling Instruction, which operates in a collaborative learning environment [Brewe, E., Kramer, L., & O'Brien, G. (200910. Brewe, E., Kramer, L., & O'Brien, G. (2009). Modeling instruction: Positive attitudinal shifts in introductory physics measured with CLASS. Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research, 5(1). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.013102 View all references). Modeling instruction: Positive attitudinal shifts in introductory physics measured with CLASS. Physical Review Special Topics—Physics Education Research, 5(1). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.5.013102]. This paper expands upon those results in considering the variety of opportunities for participating in the physics learning community and by closely examining three aspect of student participation: students' attitudes about learning physics, their ties within the physics classroom, and their relationships within the physics learning community. This provides a more comprehensive understanding of how students in underrepresented groups may become successful physics learners.
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This article focuses on an oversubscribed UK higher education music conservatoire that centres its selection procedures on individual performance auditions. In this mixed‐method study, centrally‐held assessment scores are used to show that A‐level music grades are a more effective predictor of final degree result than performance at audition. This context is then used to consider the learning of two students at the conservatoire who defy the expectations implied by the statistical results. Through six interviews with each student, their stories are probed through the lens of their trajectories of participation. Drawing on the notion of expansive and restrictive learning, the role that depth and breadth plays in learning to perform is unpacked, and it is suggested that both may be of central importance in shaping musical expertise. The authors discuss the results in terms of the specific challenges that the conservatoire faces in broadening its access, and consider the implications for learners of musical performance.
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The growing trend of the internationalization of universities has provoked an interest in the academic participation of students coming from non-English speaking universities. Fashioned by theory and research as a group with “problems”, the nonnative English speakers are depicted as in constant need for help, unsatisfied with Western academic practices. Consequently, the researchers interested in the potentials of computer technologies have turned toward the ways computer technologies might facilitate students’ participation. By taking for granted the nonnative English speaking students’ dissatisfaction with traditional academic practices due to students’ cultural/linguistic differences, this approach fails to explore how the differences between the nonnative English speakers and other students have been established and maintained in traditional classrooms in the first place. This paper argues for the need of better understanding of the complex nature of relations between students and academic spaces challenging the approach that offers computer technologies as a “solution” to the problems of classroom participation of nonnative English speakers and developing a new framework that aims to consider all aspects involved in such a process. Empirical component of the paper offers several possible approaches in the analysis of nonnative English speaking students’ academic participation.
Article
An analysis of student connections through time and space relative to the core discipline of physics is attempted, as viewed through the lens of actor-network-theory, by Antonia Candela. Using lenses of cultural realities, networks, and perceived power in the discourse of one specific university in the capital city of Mexico and one undergraduate physics classroom, the trajectories and itineraries of students are analyzed, relative to a physics professor’s pedagogical practices. This ethnographic study then yields comparisons between Mexican undergraduate students and students from the United States. Actor network theory recognizes that the symbiotic relationship existing between an actor and a continuum of space and time is defined by the symbiotic yet interdependent relationships and networks of practice (Lemke in Downward causation: Minds, bodies, and matter 2000). As part of this study and in line with actor-network-theory, human actors and non-human participants were viewed in relation to how subjects acted and were acted upon within networks of practice. Through this forum I reflect on this work with particular focus on the issues of situatedness of actors from a sociocultural perspective and how established networks viewed within this perspective frame and subsequently impact student trajectories and itineraries. In essence I argue for a need to look at a myriad of further complexities driving the symbiotic relationships being analyzed.
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This paper argues for the utility of ANT as a philosophical and methodological approach to policy analysis. It introduces the key features of a recent educational policy reform initiative, Skills for Life and illustrates the argument by looking at three ‘moments’ (in Callon's 1986 terminology) in the life of this initiative, applying the theoretical tools of ANT to these. The analysis shows that even (and perhaps especially) within a strongly framed social policy initiative like the Skills for Life Strategy, things constantly escape; that differences held in tension within the ‘successful’ project sow the seeds of failure and dissolution.
