Stephen Petrina


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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Status and use of information communication technology in Uganda secondary schools: teachers' competencies, challenges, dispositions, and perceptions (2020)

This study explored teachers’ competencies, dispositions, perceptions, and challenges in selected secondary schools in Mbale district of the Republic of Uganda. Two research questions were investigated: 1) What do teachers in Uganda perceive to be the necessary ICT competencies and dispositions in order to implement the high school curriculum? 2) What do teachers perceive as challenges to implementing ICT in curriculum and instruction? Within a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design, 243 teachers were surveyed and nine were interviewed and observed in classrooms. Exploratory factor analysis loaded six significant factors: (1) Computer use as competency indicator (α = .89); (2) Communication enhancement (α = .76): (3) Effective mediator of teaching and learning (α = .73); (4) Drafters and preparatory tool (α = .72); (5) Performance indicator (α = .64); and (6) Computer-centred pedagogy (α = .59). Computer use as competency indicator was the best predictor of the teachers’ perceptions. Qualitative thematic analysis yielded six major themes: (1) Competencies in ICT Use Depend on Training Received; (2) ICT Use is Enhanced by Teacher Characteristics or Identity; (3) ICT Use Depends on Availability of ICT Infrastructure; (4) ICT Use is Beneficial to Lesson Planning and Instruction; (5) Teacher Collaboration through ICTs has Implications for Performance; and (6) ICT-enhanced Pedagogy Requires Extra Effort and Time. Teachers indicated their competencies were hampered by the lack of technology training and adequate trainers. Teachers also indicated: resources in general were needed at the schools to enable them to integrate ICTs; and IT departments were sometimes hindrances to their efforts to adopt technology. Teachers also agreed that at times they did not use technology because it would take too much time. Implications for practice and policy touch on six main areas: (1) Enhancing classroom uses of technology; (2) providing technology training; (3) providing technology infrastructure and resources; (4) providing time; (5) modifying the school curriculum; and (6) adopting technology plans for schools. Findings suggest the Uganda government needs to commit significant funding to equip schools with resources. At the same time, findings indicate that availability of technology resources does not guarantee teacher change or student learning.

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Design of a 3D virtual learning environment for acquisition of cultural competence in nurse education: experiences of nursing and other health care students, instructors, and instructional designers (2019)

This study investigates how a 3D virtual world or learning environment facilitates nursing and other health care students’ acquisition of cultural competence. The study specifically explores the experience of students, instructors, and instructional designers in a 3D virtual learning environment designed specifically for this research. The research questions are: 1) What are the experiences of instructional designers and instructors in a simulated immersive learning environment of a 3D virtual world for the acquisition of cultural competence for students in nursing and other health related fields? 2) What are the experiences of students in a simulated immersive learning environment of a 3D virtual world for the acquisition of cultural competence? The design of the 3D world and analysis of data draw on a framework based on Deweyan and Confucian pragmatist theories of experience. The theoretical framework suggests that learning is best supported through affordances for continuity and interaction, which are essential when designing, integrating, and evaluating simulation and immersion in 3D virtual worlds. Design-based research (DBR) and user experience (UX) methodologies are employed to explore the experience of students, instructors, and other participants. A taxonomy of experience (ToE) established by Coxon (2007) guides qualitative data collection and analysis in this study. Users’ data were distilled through nine steps to help experiences to be “seen” and to make abstract concepts comprehensible and visible. The findings include seven themes distilled from the data: 1) Simulation for 3D learning environments is best grounded in real-world contexts; 2) 3D learning environments should be shaped through holistic design; 3) 3D learning environments should include design for embodiment; 4) 3D learning environments should include design for interactivity; 5) 3D learning environments should include design for continuous experience; 6) 3D learning environments should take the complexity of the technical interface into account; and 7) Design for the acquisition of cultural competence should take the users' experience and knowledge into account. Implications include: 1) Conceptualization of “designer as host” and hospitality through Chinese understandings of guest-host relations; 2) Consideration of virtual experience overlooked within Deweyan and Confucian pragmatism.

