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Slides from recent Networked Learning Conference presentation in Zagreb

I am currently basking in the light of a Dalmatian coastal city and thought I should post these slides lest I forget. I recently presented at the Networked Learning Conference in Zagreb, Croatia and it was stimulating. The full papers can be found here, (and mine here) but I posted my abstract below the presentation.

This was a fun piece for me to write and present as I have lived with the subject matter for the last ten years or so. Amira is a composite character but largely drawn from one person; the other characteristics come from the data of a number of research projects and a few idiosyncratic bits from myself, all expressing, feebly, the idea that mobility is a difficult business.

Abstract
The capacity of individuals or systems to generate or learn how to generate a metastability, a state of navigating the largely unmanageable aspects of complexity, “cannot be reduced either to the actions of individual actors or to persisting social structures” (Urry, 2016: 59). Complexity largely resists proportionality or linearity; small changes can generate large structural consequences, and individuals will, intellectually or dispositionally, exert considerable resources towards navigating this metastability.

This paper explores complexity through Amira, an imagined composite of characteristics gleaned from the author’s research. Amira is a Nepalese woman studying in a postgraduate programme in Europe. The habitus of Bourdieu is repurposed as disposition; a tendency of an individual to act, react, or think in a particular way based on the social systems through which they move. Disposition is advanced in as a necessary addition to the theorizing of mobilities and mobile learning respectively, one that countenances Amira’s navigational practices and learning. It is a fluid process of engagement across multiple contexts, some being materially, deliberately, and dispositionally mobile. Ultimately, it is one that Amira must negotiate to maintain the mobility on which she depends.

Mobile technology is positioned as a critical factor in managing Amira’s mobility across her communities. Mobile learning, as an attendant learning position designed to bolster Amira’s capacity for managing her mobility, needs to account for the wider range of this activity: across multiple interactional contexts, amongst people and interactive technologies, encapsulating public and private processes; activity that moves between individual Amira’s) and structural (those “immanent to the material conditions of global interdependence”) systems.

Mobile learning, if it to be of use to Amira, needs to account for the wider range of this activity: across multiple interactional contexts, amongst people and interactive technologies, encapsulating public and private processes; activity that moves between micro (Amira’s) and macro (those “immanent to the material conditions of global interdependence”) systems. Mobile learning needs to be accounting for Amira’s capacity for material capacity, intellectual capacity, and, as this paper is attempting to suggest, a dispositional capacity. Disposition is advanced in this paper as a means of expanding her capacity to navigate the complexity of her own mobility, and as a means of expanding research practice towards identifying such complexity.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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