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This is an ethnographic study of the trajectories and itineraries of undergraduate physics students at a Mexican university. In this work learning is understood as being able to move oneself and, other things (cultural tools), through the space–time networks of a discipline (Nespor in Knowledge in motion: space, time and curriculum in undergraduate physics and management. Routledge Farmer, London, 1994). The potential of this socio-cultural perspective allows an analysis of how students are connected through extended spaces and times with an international core discipline as well as with cultural features related to local networks of power and construction. Through an example, I show that, from an actor-network-theory (Latour in Science in action. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1987), that in order to understand the complexities of undergraduate physics processes of learning you have to break classroom walls and take into account students’ movements through complex spatial and temporal traces of the discipline of physics. Mexican professors do not give classes following one textbook but in a moment-to-moment open dynamism tending to include undergraduate students as actors in classroom events extending the teaching space–time of the classroom to the disciplinary research work of physics. I also find that Mexican undergraduate students show initiative and display some autonomy and power in the construction of their itineraries as they are encouraged to examine a variety of sources including contemporary research articles, unsolved physics problems, and even to participate in several physicists’ spaces, as for example being speakers at the national congresses of physics. Their itineraries also open up new spaces of cultural and social practices, creating more extensive networks beyond those associated with a discipline. Some economic, historical and cultural contextual features of this school of sciences are analyzed in order to help understanding the particular way students are encouraged to develop their autonomy. Este es un estudio etnográfico sobre la construcción institucional de las trayectorias de los alumnos de la licenciatura de física, y los itinerarios producidos por su movimiento a traves de las redes disciplinarias, en una universidad mexicana. Desde una perspectiva socio-cultural se analizan transcripciones de clases de termodinámica del tercer semestre de la carrera, entrevistas a alumnos y docentes, así como observaciones etnográficas de las prácticas de resolución de problemas y de diversas actividades culturales llevadas a cabo por los alumnos. Se entiende el aprendizaje como la capacidad de moverse uno mismo, y de mover otras cosas como son los artefactos representacionales (instrumentos de laboratorio, libros de texto, notas de clase, problemas físicos, teorías, gráficas, ecuaciones matemáticas) a través de las redes espacio-temporales de la disciplina (Nespor in Knowledge in motion: space, time and curriculum in undergraduate physics and management. Routledge Farmer, London, 1994). Muestro que, desde la teoría del actor-red (Latour in Science in action. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1987), y para comprender las complejidades del proceso de aprendizaje de los alumnos, es necesario romper las paredes del aula y analizar cómo se extiende el espacio-temporal para incluir tanto las prácticas cotidianas como las disciplinarias. La potencialidad de la aproximación teórica se muestra a través de un ejemplo que describe cómo extiende un profesor los espacios y los tiempos locales para construir trayectorias que conectan a los alumnos con la estructura internacional de la disciplina y con las redes locales de poder del campo. Esta orientación también permite comprender cómo contribuye el docente a aportar poder y autonomía para que los alumnos construyan los itinerarios que los acerquen a las prácticas reales de la física. El profesor imparte sus clases, teniendo como referencia varios libros de texto y artículos recientes, en una dinámica colaborativa que incluye a los alumnos como actores en la construcción del conocimiento. Utiliza una amplia artillería de evaluaciones cualitativas y cuantitativas como un instrumento que le permite conocer el razonamiento de los estudiantes sobre el tema de estudio y adecuar las lecciones a sus necesidades de comprensión. Informa sobre problemas no resueltos en el campo y acerca a los alumnos a espacios tecnológicos que pueden desarrollar en su futuro profesional. Sin un texto exclusivo de referencia para estudiar y resolver tareas, los estudiantes tienen que desarrollar criterio y autonomía para buscar fuentes de información adecuadas desplazándose por las redes disciplinarias y produciendo itinerarios innovadores. Los alumnos también despliegan cierto poder para participar en espacios de los físicos como es la presentación de trabajos en congresos de la disciplina. Sus itinerarios también abren nuevos espacios de prácticas sociales y culturales creando redes sociales más extensas que las propias de la disciplina. Finalmente analizo algunos componentes del contexto económico del país, y del histórico y cultural de esta facultad de ciencias, que pueden contribuir a explicar la autonomía y poder que se les otorga a los estudiantes de física en esta universidad. KeywordsEthnography-Undergraduate physics-Students’ trajectories-Students’ itineraries-Actor-network-Disciplinary space–time
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This chapter is intended to provoke reflection on the theoretical significance of a return to practice within the field of education. Here, a return to practice implies a reconsideration of the complexity of education in order to stand at a distance from the reductionism of the prevailing version of lifelong learning dominated by the culture of performativity and by a technical-rational interpretation of educational ‘practices’ (Magalhaes and Stoer, Glob Soc Educ 1:41–66, 2003; Edwards et al, Int J Lifelong Educ 21(1):525–536, 2002). Theories of practice(s) in social theory and organisation studies offer an interesting background for such reconsideration (Schatzki et al, The practice turn in contemporary theory. Routledge, London, 2001; Reckwitz, Eur J Soc Theory, 5(2):243–263, 2002; Gherardi, Manage Learn, 40(2):115–128, 2009; Miettinen et al, Organ Stud 30(12):1309–1327, 2010) and solicit renewed investigations into the multifarious aspects of education. This chapter presents an analytical framework with three possible trajectories of reflection and research to highlight the fruitfulness of such a return to practice: the body and sensible knowledge for an aesthetic understanding of learning and knowing, the sociomaterialities of education, and the analysis of local orders of education and training. The chapter finally discusses what is required in this ‘going back’ to practice and how to engage with practice-based studies of education without embracing a conservative view.