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Designing technotheologies: ethics, pedagogies, and spiritualities in maker actor-networks (2017)

The purpose of this study was to understand how religion and spirituality matter in the consumer use, design, and engineering of media and technology. Specifically, the research questions were: 1) What role do ethics and values perform in maker and hacker networks? 2) How are ethics and values integrated and manifested throughout the design process in maker or hacker networks? 3) What are the routines, rituals, and subjective well-being of participants in the maker or hacker design process? The research setting was the designers in the maker community in Vancouver and technologists associated with Code for the Kingdom in Seattle. All designers and technologists in Vancouver and Seattle have independent projects at various levels of collaboration. I recruited seven participants affiliated with the Vancouver maker community for in-depth analysis of their design process. In Seattle, I recruited two hackers who participated in Code for the Kingdom, a Christian organization that hosts hackathons for altruistic and religious purposes. Their focus on innovation, design methodologies, and critical making allowed me to discern their values and ethics through their design process. These participants have different perspectives on religion and spirituality, which make their technotheological networks complex. Case studies facilitated in-depth examination of makers and hackers as the main actors of our inquiry. The use of video in dialogue with ethnographic inquiry allowed for nuance, discerning complexities, and giving form to expression in designing technotheologies. Conceptually, the research is framed by actor-network theory (ANT) and value sensitive design (VSD), enabling the study of how participants discover, design artifacts, make meaning, develop values, and maintain a sense of the good life and well-being, emotional and spiritual. Findings indicate that among the makers and hackers, technotheological networks articulate specific values alongside technological creations, practices, and personal ways of being. In their own unique ways, these makers and hackers inquire into the materialized morality and design phases of ethically responsible decision making processes. Conversely, the non-human actors express their own values within technotheological networks. My role as a techno-theologian helped facilitate competing value claims by positing a normative focus and by temporarily opening black boxes.

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Sharing is caring: prosocial behaviours, theory of mind, and media and technology in early childhood education (2017)

This empirical study investigated the manifestation of prosocial sharing behaviours and how this interplayed with preschool-aged children’s Theory of Mind (ToM), described in cognitive science as one’s ability to ascribe mental states to others and how the ascribed states are used to explain and predict the actions of others, when using media and technology (M&T), i.e., iPads. The following research questions were explored: 1) In what ways do theory of mind and the prosocial behaviour of sharing manifest among preschool-aged children interacting with iPads?; 2) What are the effects of iPad use on the manifestation of theory of mind and prosocial behaviours of sharing among preschool-aged children?; 3) What are the possible connections between a child’s theory of mind and their prosocial behaviour of sharing? The study is grounded in empathy-altruism theory, social exchange theory, and social learning theories. It employed a mixed methods approach that used design-based research (DBR) strategies and video ethnography for data collection. During the study, the children wore personable cameras, which captured data from their points of view to enhance the video captured by the researcher. Phases of the DBR included: a pilot feasibility study (prototype test) with practicing teachers (n=18), field study with preschool-aged children (n=3) (four years old), and definitive test group (n=5) (three and four years old) in another early childhood education (ECE) setting. The field study and definitive test phases included a teaching intervention for data collection and analysis: 1) Reading digital story Mine, 2) ToM storybook task battery, 3) Demonstration of Chatterpix Kid, and 4) Limited iPad to children ratio using Chatterpix Kid to animate pictures taken. Data were analyzed using qualitative open-thematic coding methods and statistical methods, including Chi-square and Cohen’s Kappa for agreement. The qualitative and quantitative results indicated that all children participants had ToM attributes and incidents of prosocial behaviours occurred more than nonsocial or antisocial behaviours when using media and technology. The study’s findings underscore the importance of exploring in situ children’s ToM, using point of view wearable cameras, and continued research to understand short and long-term implications of media and technology in early childhood education.

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Empowering Girls as Change Makers in Maker Culture: Stories From a Summer Camp for Girls in Design, Media & Technology (2015)

