33rd Annual Ethnography in Education Research Forum

Digital Discourses: Education and Ethnography 
in the 21st Century
February 24-25, 2012

Plenary Speakers:
Angela Reyes, Hunter College
John Jackson, University of Pennsylvania
Linda Christensen, Lewis & Clark College
Glynda Hull, University of California, Berkeley

Technology and electronic media today are developing faster than ever, and change the ways we communicate, teach, learn and research. We now live in a digital world where new forms of interactions, social relationships, and identities are generated, thus transforming the very meaning of education. Learning and educating now occur in contexts shaped by Facebook, Smart Phones, Texting, Twitter, online learning, and Skyping—creating new resources and new challenges to our educative worlds.

One now needs to draw on ever more diverse semiotic resources when traversing across different virtual and real spaces. As ethnographic researchers, our toolkit has greatly expanded: our briefcase-sized tape recorders of the past have been replaced by pocket-sized digital recorders, smart technology, hand-held video recorders, and online chatting from opposite corners of the globe. These tools have opened up greater possibilities for ethnographically capturing and exploring digital discourses and also for collaboration among ethnographers from a distance. Reciprocally, ethnographic and qualitative research provides keen analytical tools to capture and understand the complex and vibrant realities in which fast-changing technology affects the lives of students and teachers.

The 33rd Ethnography in Education Forum will seek to explore the following types of questions: How do learning, teaching and researching take on new forms in these new semiotic worlds?  How do digital tools shape our ethnographic methods and research? What can ethnographic research teach us about teaching and learning in these ever-changing digital contexts? How do we navigate the obstacles of teaching, learning, and researching with those who --do and do not -- have access to new technologies?

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