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This final chapter identifies some key themes that have emerged from the contributions to this book: the breadth of the student experience; the accountability of teachers; the role of gender in student evaluations; measuring changes in student engagement; the use of open-ended questions; the continuing role of lectures; variations in approaches to teaching; and evidence from social media. The chapter briefly considers how institutions have thus far responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. It concludes by identifying various issues for future discussion and investigation: balancing the need to update feedback questionnaires against the importance of a coherent time series of responses; the need for a more nuanced account of “student satisfaction” and “student engagement”; the scope for bias in course evaluations related to students’ age, ethnicity, and other demographic variables; the responsibilities and accountability of teachers in the changing world of higher education.
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This chapter draws on a collective case study of doctors’ learning in transition to show that different ways of explaining learning in practice (e.g. situated learning and learning cultures) cannot fully account for what happens when doctors make these transitions. We develop Hodkinson, Biesta and James’ (Vocations and Learning 1:27–47, 2008) theories of learning cultures and cultural theories of learning in two ways to help us understand learning in transition. First, we draw on Thévenot’s (Pragmatic regimes governing the engagement with the world. In Schatzki TR, Knorr Cetina K, von Savigny E (eds) The practice turn in contemporary theory. Routledge, London, 2001) notion of pragmatic regimes of practice to show how most approaches to doctors’ learning focus on the public regimes of justification and regular action; transitions, however, always involve regimes of familiarity which are usually ignored in theorising their learning. Second, we introduce our notion of doctors’ transitions as critically intensive learning periods, in order to explain the interrelationships between learning, practice and regimes of familiarity. We ground our discussion in three scenarios to illustrate how practice always involves the socio-material world. We examine the theoretical and practical implications, particularly in respect of learning local practices or, as Thévenot would say, learning regimes of familiarity.
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This chapter presents a series of critiques focused on the principles and practices associated with the discourse of innovative learning environments. These critiques represent intersections in disciplinary thinking about the design of new teaching and learning spaces. The authors have backgrounds in arts, design, architecture and education. They question the drivers of twenty-first-century school design and the impact of these drivers on wider school communities. The authors argue that the sharing of different perspectives must be a central expectation for any designs for school, for the classroom, for the curriculum and for learning and teaching communities.
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If you are White, male, cisgender, straight, and able-bodied, you can say something as simple as “I am a physicist” with relative ease. The more those descriptors are different, though, the more complex the story becomes in the minds of others, yourself, or both. A simple claim such as “I am a physicist” is more likely to be questioned by students or colleagues if a Black woman says it instead of a White man. The person who doesn’t fit the expected image of the identity is questioned, pushed against, and continues to be invisible in images and representations of the field. One of these dimensions of invisibility is disability. Students with disabilities face extra barriers coming into STEM fields, on top of those that physics already takes pride in (“you must be this brilliant to enter”). Some of these barriers are institutional, as in labs that have been physically constructed to be accessible only to a narrow range of bodies. Some of the barriers are social or emotional, as students must navigate choices about whether to request accommodations and stand out, or to stay silent and continue at a disadvantage. Until recently, disability has been virtually absent from the physics education research literature. Our goal in this chapter is to introduce frameworks from disability studies that are relevant to physics education, including critical perspectives to integrate disability with other identity facets such as gender or race and ethnicity.
