Lankshear & Knobel. Chapter 8. Final Considerations on Social Learning Trajectories

collage new literacies

I found extremely enlightened New Literacies’ last chapter. Having the opportunity to reflect about real time experiences in such a detailed review help me to understand better the whole process to develop real approaches to learning in formal settings.

I enjoyed identifying the parallelism with the Master course introduction to qualitative research with our Digital Storytelling course. The emphasis in working collaboratively described is similar to our collaborative online platform building where each participant explores their passions and interests and participates in online discussions, conversations, becoming a frequent user of social media tools to produce coherent, integrated outcomes. Our CU DS106 requires immersion and at the same time individual and group responsibility to become professional practitioners of applying new literacies in this particular area of work. We explored a variety of resources and places to extend further our knowledge and in this process we include other internal and external participants in this collective learning.

As described in the authors’ experiences the majority of us never have a similar integrative online experience but we find ways to produce meaningful media in an exponential process that combines theory and practice. Canvas Leaning Management System became a reference place where mainly we obtained the push component represented by the syllabus, lectures, book reference, and central announcements. The core of the course was focused in pull practices where we are requested to create media and participate in a daily basis in an immersive and quick approach with a deep commitment to like the participants. We didn’t have time to get stuck in our concerns. I think our course addressed the goal to build enthusiasm following Gee and Hayes (2010) practices to developing passion, we had the opportunity to spend time working in interest-driven projects where we became engaged with specific topics related with our personal interest. I think the time spent working toward our focal themes was extremely valuable since was the pull component of our learning process.

The learning approach for both courses was similar. Participants are required to orient themselves but also to learn to trust other members as part of the collective learning process. For example, our instructor specifically indicated to ask peers for course logistic questions providing opportunities to engage in a collaborative learning experience and recognizing other participants’ expertise, the knowledge was shared and built in a community of learners.

Lankshear and Knobel (2011) mentioned their commitment with Gee’s (2004) conception of learning acquisition “learning best takes place when it is a highly motivated engagement with social practices that people value” Our digital storytelling course was developed in conjunction with DS106 as an immersive affinity course experience. We participated in a variety of digital social platforms to extend our social practice developing our digital identity. Finally we were continuing to produce digital material and expressing our ideas in a dynamic and iterative participatory cultural practices. To illustrate this idea I want to refer to an educational project called InWorks. It is a CUDenver initiative where technological and social learning are converging in a collaborative approach aligned with the philosophy of “Learn with purpose” to provide innovative solutions to community problems. It is a great educational project that can be an example of social learning practices applied in the real world.

I believe in the importance of integrative cross-disciplinary practices were students can take on different identities in real context. When designing learning experiences it is important to consider key conditions for learning, competent dimensions, and learning practices. My big practical question at the end is, “How we can effectively promote the significance of social learning to massively incorporate situated learning experiences in schools? Is general implementation a real possibility or is it just an educational ideal?”


Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. New York: Open University Press.

O’Brian, A., Alfano, C., Magnusson, E. (2007) Improving cross-cultural communication through collaborative technologies [Online]

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