This dissertation investigates how girls develop new affinities towards and capabilities in media and technology. Thirty co-researchers, girls aged 10 to 13, were recruited into 101 Technology Fun, a series of summer camps with learning labs in animation, game design, movie production, robotics programming, and web development. The design studio setting, created by the How We Learn (Media & Technology Across the Lifespan) collective, offered girls their own makerspace to explore new roles as media and technology producers. Highlighting the importance for youth voices to be recognized and given influence in the academic research concerning their lives and learning circumstances, the findings focus on the catalytic or generative artifacts and “little stories” (e.g., Lyotard’s petits récits) revealing the co-researchers’ experiences and expressions of girlhood-in-interaction-with-technology (the key unit of analysis). Artifacts are addressed as they relate to stories made or analyzed by the girls, including their concerns, needs, talents, inspiration, literacy, and volition. The artifacts, such as music videos, robotic amusement park, and the momME alternate reality game, are catalytic for storymaking and, symmetrically, the stories are catalytic to artifact production and sharing. Four distinct yet interrelated elements characterize the co-researchers’ fieldwork and designworks: (1) agency (girls having influence and power); (2) ingenuity (girls being clever and inventive); (3) self-interpretation (girls making sense and significance); and (4) self-efficacy (girls believing in or judging their technological capabilities). Findings underscore the matter concerning how, why, and where do girls learn to become innovators, leaders, and producers of media and technology (thereby overturning traditional gender and generational stereotypes)? Indeed, how a group of female youth story changes in their sense of technological self-efficacy, self-interpretation, ingenuity, and agency is one of the most important contributions of this study. Another contribution involves the formation of the Tween Empowerment & Advocacy Methodology (TEAM), a design-based and participatory research approach that emphasizes relational ethics through artifact production, storymaking, mind scripting, invention, and imagination. Questions, both guiding and emergent, are articulated in artifact and text to motivate further scholarly inquiry, action, and advocacy, thus generating more opportunities for girls to participate in, design, make, and transform technology culture.

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Designing educational games and advanced learning technologies: An identification of emotions for modeling pedagogical and adaptive emotional agents (2014)

Emotional, cognitive, and motivational processes are dynamic and influence each other during learning. The goal of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of emotion interaction in order to design advanced learning technologies (ALTs) and intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) that adapt to emotional needs. In order for ITSs to recognize and respond to affective states, the system needs to have knowledge of learners’ behaviors and states. Based on emotion frameworks in affective computing and education, this study responds to this need by providing an in-depth analysis of students’ affective states during learning with an educational mathematics game for grades five through seven (Heroes of Math Island) specifically designed for this research study and based on principles of instructional and game design. The mixed methodology research design had two components: (1) a quasi-experimental study and (2) affect analysis. The quasi-experimental study included pretest, intervention (gameplay), and posttest, followed by a post-questionnaire and interview. Affect analysis involved the process of identifying what emotions should be observed, and video annotations by trained judges.The study contributes to related research by: (1) reviewing sets of emotions important for learning derived from literature and pilot studies; (2) analyzing inter-judge agreement both aggregated and over individual students to gain a better understanding of how individual differences in expression affect emotion recognition; (3) examining in detail what and how many emotions actually occur or are expressed in the standard 20-second interval; (4) designing a standard method including a protocol and an instrument for trained judges; and (5) offering an in-depth exploration of the students’ subjective reactions with respect to gameplay and the mathematics content. This study analyzes and proposes an original set of emotions derived from literature and observations during gameplay. The most relevant emotions identified were boredom, confidence, confusion/hesitancy, delight/pleasure, disappointment/displeasure, engaged concentration, and frustration. Further research on this set is recommended for design of ALTs or ITSs that motivate students and respond to their cognitive and emotional needs. The methodological protocol developed to label and analyze emotions should be evaluated and tested in future studies.

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Designing immersive language learning environments in virtual worlds (2013)