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Las prácticas disciplinarias de la Biología, la Física, la Química y las Matemáticas no solo fluyen en los escenarios de la ciencia profesional, de ahí también lo hacen hacia los espacios escolares a través de sus “herramientas representacionales” (Nespor 1994: 19-20). Una de estas representaciones es el laboratorio científico que se constituye por un soporte físico (instrumentos) y un soporte lógico (ordenaciones y clasificaciones) (Latour 2001), imitado en los laboratorios escolares, que contienen formas tan definidas y recurrentes que es posible que este escenario sea la más conocida versión del trabajo científico para los alumnos de todos los niveles. En las escuelas preescolares y primarias de México no existe un espacio específico para el “laboratorio escolar”, en el caso de las escuelas secundarias regularmente sí existe este espacio y es utilizado dentro de un horario. Sin embargo, exista o no tal lugar, las “condiciones de laboratorio” que menciona Latour (2001) son construidas por los profesores elaborando objetos, y procedimientos que consideran propios de la ciencia y con ello permiten la constitución de hechos empíricos y la utilización de objetos intermedios que los traducen desde la realidad cotidiana externa en objetos más formales y abstractos. Una práctica de los profesores es llevar las condiciones de laboratorio al ‘campo’, por ejemplo, cuando llevan a sus alumnos a un jardín cercano para recolectar rocas, plantas o pequeños animales de tal manera que el mundo se haga “reconocible” desde la ciencia (Latour 2001: 59). Otra práctica común es la “construcción discursiva” (Candela 2002: 191) donde el profesor plantea a través del diálogo y la imaginación un fenómeno o experimento ya conocido por los alumnos a partir de su experiencia escolar o cotidiana anterior. Estos laboratorios escolares constituidos desde sus condiciones materiales y lógicas se convierten en “nodos” (Nespor 1994: 21) porque concentran en un pequeño espacio-tiempo una gran cantidad de recursos y confluyen redes educativas y de la ciencia, es un escenario que contiene artefactos propios, como los instrumentos (microscopio, probetas, mecheros, etc.) y las representaciones y herramientas (fórmulas y gráficos en las ‘hojas de práctica’), suponen procedimientos sistemáticos. Los signos inscritos en esos instrumentos y herramientas (como la numeración de la probeta y la notación de los elementos químicos) son aparentemente ‘científicos’ porque pasaron por una ‘garantía de certeza’, son comprobados y los respalda la ‘teoría’ de los libros, vista en el salón de clases.
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An “economy of publications and citations” has emerged in academia, where databases as Web of Science and Scopus provide tools for “quality” measurements. The assumption is that such measurements are unbiased in terms of geography, language, gender etc. This is investigated by scrutinizing the “invisible colleges”, i.e. networks of citations in adult learning/education journals, indexed by Scopus. A bibliometric analysis is made of 151,261 direct citation links in 5 journals published between 2006–2014. The outcome shows a pattern of biases: a US/UK, anglophone, male domination. It also shows how the investigated field consists of many loosely connected invisible colleges. This might make the field weak in terms of academic power.
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We began this book by launching a series of questions on what the adult education and learning research field looks like, how it has emerged historically and how it is transformed through contemporary policy and research practice. The chapters have, in different ways, contributed to answering these questions by case studies, as well as by looking at the transnational power relations across countries. In the debate on comparative adult education research finalising this book, Field, Künzel and Schemmann posed the rather provocative question of whether the chapter of international comparative adult education has now come to a close (see Chap. 10). We would argue that such research is still alive and possible to carry out, but that the conditions under which research is conducted also need to be taken into serious consideration. In the various contributions to this book, several chapters show how a comparative perspective on the field of research can contribute to our understanding of how knowledge about adult education and learning is produced. They also demonstrate how this knowledge is stratified across regional and national borders, as well as between individual scholars positioned in relation to one another.
