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Young People and Learning with ICT. Rosamund Sutherland Graduate School of Education University of Bristol. Projects Overview. ScreenPlay: 1998-2001 Questionnaire Survey of 855 children ( aged 9-10 & 13-14), SW England & S Wales Group Interviews in school: 112 children

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young people and learning with ict

Young People and Learning with ICT

Rosamund Sutherland

Graduate School of Education

University of Bristol

projects overview
Projects Overview
  • ScreenPlay: 1998-2001
    • Questionnaire Survey of 855 children ( aged 9-10 & 13-14), SW England & S Wales
    • Group Interviews in school: 112 children
    • Family Case Studies: 16, 5 visits over 18 months
  • Pathfinders: 1999-2002
    • Questionnaire Survey, 1818 children (9-17) 10 Pathfinder LEAs across England
interactive education 2000 2004
InterActive Education2000-2004
  • ESRC TLRP Project, covering all aspects of T&L in schools – classroom practice, management and policy, subject cultures, out of school use and access
    • Surveys 2001 & 2003
      • 2001 1818 children, 9-17, Bristol and Sth Glos.
      • 2003 1471 children, 9-17, Bristol and Sth Glos.
    • Group Interviews,
      • 192 children, low & high users
    • Home Studies,
      • 11 families, 2 visits
learning in a socio cultural approach
Learning in a socio-cultural approach

Learning is a dynamic process which involves interaction between a person and their social and physical environment and through which a person emerges changed in some way

This change appears as abilities to use ‘tools’ in order to produce things, to engage in discourses and act differently in the world.

a person plus view of learning
A person-plus view of learning

The environments in which humans live are thick with invented artefacts that are in constant use for structuring activity, for saving mental work, or for avoiding errors or they are adapted creatively almost without notice. These ubiquitous mediating structures that both organise and constrain activity include not only designed objects such as tools, control instruments, and symbolic representations like graphs, diagrams, text, plans and pictures, but people in social relations, as well as features and lanmarks in the physical environment”

Pea, 1993 p 48

learning and life
Learning and life

Human beings are learning all the time but there is a distinction between:

‘formal’ and ‘informal’ learning

formal learning
‘Formal’ learning

“Formalization involves orchestrating and channelling familiar interactions such that they become dense and probing encounters with disciplinary material”

Crook and Light, p 158

information communication and technology
Information, Communication and Technology

The modern computer is a multipurpose environment which incorporates the following potentialities: productive tool

information resource

communications tool

entertainment device

patterns of ownership use 1998 2004
Patterns of ownership & use 1998-2004
  • Computer Ownership
    • ScreenPlay : 69%
    • InterActive 2001: 88%
    • InterActive 2003: 91%
  • Internet in the home
    • ScreenPlay: no reliable figures (modem 25%)
    • Pathfinder: 64%
    • InterActive 2001: 75%
    • InterActive 2003: 81%
the computer in the kitchen
The computer in the kitchen

Mum When it came to eating we had to sort of eat round the computer

Q So did you have it on the kitchen table because that was sort of central?

Mum Well partly that, and partly because it was the biggest table so I could spread all my notes out, writing dissertations and stuff. Yeah, it was nice to be sort of, you know, if the phone rang or someone came to the door you didn't have to run downstairs. It was the most convenient place.

computer use and personal interest
Computer Use and Personal Interest

Janine Wordprocessor and writing; Body Works and interest in medicine; Playing with foreign languages and travel

Nick/James X -Wing Tie Fighter and Star Wars

Faezal Clip art and long-term aim to write games software

Paul DTP and art

Alistair Programming and interest in the ‘machine’

Samantha Medical encyclopedia and need to know about cancer

young people are resourceful
Young People are Resourceful

If I want to use something new my Dad’s always sort of usually in a helpful mood. Or I try and work it out myself. Because we’ve got a computer and we’ve got the case of manuals behind us, so if my Dad isn’t there then I usually sort of like to look it up because I’ve usually got loads of time to do that and that’s how I usually work it out. Or if there’s the help thing on the computer I usually go to that as well.

resources for learning
Resources for learning
  • Time
  • Playing and experimenting
  • Interacting with people
  • Creative copying
  • Learning from texts
  • Knowledge-building communities
  • Working alongside more knowledgeable others
  • Families as knowledge building communities
    • Children as teachers

Boy1 School's boring because you're not allowed to ...

Boy2 School's more limited.