During the past decade, there has been increasing attention to second/foreign language teaching and learning in virtual worlds. The purpose of this study was to explore affordances of a 3D virtual world platform designed as an immersive language teaching and learning environment. Focusing on designing virtual worlds as a catalyst for change, three design phases (development of artifact, low fidelity prototyping, and high fidelity prototyping) were detailed and documented in this study. Nineteen students from a pre-service teacher cohort, two technicians and eight language learners from high schools in Vancouver as well as eighty language learners from universities in China were involved in this study; participants were asked to immerse themselves in the virtual language learning environment designed for the study. Participants’ interactions in the virtual world were videotaped and avatar interactions were recorded. Group discussions, observations, suvey questionnaires and the video-stimulated post interaction interviews provided complementary data for understanding affordances of virtual worlds in designing immersive second/foreign language learning curriculum. Analysis of the feasibility study, low fidelity design, and high fidelity design suggested a more robust design for immerisve virtual language learning environments. Three design cycles revealed primary design factors of immersive second/foreign language learning in virtual worlds (embodied avatar, co-presence, and simulation) and their relative significance in the process of learners’ meaning-making and knowledge construction.Findings showed that embodiment through an embodied avatar, community of practice through co-presence, and situated learning through simulation had a greater impact on the immersive virtual learning design. Building on a theoretical framework of embodied mind, situated learning and distributed cognition, this study documented features of learning theories key to language learning curriculum design in virtual worlds.The findings and techniques resulting from this study will help designers and researchers improve second/foreign language curriculum design in virtual worlds. It also prompts designers and researchers to achieve a better understanding of how virtual worlds can be redesigned by rethinking learning theories. The refinement of design-based research stages into low and high fidelity prototyping provides researchers with empirically tested and nuanced understandings of the design process.

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Learning mathematics for the workplace: an activity theory study of pipe trades training (2010)

This study examines a single pipe trades pre-apprentice within a one-on-one impromptu tutoring session making sense of fractions-of-an-inch on a measuring tape within the context of a pre-apprenticeship program for the pipe trades. The multi-semiotic analysis of this event is framed using cultural-historical activity theory and Radford’s theory of knowledge objectification. From these complementary perspectives, mathematics is considered a culturally situated purposeful activity. Specifically, mathematics learning involves a cultural-historical, socially, and semiotically mediated process of objectification, (i.e., a process in which one becomes progressively aware and conversant, through one’s actions and interpretations, of a cultural logic of mathematical objects). The analysis focuses on the pre-apprentice’s and tutor’s joint activity during this encounter, drawing on video data and various artifacts used. This entailed slow-motion and frame-by-frame analysis of the video to assess the role and coordination of various semiotic systems, actions, and artifacts. Particular attention is paid to: the semiotic system of cultural signification, norms of practice, contradictions or conflicts that serve to motivate this activity, specific objectives of or sub-goals in the learning process for this student, semiotic processes used both by the student and tutor in the objectification process, as well as changes to the subjectification of both the pre-apprentice and researcher-as-tutor in this process. This analysis informs Radford’s theory of knowledge objectification by showing, through fine-grained analysis, relevant aspects of its dynamics and by calling attention to a new form of iconicity and a process of semiotic extraction, both original contributions to research. It also shows various ways in which a learner’s subjectification is evident in the process of learning mathematics. The results have a number of practical implications for the teaching of mathematics generally, and mathematics for the workplace in particular, by drawing attention to the social, cultural, historical, and mediated dimensions and dynamics of mathematics learning activity. The findings also illustrate the complexity of learning to measure by identifying a number of processes and conflicts involved and practical ways these are negotiated or resolved.

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Teachers' perceptions of media education in BC secondary schools: challenges and possibilities (2010)

The inclusion of media education and integration of media literacy into the K-12 school curriculum is seemingly well established in Canada. Despite successes, media education does not yet have widespread acceptance. For example, in British Columbia (BC), research suggests that media education has not been significantly implemented into the curriculum. In order to identify a baseline and the challenges that media education faces, this research focused on a case study of Lower Mainland, BC secondary schools in order to understand the implementation of mediaeducation. One notable challenge is a lack of research on this topic; this dissertation contributes to knowledge of teachers’ perspectives on or perceptions of media education and literacy. The case study includes five data sources and an analysis of texts. The data sources include:Pre-service teachers (n=42), In-service teachers (n=24), English and Social Studies teachers (n=17), Department heads (n=4), and teachers experienced in media education (n=4). The research addressed four questions. First, what are in-service and pre-service teachers’ perceptions of media literacy? Second, what is the current status of media education? Third, what kind of support is available for media education or for teachers to integrate media literacy into classroom instruction? Fourth, what are the obstacles and challenges that teachers encounter when teaching about the media? Findings from this case study suggest that media education is only partially included in the secondary school curriculum in Lower Mainland schools. In this case, media literacy is also hit or miss, and depends on teachers’ interests and time made available to address topics that fall outside of the conventional English and Social Studies curriculum. Experienced teachers manage to find their own ways and means for media education practice, but for other teachers, immense challenges and obstacles prevent even a recognition of the importance of media education and literacy. A lack of teacher awareness of existing resources compounds the challenges, and opportunities for professional development are limited in BC. In summary, the recognition of media literacy’s importance does not in this case necessarily transfer to media education in practice.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Interpreting experts' perspectives on philosophizing media and technology for children and youth (2022)