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What does it mean to be a resourceful and skilful professional in an environment saturated with intelligent devices and connected to diverse knowledge resources and human networks? This chapter discusses the roles of mobile technology in professional work and learning from an extended hybrid mind perspective. We argue that professional knowledge and skills extend beyond individual humans to their physical, technological and social environment. Learning to be a professional means learning to extend and entwine one’s knowledge and skills with ‘intelligence’ that is embedded and embodied in a distributed technology–human environment. In doing so, we argue that practitioners become ‘professional-plus’. They need capabilities to work with different kinds of knowledge and embrace diverse ways of knowing that are distributed across humans with different expertise and machines. We call this capability ‘epistemic fluency’.
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This chapter provides ethnographic descriptions and analyses of interviews with indigenous and Afro-Colombian (The term refers to the descendants of Africans who survived the slave trade and to their dual affiliation: to both their black African roots and the Colombian nation. In some articles, especially those from Africa, the original African cultures are called “indigenous” (Semali and Kincheloe (Eds), What is indigenous knowledge? Voices from the academy. New York and London: Falmer Press, 1999). However, in America they are called “Afro” in order to distinguish them from the original American cultures.) teachers and of some discursive interactions with their students in primary school classrooms in underserved communities. In those contexts they mobilize their local community knowledge for science lessons. We analyzed the teachers’ purpose in incorporating indigenous and Afro knowledge in teaching science and how these different knowledge systems work in the interaction. These teachers’ and students’ co-constructions modify and enhance the official science curriculum with forms of resistance to the scientific myth of only one universal truth about physical phenomena. This resistance is based on the strength of their collective identity constructs as well as their connection with and respect toward nature. These kinds of studies are relevant references for a culturally sensitive science curriculum development.
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Improvement science methodology is promoted in the National Health Service (NHS)¹1 The NHS is a publicly funded service in the United Kingdom, free at the point of use. There are separate bodies providing care in the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales.View all notes in Scotland for implementing rapid change in hospital practices. Student-Led Improvement Science Projects (SLISPs) have been developed as a result of this, where medical students work with clinical teams to identify, implement and monitor quality improvements in the workplace. Working with improvement science in real-life working practices in a hospital environment presents opportunities for different ways to conceptualise learning, for both educators and students. This paper draws from ethnographic and praxiographic methods combined with the sociomaterial approach of actor-network theory (ANT) to investigate the pedagogies of improvement science. The research concludes with three implications for medical education and education in general: (1) conceptualising learning as a network effect can guide educators and students towards a broader range of pedagogies for improvement science; (2) treating human and non-human elements of the network equally can lead to noticing details of practice that might otherwise be overlooked; (3), instead of collapsing improvement science into a singular meaning, multiple worlds allows for different enactments of improvement science to co-exist.
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Over the last few years, a new social geography¹ has emerged in teacher education, related to changing regimes of assessment and governance that have shifted the balance from universities to schools and further education programs and that rely on new technologies and knowledge relations.
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The concept of the demonstration school (a community of learning and applied research inquiry in an integrative designed space) dates back to the Peripatos of Aristotle. In contemporary times, demonstration schools—housed on university campuses and often integrated with teacher training programmes—have been supported with Deweyan arguments about trialling learning environments that meld theory and practice. Many are sites of educational research, where educationalists, practicing teachers and pre-service practitioners collaborate to teach, study, reflect and debate. Some have integrated problem-based curricula approaches with learning analytics, design thinking, digital adaptation and eco-friendly uses of technology. At the same time, some are also places in which competing imperatives play out, as those on site seek to adapt pedagogic, infrastructural, funding and governance arrangements to accommodate stakeholders. This chapter first recounts the historical legacy of demonstration schools before analysing contemporary realisations of demonstration schools’ sites drawing on recent research in Asia, Europe and the USA. The focus is on how these modern learning environments are shaped by discursive connections between philosophy, learning science, design, innovation policy and science and technology studies. Drawing on expertise across these fields, we investigate how these sites meet the contemporary challenge to link the pedagogic, spatial and technological/digital in sites where social and educational innovation coexist.
