Learning 2.0: Why Adaptation is good for you.

Authors: Berger, R.

Conference: The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning annual conference

Dates: 22-25 October 2009


Web 2.0 practices mean that today’s learners are increasingly living in a world of borrowing and repurposing. Many young people now use shareware and off-the-shelf software to cut-up, rework and repurpose existing video, animation, photography and audio online. This material is then refashioned into new texts which are increasingly shared through social networking portals. Recent research has also shown that young people use video repositories, such as YouTube, as search engines, while at the same time, practices such as fanfic writing, blogging or tweeting depend on a fairly sophisticated level of linguistic ability.

This paper will argue that adaptation is already an integral part of many cultural practices and therefore should be aggregated and valued by educators. Learners can gain a greater understanding of a subject by reflecting on the process of reconstituting, or re-purposing existing material themselves for new audiences: the high-school science student that builds a website explaining photo-synthesis to primary school children will go beyond a more surface appreciation of the topic. As learning becomes more participatory the authority of the teacher is decentred and reconfigured as the experience becomes a far more personal one to the learner.

Using case-study material and blogs generated by undergraduates in the UK, this paper will argue that producing a successful adaptation is very difficult; it requires a very good knowledge of the source material, a very good understanding of various techniques and approaches and quite a sophisticated understanding of communication. So, the learner can gain a great deal from re-purposing pre-existing material into new forms, identifying an audience and then reflecting on that learning journey. Adaptation used in this way then, as a pedagogic tool, can lead to positive experiences for both teachers and learners.


Source: Manual

Preferred by: Richard Berger