THE SOCIAL-EDUCATIONAL MEDIATION IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN EDUCATING CITY: THE USE OF WEB FORUMS AND ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRES
Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences of the University of Porto (Portugal) (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:Since the beginning of the 1990’s, with the massification of the access to the World Wide Web, that a number of researchers have begun to explore the uses of web-based research tools, namely those used for collecting empirical data, such as online questionnaires and web forums. While the discussion about methodological and ethical considerations is fairly recent (e.g. Cantrell & Lupinacci, 2007; Fox, Murray & Warm, 2002; Janssen & Kies, 2004), some authors have already discussed more practical concerns, such as the matter of social desirability while responding on the web (e.g. Joinson, 1999; Risko, Quilty & Oakman, 2006) and the advantages and disadvantages of such web-based surveys (e.g. Jones, Murphy, Edwards & James, 2008; Lefever, Dal & Matthíasdóttir, 2007), namely in what concerns the comparison of response rates between online and offline questionnaires (e.g. Riva, Teruzzi & Anolli, 2003) and the emergence of group behavior (e.g. Coffey & Woolworth, 2003; Kling & Courtright, 2003).
The object of our research is the use of both web-based tools on accessing community dispositions towards the subject of education and to promote social engagement on a local educative project. Assuming that the local community is not a naturalized and substantive entity (and, therefore, it is not compatible with strictly remedial forms of intervention), we think that this local community is a plural, intersubjective and multireferenced object; determined, certainly, by material, social and institutional relationships, but also determining the sense and the effects of those relationships. It thus emerges a valorization of a conflict culture, while conflict is no longer understood as a disturbance. The local mediation devices are, therefore, seen as favoring the co-presence of different social and generational groups that facilitate the socialization of conflicts and tension management, a place that allows the construction of a sense for “living together”. These will also be, then, devices for the construction of cities as places for exercising dense and warm social relationships, through the promotion of communicational resources, being its main role that of catalyzing latent or explicit conflict resolution. We see local development as a process through which the local builds itself narratively, as it weights in its past and its future.
Our goal is to use web forums and online questionnaires as pathways to the people’s discourses about the place where they live and/or work. In the case of the questionnaires, we searched for the institutional dispositions towards education and local development (inquiring local associations and companies); in what concerns the web forum, we intended it to be used as a platform for spreading the word about local initiatives and for presenting and discussing matters that, in one way or another, affect all inhabitants.
Keywords: mediation, educating city, web based research.