This research addressed the problem of children's and youth's philosophical perspectives on media and technology (M&T) through the exploratory expert interview method. Four experts— in the order of the interviews, Dr. HildaRuth Beaumont, Dr. Renee Hobbs, Dr. Fernando Almeida, and Dr. Laura D’Olimpio, in design & technology education, media literacy, and philosophy education— shared insights into how philosophical capacity in children and youth manifests and evolves. The study focused on three research questions: 1) What are experts’ perspectives on what it means for children and youth to philosophize M&T? 1a) What are experts’ perspectives on the relationship between this philosophical capacity and media and digital literacy? 1b) What are experts’ perspectives on how philosophizing M&T can be integrated into the school curriculum? Drawing from the writings of Dewey (1920, 1949), Deleuze and Guattari (1991/1994), Petrina (2020), Pigliucci (2014), de Vries (2016) and Weischedel (1999), the theoretical framework understands philosophizing as a creative activity based on argumentation, concept creation, and reflection. Committed to analyzing and critiquing any aspect of reality, philosophizing transpires through the exploration of conceptual space. Mitcham's (1978, 1994) typology of technology structures the reflection regarding how students perceive M&T. One over-arching theme, and four core themes organize data analysis and findings: Philosophizing as Perspective Expansion encompass Emergent Questions, Metaphor, Critique, and Ethics. All three research questions are explored within the overarching and four core themes. These themes in philosophizing M&T are articulated in terms of how they represent deep transformations in children’s and youth’s perspectives in symbiosis with experience and intellectual growth, which I described as Philosophizing as Perspective Expansion. Expansion of perspective means increasing or transforming the interconnected compound of ideas one relies on to decide how to act facing a complex issue. This transformation occurs through the following elements: emergent questions, critique, and metaphorical reflections that include wonder, mythical interpretations, and metaphysical discussions. Hence, in conversation with the four experts, this research sought points that crystallize connections between knowledge fields central to the philosophy of M&T for children and youth.

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Sexuality education and socialization for British Columbia's youth and the increasingly influential role of social media: for better or worse? (2022)

A flawed and inadequate school-based sexual health education in Canada leaves adolescents both unhappy and unequipped to care for their health. To help fill these sexual health gaps, they turn to other avenues, one being social media. However, these experiences of sexual socialization via social media are understudied. As such, this convergent mixed-method design with an emphasis on the qualitative explored sexual health education, in school and social media, through the perspectives of adolescents. Data were collected through anonymous surveys from 11 participants (ages 17-19). Three themes emerged from analysis: 1) Variety of topics in school-based sexual health education; 2) Various ways of obtaining information; and 3) Using social media to gain a sense of belonging. Youth in this study were interested in learning a variety of sexual health topics yet found their school-based education at best, failed to either reflect this interest, or at worst, made participants feel uncomfortable and shameful. Two significant ways sexual health information was shared were through friends and social media. Friends and social media were a supportive approach and space to discuss curiosities and share experiences with the added facet that social media can also inadvertently introduce youth to unfamiliar content. For youth, particularly marginalized adolescents like LGBTQ2IA+ youth, social media and its online community proved critical in discovering and forming their own sexual identities – helping to gain a sense of belonging. However, social media can be incorrect, and ineffective at connecting all users to appropriate sexual health content. While social media can be used in conjunction with school-based education, the findings suggests that at this time, it cannot be a stand-alone solution. It is thus, considerably crucial that school-based sexual health education be changed and improved to be comprehensive and inclusive.

