CHANGES IN THE ADOPTION AND USE OF SEMIOTIC RESOURCES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS ON LEARNING?
1 Umeå University (SWEDEN)
2 State University of Campinas, São Paulo (BRAZIL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The adoption and use of semiotic resources in education such as digital technologies and sign systems (Selander & Svärdemo-Åberg, 2008; van Leeuwen, 2005) have in the last few years been vastly upscaled in the Swedish educational system. Although various semiotic resources have been common features in Swedish learning settings for over a decade, the drastic changes brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic have promoted hasty adoption of different resources to keep the guidelines and recommendations to contain viral transmission brought forth by different authorities (The Swedish Government, 2021). These procedures have un-helpfully backgrounded implementation strategies and qualitative selection procedures (Schiavetto & Schnaider, 2021). Such rapid shifts and the implementation of a much wider range of semiotic resources render several challenges for their integration and use in learning activities (PanMeMic, 2020). This study investigates what kind of changes among semiotic resources have occurred during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and what possible effects the adoption of certain resources can have on creating different learning conditions. To explore these relationships the following research questions guided our examinations of empirical data: During the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, what changes in adoption and use of semiotic resources have been discussed by the Swedish authorities? What are the effects on the learning conditions?
Text data addressing various measures related to the adoption and use of semiotic resources in the Swedish educational systems posted between March 2020 and November 2021 on the Swedish government’s webpages was manually downloaded and rendered approximately 80 pages of raw text data. A simple version of content analysis (Silverman, 2006) was used to examine the different authorities’ discourses with a focus on the semiotic resources digital technologies, and sign-systems. Combined with quantitative ethnography (QE) methodology and techniques (Shaffer, 2017; Ruis & Lee, 2021), systematic data processing, coding, and analysis were quantitatively conducted with software nCoder (Hinojosa, Siebert-Evenstone, Eagan, Swiecki, Gleicher, & Marquart, 2019) and ENA (Marquart, Hinojosa, Swiecki, Ea-gan, & Shaffer, 2018).
The ENA result indicates that the massive adoption of Big Techs' digital platforms has been a strategy to enable the continuity of learning, from mostly face-to-face to online modes. Despite being aimed a continuity, such shifts in semiotic resources to enable online learning affects the concrete social learning context, and raises questions about the impact of the semiotic resources on education. Thus, semiotic resources have a social agency character where changes in forms act in the reorganization of the concrete social context and influence how meanings can be created during human-technical interactions. This article presents a brief investigation on how sociopolitical characteristics related to virtual learning environments become operated by Big Techs' digital platforms, which have been solidifying themselves as mandatory global crossing points (Latour, 2004) for education during the COVID-19 pan-demic. The results emphasize that “what forms make us do” (Latour, 1994) is vital to recognize, especially as algorithms and personal data have impacts on educational environments aimed at promoting critical and democratic citizenship.
Keywords: Semiotic resources, digital technologies, sign-systems, big techs, education, learning.