BLURRED BOUNDARIES BETWEEN IDENTITY AND AVATAR: SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS OF ICT IN THE COMMUNITY OF CONCEIÇÃO DAS CRIOULAS
1 Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto Awards (PORTUGAL)
2 i2ADS-Faculty of Fine Arts - University of Porto (PORTUGAL)
3 CIQUP, DEI, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:This work reports to the experience in a developing community and aims to explore the significance and roles of ICT, through the theoretical lenses of social representations theory. The contact with the community of Conceição das Crioulas, a Quilombola/indigenous community located in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, was possible through the integration of the action-research group “Identidades”, held by a group of researchers from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, Portugal, active since 1996. The action-research field study is organized in three cycles. The first cycle comprised the teaching of a 4 days intensive course/workshop of web design focused on programming languages, HTML and CSS, among other ICT contents. The course was taught by one of the researchers during a field visit in July, 2017 and was attended by four young males and one female with ages comprised between 16 and 22. The second cycle happened in February-March, 2018, after the analysis of the feedback obtained during and after the first iteration with the community (as the communication with the students was maintained). This allowed us to understand through field notes, interviews and qualitative data regarding the use of these technologies, the scope of meanings being attributed to devices and the social representations held inside the community. The third cycle is currently under development. It consists of the analysis of the collected data as the attempt to solve multiple limitations regarding the website maintenance and the emancipation or dependence it implies for its participants. So far, it was possible for us to understand the limitations of integrating ICT inside the community and within school practices. Problems arise from limitations concerning a lack of infrastructure regarding bandwidth speed and access, research skills and research necessity as starting points. The consensual universe that emerges from the objectification of the digital era into devices and platforms allows us to understand how social identity processes might be affected by the appropriation of or resistance to technology, as the boundaries between identity and avatar might become more and more blurred. With this analysis we intend to reflect on several predictions or prophecies of technological and social determinism, thus, exposing the limitations of ICT for development (ICT4D) but also urging us to analyse the challenges of ICT from developing alternative mindset. These problems denounce the myth of digital diversity as they present evident incoherence considering the standardized access nearly every member of this community has obtained to a digital device and how its utilization is currently limited to recreational purposes of online chat and Facebook consume. Through the participation in this research it is possible to reflect about the spread of ICT first established in the Western society as an educational opportunity and challenge. The necessity to reflect about inequalities perpetuated by the digital culture and how technology is perceived demands questioning the subjectivation processes that occur through these devices. The immersion in a reality that screams loudly the contradictions contained in the exploration of these devices produces a series of questions about what are indeed the necessary skills to excel and teach in the 21st century, and what are the limitations of this, after all, not so participatory culture.
Keywords: ICT, educational curriculum, social representations, digital literacy.