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Message me when you land: tourism and hospitality students' social media relationships with friends, family, and devices (2020)

This qualitative study addressed the problem of maintaining relationships via creative and routine uses of Mobile Devices (MDs). Twelve participants were recruited from a private college in Vancouver, which specializes in tourism and hospitality education for international students. Interviews focused on their uses of MDs in creating and maintaining relationships with family and friends. The study addressed three research questions: 1) In what ways do international students utilize MDs to maintain relationships with family, friends, and the devices themselves? 1a) How do the students maintain relationships at home, school, and online, while fostering newer, more immediate relationships? 1b) How do the students maintain relationships with media and technology (M&T) devices and apps? For analysis and interpretation, the theoretical framework draws on Hinde’s (1976a, 1976b) research into relationality and on Goffman’s (1974) caution of the collusion of technology in changing relationships. Findings are organized around four themes: Shifting Time and Space Constraints, Necessity vs. Habit, Online Identity, and Influence and Marketing. Within each theme, one, two, or all three questions are explored. The participants post memes, photos, and videos to their social media but do not always keep up their relationships with family and friends directly, though they said most of their significant relationships had not faltered. Participants were hard pressed to say that their personal technology use was a bad thing, though they consistently expressed how it would get in the way of experiencing real life in the moment. The participants have their technologies on them and interact with them on a regular basis, but their views on MDs extend from necessity to habit. This research has implications for the process of intercultural relationship building among students, as it takes the pervasiveness of M&T into account. Given current conditions of life, play, study, and work, implications are placed in context of Covid-19. How this sample of international students interacts and depicts themselves online suggests the strengthening of some relationships while keeping others at a comfortable distance, but still near, nonetheless. Educators of all levels should be aware of how students create, maintain, and destroy relationships via MDs.

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Redistributing the teacher: an analysis of technology enabled teaching in medical education (2018)

Educational technologies (ETs) are increasingly used in undergraduate medical education to train the next generation of doctors. However, once introduced to a learning environment, ETs can have intended and unintended consequences. Current research in medical education frequently renders these ETs as simple tools to be used by teachers, and ignores their unintended effects on the learning environment. This thesis employs actor-network theory (ANT) to chart the distribution of teaching from human to ETs to determine: 1) In what ways are the properties or roles of the teacher distributed across advanced learning technologies (ALTs) in medical education? 2) In what way is this distribution acknowledged among teachers within medical education discourses? Discourse analysis methods were used to analyze a selection of twenty-five medical education research and practice articles drawn from the PubMed database (2007-present). The distribution of teaching to ETs, specifically ALTs, in these articles is extended through time and space, teaching context, and content, and modifies human teaching. Acknowledgement of this distribution was evident in faculty members’ or teachers’ concerns of being displaced or overshadowed by ALTs. Human teachers and nonhuman ET teachers ought to be considered partners. Once introduced, the nonhuman ETs become socially embedded and their participation requires continued attention and critique. Finally, when examining the effectiveness of ETs’ role in a learning environment, scholars should consider the ways in which their inclusion was deliberate, transparent, and accepted by other actors within the network.

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Youth perspectives on cyberbullying and social media platforms: teen agency, interactivity, and social cognition (2018)

This research examines how social media platforms have reconfigured traditional notions of social interaction and specifically how a sample of youth view these platforms in light of problems with cyberbullying. The research design included two primary questions: 1) How do social media platforms reconfigure social interaction and means by which youth perceive and understand these platforms? 2) What role does social cognition play in youth perspectives of online identities and interactions in relation to cyberbullying? The participants included nine Grades 10-12 students (4 males and 5 females), aged between 16-21 years. The research site was an independent high school located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Actor-network theory and optimal distinctive theory (Brewer, 1991; Latour, 2005) formed the theoretical perspective for analyzing, discussing and the presentation of the research study findings. Data were collected through ethnographic techniques, including observations, artefacts (documents, etc.), and interviews (focus group).The following thematic findings were derived from data analysis: Interacting with and through content; Connectedness and reduced telepresence; Platform-culture; Growing up online; Assemblage: Self as assimilated; Assemblage: Identity as fluid and layered; External observer: Recalling social schema; Immersed-bystanders: Imposing social schema; and Aggressive coping to the self as target. Given a separate parallel state of identity, users are challenged to maintain acceptable or appropriate behaviour. The findings of this study provide helpful insights into why online antisocial behaviour and cyberbullying become pervasive and toxic. The implications and significance of the research findings have relevance for educators on how best to engage and understand teenagers in these spaces, with new and effective measures to examine instances of conflict and antisocial behaviour online. For social media companies and startups, it provides an insight into the nuanced mode and context of interaction prevalent within these platforms and the resulting impact on how individuals, the collective, and the platform itself all exert influence on each other.