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The emphasis given to professionals’ learning in today’s society tends to focus the individual learner as the core object of debates and policies. Less attention has been paid to the role of knowledge domains and expert cultures in forming opportunities for learning. Within educational contexts, researchers have pointed to how different disciplines are marked by distinct knowledge practices, modes of inquiry, and principles for determining validity, which constitute students’ learning in distinct ways (Becher & Trowler, 2001; Neumann, Parry, & Becher, 2002; Donald, 2002).
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This chapter discusses changes to career pathways for management positions in Germany. It concentrates on the active role higher education plays in forming such pathways, with a focus on business education. The German work world has been for a long time characterized as an expert culture that provided access to management positions in companies based on experience and specialization. However, the role of formalized and general management knowledge for such high-status positions has increased throughout the last decades. The chapter analyzes quantitative and structural changes in higher education that favor management education. It accounts for the increase in career services in business faculties that impact on career pathways by easing access into high-status companies. This is exemplified trough field evidence from one private business school.
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Mass education implies that higher education has become crucial to securing access to elite positions in the labor market. Surprisingly, research has paid little attention to how exactly the organization of higher education impacts on social structures and occupational attainment. The introduction places the various approaches employed by the contributors to highlight the relationship between universities and the production of elites in an analytical frame. It does so by discussing the changes to higher education and the corresponding changes to career pathways on multiple levels: discourses of excellence, policy changes and their implications, effects of policy devices such as rankings, organizational responses to these changes and devices, and formational logics within universities as organizations.
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This chapter provides a detailed overview of contemporary sociomaterial and practice-based approaches, focusing in particular on their implications for conceiving workplace learning. It lays the theoretical foundations for the analysis and arguments developed in Parts II and III. It sets out an ontological position, and key concepts that are not so much applied in the subsequent empirical work, but tangled up in it (including in the approach to ethnographic fieldwork. These foundations are set in a broader context, namely sociomaterial approaches. The way in which contemporary theorists are ‘rethinking the thing’ is highlighted, based on performative, diffractive and non-representational ontologies. The ‘practice turn’ is located within these wider, diverse, traditions, and Schatzki’s practice theory is presented as an overarching framework for this book. Next, research on workplace learning is considered, highlighting the metaphor of emergence and its links to concepts of knowledge . Here Gherardi and others’ practice-based studies are significant, emphasising knowing in practice and aesthetics. The chapter then shifts gear introducing the key arguments that are developed in the remainder of the book. Times, spaces, bodies and things are introduced as four essential dimensions of professional practice and learning, and then a distinctive view of professional learning in an asymmetrical and non-reversible relationship with practice is presented. Learning and practice are viewed as entangled, but analytically distinguishable, and criteria for specifying this distinction are presented.
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Professions are entrusted responsibilities for vital services in society, based on their collective knowledge and values. Mastering the ways of knowing and acting that define expertise in a given profession is thus important for participating in relevant ways. This chapter introduces concepts and perspectives from Social Studies of Science as resources to explore the relationship between knowledge practices and deliberate conduct in the professions. Next, the perspective is used to discuss how students in higher professional education can be introduced to profession-specific knowledge practices, and how they, through these processes, may also develop competencies as deliberate practitioners. Examples are taken from a larger Norwegian project that examines the induction of students in the professional cultures of law, engineering, and school teaching respectively. It is argued that to be able to take a critical and reflective stance towards various models and standards for professional work, practitioners need to become acquainted with the epistemic principles that underlie their emergence. This, in turn, requires engagement with key epistemic practices in the profession.
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In this chapter, we challenge two conventional assumptions from workplace learning research and organizational change research: that learning can be understood isolated from its embeddedness in work practices and that managing change at work aims to re-stabilize entities known as organizations. In contrast, we believe understanding the nexus between learning and change in organizational work lies in appreciating the apparent paradox when workers learn to carry forward (persist and perpetuate) practices, yet also learn to adapt (change) them to achieve the purposes of work. We draw significantly from Schatzki’s theorizations of practice and argue that practice theory has much to contribute in conceptualizing a more dynamic view of organizing, working and learning. We illustrate our use of Schatzkian concepts by discussing how workers at an Australian utility company use safety practices to learn how to become new kinds of safe workers and to embrace the organizational notion of safe working.
