Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

The Cyberculture Theories and Teacher Preparation at the LIFE-UFC Project in Brazil

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

The Cyberculture Theories and Teacher Preparation at the LIFE-UFC Project in Brazil

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The experience presented in this article was developed along one semester at a federal university in the northern coast of Brazil. It involved the participation of a university professor, as the class instructor, students from the university teacher-preparation track and students from a high school close to the university campus. The course taught is named Cyberculture and Education and it aims to expand teacher preparation beyond the some how limited perspective of the infusion of technology into the curriculum and into teaching practices. This means that pre-service teachers enrolled in this course participated in a learning process in which they were guided to bring key elements from cyberculture into the ways they envisioned their teaching in close dialogue with their students, as it will be detailed along this paper. This was important because it brought them closer to some of the new ways of being and learning that are taking place on the internet but that are often bypassed at school. Since this approach is a new one in the field of teacher preparation, it is important to document and to reflect upon the learning process entailed to it, particularly taking into consideration pre-service teachers' perspectives about it to achieve a better understanding about the possibilities and the difficulties involved in this new approach to teacher preparation and cyberculture nowadays.

FRAMEWORK

Cyberculture covers a wide field of studies that include many theories and scholars addressing issues and questions related to cyberspace (a complex congregation of virtual networks) and the social, cultural and political phenomena that it holds. An important aspect of the cyberculture studies deals with how people act in cyberspace in relation to information and knowledge. On this topic, Lemos (2004) formulated the Cyberculture Laws, which entail transmitting, connecting and reconfigurating information and communication practices. By transmitting, the author indicates the growing practice of "do it yourself" embodied in authentic contents or remixed ones generated by internet users and posted on various web interfaces. In turn, these interfaces aggregate and display comments and various contributions from other users. This represents an unprecedented democratization of the publisher's role, allowing many publishing for many. The second law relates to the connection principle. Lemos (2004) articulates that it is not enough to just produce content, as they gain new meanings and expand their reach when they are shared over networks such as the internet. The exponential expansion of publishing and transmition, and the network diffusion of information, lead to the third law of the cyberculture, which is the reconfiguration of social practices, institutions and media arrangements. This reconfiguration translates into new forms of consumption of cultural goods, revised formats of symbolic goods' production and new perspectives on the sense of ownership and authorship.

These changes, which occur in the context of the cyberculture, indicate a higher level of social complexity that takes place in the intersection between the user and the cyberspace. It constitutes then the creative appropriation that, according to Lemos, is

at the same time, a new way to use resources, a new way to learn and a new technical field, as well as a form of deviation (deviance) in relation to the operating instructions, a space completed by the user in the gap not programmed by the producer/inventor. (2004, p. 239, translated from Portuguese)

Lemos' (2004) Cyberculture Laws are closely related to the authorship principle incorporated into the Conectivism learning perspective proposed by Siemens (2004). The author formulates that learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources and that the ability to learn is more important than what one knows at a given moment. Also, it is necessary to know how to select and to nurture information sources as well as to establish connections among diverse areas, ideas and concepts. …

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