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Tweens, teens, and digital texts: designing affinity spaces to understand cyberbullying (2016)

This research explores how adolescents design, interpret, and navigate affinity spaces in connection to cyberbullying awareness. A class of Grade 8 students (aged 12-13, mixed gender, and a variety of digital skills) (n=28) participated in the study. The participants first investigated the use of affinity spaces, collaborative physical and digital spaces (Gee, 2005), then proceeded to design their own spaces for collaborative group work. A variety of data were collected in the form of peer-to-peer pre interviews, OneNote collaborative group journals, in-class observations of class work sessions, and post interviews. The methodologies used include case study, design-based research, and ethnographic techniques. This research was conducted in six stages and in a total of 15 hours; certain stages were allotted extra work sessions to accommodate the speed of the students’ progress. Stages three to five overlapped and occurred simultaneously as students designed, tried, re-examined and compared other applications, then re-evaluated their designs. The findings of this study inform how adolescents design affinity spaces (real and virtual) and emphasize design features to serve as functioning collaborative workspaces, both in and out of the classroom, to prevent or counter cyberbullying. Findings related to how students design affinity spaces for collaborative work emerged in three themes: Group Presence, Individual Digital Space, and Guidelines for Clarity. Student-informed or student-designed spaces provide a sense of ownership or and self-regulation and give insight as to how codes of conduct inform these spaces and vice versa. Future studies should adopt an iterative process of design-based research to test and refine these affinity spaces (Collins et al., 2004; Wang, Petrina, & Feng, 2015). Recommendations also include future applications of sociocultural theory and activity theory to discern how adolescents differentiate between face-to-face and online communication and practical classroom applications of affinity spaces in secondary schools.

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Bourdieu and Latour in STS: "Let's leave aside all the facts for a while" (2014)

Through the lens of the English-speaking Science and Technology Studies (STS) community, the relationship between Pierre Bourdieu and Bruno Latour has remained semi-opaque. This thesis problematizes the Anglo understanding of the Bourdieu-Latour relationship and unsettles the resolve that maintains the distance that STS has kept from Bourdieu. Despite many similarities between these two scholars, Bourdieu has remained a distant figure to STS despite his predominance in disciplines from which STS frequently borrows and the relevance of his corpus to topics dear to the heart of STS. This is in part due to Latour's frequent criticisms of Bourdieu by name, Latour’s philosophical disagreements with Kant and neoKantians, and Latour’s prestige in STS, and partially due to Bourdieu’s somewhat indirect or orthogonal ways of addressing natural and physical sciences and technology. Due to the fact that the writings of both needed to be translated from the original French to be received by Anglo audiences, important cultural, stylistic, and rhetorical nuances were lost, mistranslated, or not translated across the linguistic and geographical divides. Including these distinctions is invaluable to understanding their relationship and further weakens the justification for Bourdieu's absence from STS.

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Video gaming in the classroom: Insights and ideas from teenage students (2013)

For this research, four high school aged teenagers participated in an intensive one week video gaming camp, at which time they articulated their attitudes and ideas about mainstream video games and their place in education. The purpose was to explore strategies for utilizing mainstream commercial video games for educative purposes in the classroom. The participants’ insights along with observations made on their interaction with video games were analyzed through Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation and the General Aggression Model. In summary, the participants, more or less experts in gaming, enjoyed video games and described them as one of their favourite activities. Furthermore, it was found that video games played both a positive and negative role in the participants’ lives. For example, all participants seemed to have developed healthy values and relationships directly through playing video games during their preadolescent years. Conversely, their responses also indicated that they experienced limits to video games and did not see innovation from market and home to school as a smooth, trivial process. Rather, they provided key insights into aligning specific games with specific content, curriculum, and courses. The participants’ insights suggest that the use of mainstream video games for learning will most likely continue to be a fringe strategy implemented by individual teachers who actively discern the educational uses of video games. Game and gaming literacies are among the most recent entries into new literacies research. This thesis contributes to this research by exploring teenagers’ ideas about gaming in the classroom. In conclusion, this study finds that mainstream video games have potential to be effectively used as learning strategies in the classroom in the future pending on continued progress and interest in this endeavor.

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