Boy3 Yeah. Because they say 'Right, you've got to do this, you're not allowed to do this this and this ...’

Boy 1 And you've got a certain time but ... my mum gives me a certain time and I say 'Oh, can't I have 5 minutes more?' and she gives me about 5 minutes and I keep on getting 5 minutes

playing and experimenting
Playing and Experimenting

JanineYeah I do. I like poking around with them to see what it looks like.

I like to change them to bright colours. I don't like the boring screen savers like the dinosaurs walking across the screen, I'd have asteroids walking across the screen or something like that.

Int And how do you find those?

Janine I just look. We go to the control and it gives us a list of like colours and mouse controls and things like that. Just look in and see what they do.

interacting with people
Interacting with people

Karen I sometimes know more than Dad..when there’s a problem on Microsoft Publisher and we don’t know what to do, I just go into the help thing. Dad doesn’t bother, he just plays around with it.

Dad I’m actually doing some computer courses on a Friday afternoon so that I know more than Karen does, so it’s not the other way around.

interacting with people1
Interacting with people

Boy 2 I got to learn how to use a computer by my brother. He was telling me ‘You use it like this’, ‘Do that’ and “Do this’.

Boy 3 And PC magazines often have good advice and that. I’m always like looking up things, how to do things.

Boy1 My uncle, he is qualified in IT something, and he comes once in a while from Birmingham and teaches me a little bit of stuff.

interacting with people2
Interacting with people

Int: Do either of you use Excel at home (Alan shakes head)?

Ray: Sometimes. My Dad uses it for his paper work

Int: And when you use it what do you use it for?

Ray: Umm, he uses it, cos when he’s got paper calculations and some are hard like for him, he puts it in Excel and then he puts, he circles it and then presses the equal button and it tells him what the sums are.

Int: What do you use it for?

Ray: Maths homework.

Alan: Cheat.

creative copying
Creative copying

Alistair Well I was sort of fiddling around with it. I was trying to figure out how it worked but I never succeeded until I got this one book out of the library and at the beginning it gave a small list of a Basic program.

Int And you put it in did you?

Alistair Yeah, it sort of told you how to write some text to the screen and how to ask for input from the user. That's what I'd been searching from for ages. And from that I could read a bit more in the book, how to use maths in my programming.

knowledge building communities
Knowledge-building communities
  • participants who actively want to know something
  • a willingness to share knowledge around a common set of activities — collaborative activity
  • valuing of the members of the community and the expertise which develops
learning as a by product
Learning as a ‘by-product’

Engagement with the computer inevitably leads to some form of learning.

This learning is usually incidental and non-intentional — not the purpose of the activity.This ‘informal’ learning often overlaps with what schools are trying to teach.


Learning in the home can reach ceilings

From Visual Basic to Java.

From Print Master to CAD.Resources in the home cannot always meet these challenges.Could schools draw on this desire to master a challenge by functioning as facilitators of access to appropriate resources ?


The diversity of young people’s activities on the computer in the home tends to be constrained by their personal interests

In the home, learning could be characterised as ‘deep’ rather than ‘broad’.

Could schools help overcome these constraints by providing access to diverse activities?

leisure pleasure and learning
Leisure, Pleasure and Learning

Computer use for pleasure almost always includes playing games.

Computer use for pleasure often involves activities which provide rich sites for learning which relate to school education.

Computer use for pleasure tends not to involve producing finished products.

Young person chooses activity.

Time for exploration.

Learning is incidental.

Expertise celebrated.

Extensive resources.

Depth model

Teacher chooses activity.

Insufficient time for exploration.

Learning is the purpose.

Expertise not recognised/rejected

Limited resources

Breadth model

ICT and Learning

At Home

At School

school increasing disaffection
School: Increasing Disaffection

“One of the IT staff shouted at me for going into Windows Explorer, everyone used it at [xxxx school] to open files and stuff.

They had made a custom start menu and there was no desktop , so couldn't they just take it off the start menu..

... and he threatened me with 'being kicked off the network for all the time I was at the school' - such a threat!” (Alistair, letter to researcher)

city academy bristol learning villages
City Academy Bristol - learning villages

• Five specialised learning “villages”

• Breaking down City Academy into cohesive managable communities

• Promotes stronger sense of “belonging, responsibility and accountablitiy

• Interweaving villages along a clear circulation route

city academy bristol overlapping spaces
City Academy Bristol - Overlapping spaces

• Central spine “city street”

• Complex heirarchy

• Internal/external dialogue