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It would seem that for many people, spaces on the Web have become an integral part of their lives. This may include seeking out learning opportunities in online communities. But how do people negotiate the materiality of screens and settings; discussion boards, RSS feeds and avatars; passwords and Facebook profiles? Emphasizing the relational aspects of learning, networked learning focuses on connections among learners, other people, learning resources and technologies. Although human–human relations are not necessarily privileged, appropriate conceptual tools are required to explore other types of relations, particularly human–non-human associations. Actor Network Theory (ANT) is one perspective that enables a socio-material exploration of heterogeneous networks. This chapter draws on ANT to explore how the interactions between Web technologies and self-employed workers shape work-related learning practices in an online community. The chapter examines the co-constitutive relationship between human and non-human actants. Findings suggest that participating “in” an online community is a series of passages marked by both attempts to stabilize and disrupt relations. As participants in this study attempted to “tame” the technology, the technologies in use were doing their part to tame other actants. However, these relationships do not describe distinct human and non-human entities, but rather hybrids or socio-technical constructions – a blending. The chapter concludes with questions emerging from such provocative entanglements.
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The study we present here included doctoral students (6 women and 5 men) who, over the course of one year, participated in an ethnographic study aimed at exploring the kinds of subject positions constructed and performed by students engaged in the Discourse of recognizable physicist. We begin with a discussion of the most recognizable subject position in physics-the stereotypical physicist.
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Spatial visualization is a well-established topic of education research that has allowed improving science and engineering students’ skills on spatial relations. Connections have been established between visualization as a comprehension tool and instruction in several scientific fields. Learning about dynamic processes mainly relies upon static spatial representations or images. Visualization of time is inherently problematic because time can be conceptualized in terms of two opposite conceptual metaphors based on spatial relations as inferred from conventional linguistic patterns. The situation is particularly demanding when time-varying signals are recorded using displaying electronic instruments, and the image should be properly interpreted. This work deals with the interplay between linguistic metaphors, visual thinking and scientific instrument mediation in the process of interpreting time-varying signals displayed by electronic instruments. The analysis draws on a simplified version of a communication system as example of practical signal recording and image visualization in a physics and engineering laboratory experience. Instrumentation delivers meaningful signal representations because it is designed to incorporate a specific and culturally favored time view. It is suggested that difficulties in interpreting time-varying signals are linked with the existing dual perception of conflicting time metaphors. The activation of specific space–time conceptual mapping might allow for a proper signal interpretation. Instruments play then a central role as visualization mediators by yielding an image that matches specific perception abilities and practical purposes. Here I have identified two ways of understanding time as used in different trajectories through which students are located. Interestingly specific displaying instruments belonging to different cultural traditions incorporate contrasting time views. One of them sees time in terms of a dynamic metaphor consisting of a static observer looking at passing events. This is a general and widespread practice common in the contemporary mass culture, which lies behind the process of making sense to moving images usually visualized by means of movie shots. In contrast scientific culture favored another way of time conceptualization (static time metaphor) that historically fostered the construction of graphs and the incorporation of time-dependent functions, as represented on the Cartesian plane, into displaying instruments. Both types of cultures, scientific and mass, are considered highly technological in the sense that complex instruments, apparatus or machines participate in their visual practices.
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One of the key characteristics of professions is that they are based on a body of abstract codified knowledge obtained in some kind of university or university-like institution. While there are different and conflicting perspectives and definitions of professions and professionalism, this characteristic is not contested.
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Drawing on the work of Foucault, Rose and actor-network theory this chapter examines some of the methodological and theoretical implications of this work for conceptions of workplace learning. We suggest that workplaces need to be examined for the spatio-temporal ordering of practices and the actors drawn into them in order to move beyond the totalizing discourses of for instance, the knowledge economy, globalization, performativity and even workplace learning itself. We argue that there is no single trajectory for workplace subjectivities and that pedagogic practices are embedded in the actor-networks of specific workplaces. These networks can be formulated as part of those actions at a distance associated with the development of governmental power in contemporary social orders. This is illustrated by way of a critique of discourses that posit a move from disciplined, Fordist work to flexible Post-Fordist forms of work. In this way, we seek to locate discussions of workplace learning within the wider debates in the social sciences about changing practices of governing and the differing forms of subjectivity associated with them. The chapter is intended to illuminative and is theory driven
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