1st DIGIT-M-ED Symposium, June 30-July 1, 2012

Learning and development with digital technologies – Cross-cultural perspectives – Interdisciplinary International Symposium, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

Leading questions:

–  What do we understand under the term “digital media”?

–  What role do digital media play in the life of young people all over the world? What is their psychological, social and cultural impact?

–  What young people can be referred to as “marginalized”? How is their life influenced by digital media?

–  How can we combine the three different approaches – multimodality, (post-)vygotskian psychology, historical-cultural anthropology – to carry out an interdisciplinary research? How can we collect, compare and contrast data which will be brought together by the different teams?

– What is the relationship between theory and empirical data? Cross-cultural; interdisciplinary dimensions of research? Do we apply or integrate these perspectives How can we localize the social?

− questions of citizenship and social justice

Saturday, June 30

11.00-11.30 – Are NEW media indeed NEW? Michalis Kontopodis

Michalis Kontopodis presented the following video-interview by Siegfried Zielinski as to open the discussion on the “new” aspects of “new” media.


Although the discussion is open, what is clear is that we focus on practice to define the media, not on media to define the practice. Thus asking for the role of digital media means looking beyond what is expected to happen and describing the specific possibilities that digital media offer. It is about the performance of practices through media.

11.30-12.00 – What is mediation? Opposed discourses of social media – Manolis Dafermakis

Manolis Dafermakis raised the question what mediation is, referred to the opposed discourses of social media, asked what marginalization is and how it is possible to define it. He also drew the attention to the issue what culture is.

Marginalization criteria might be different in different areas/ socio-cultural contexts, among them one might have:

– unemployment

– lack of family and social support

– not visible/ recognized by law

– situative/ performative

He also referred to network analysis, how to move beyond the divide between subject/object, overcome limitations of our social-science methodologies, do t-ethnography.

12.00-14.00 – Lev Kuravsky, Natalya Ulanova, Nikolay Lukin & Olga Rubtsova/ Youth Projects and Digital Technologies in Moscow/ Russia

Olga Rubtsova referred to the following issues: – general psycho-social tasks of adolescence; – teenage crisis, identity formation and peculiarities of development of modern teenagers; – digital media and their impact on the process of development in adolescence; – on-line role-play games (RPGs): a means of coping with psychological needs or a trap for modern teenagers? – “meta-reality” or how to draw the line between real and virtual: discussing future perspectives of digital media evolution.

Natalya Ulanova developed an experimental design in order to study learning software for physics education. She introduced a differentiation between media as tools that are just available, or as signs that are appropriated by the children in the course of learning activities. The idea is to confront children with instruments with which they can solve particular learning tasks.

Lev Kuravsky, Dean of Computer Science Faculty and Head of Applied Informatics Department, presented a series of very interesting short movies made by students of 18-23 years old suffering from different disabilities (autistic disorders, memory and attention disorders, hyper-activity syndrome, sight and movement disturbance etc.) His research interest lie in the sphere of analyzing the potential of digital media as a means of coping with psychological and social problems of young people with disabilities.

14.00-15.00 Lunch break

15.00-16.00 – Teaching with Media: Ethnographic Perspectives: Christoph Wulf, Martin Bittner, Nino Ferrin, Juliane Lamprecht

Nino Ferrin, Juliane Lamprecht, Martin Bittner presented an example of focused ethnography. They gave first insights into a work-in-process analysis of the practices of teaching with media in a secondary school. In communication with the other participants we analyzed a sequence and talked about methods of analysis, the role of pictures and gestures.

15.00-16.00 – Discussion (Chairs: Cecilia Magalhaes & Christoph Wulf)

In this round table we discussed how to get out of the dyads teacher-student or student-student? Taking the experimental design of Natalya as a point of departure, we reflected on how our methods are linked to our scientific contexts, and how to make this visible/ clear in our writing. There was also a discussion about how children/ young people participate in research and we discussed that collaborative methodology is more than just participatory methodology.

We also discussed the form – content division (e.g. is it more interesting to learn the same content with traditional or alternative media?) Olga Rubtsova stated the importance of finding an appropriate educational form for any school age so that the students were really motivated to participate – whether it is a lesson, a test or a research work. Nilolai Lukin spoke about the problem of motivating modern high-school students and attracting them by using various learning tasks and methods.

17.00-18.00 – Practical Arrangments and Planing

Sunday, July 1 (10.00-15.00)

1) Ethical Issues of Cross-cultural Research

2) Round Table Discussion & Further Research Planning