This is the blog for the public seminars for the School of Arts and Communication (K3) at Malmö University. K3 consists of several disciplines, including Communication for Development, English Studies, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Media and Communication Studies, Product Design, and Visual Communication, which make it helpful to share a platform aiming at generating discussions across these various practices. The seminars are opportunities for both K3-based researchers and external guests to present and discuss their works.

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Dennis Augustsson: Expansive design for teachers – An activity theoretical approach to design and work integrated learning.

Welcome to a K3 seminar with Dennis Augustsson, Lecturer in Visual Communication, K3.

The title of the seminar is Expansive design for teachers – An activity theoretical approach to design and work integrated learning.

This will be an online seminar, carried out through Zoom, and it will take place on Wednesday, February 24 at 10.15-12.00. Please join here:

Here is an abstract for the seminar:

My thesis explores how Participatory Design (PD) and Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) can be combined and used as a theoretical framework and methodology in a professional development activity for teachers. A shift in the way we view teachers, from implementors to designers who actively construct, invent, and develop the practice of schooling also calls for changes in teacher education and professional development activities. The study presented here explores teachers’ work and learning during a professional development activity conducted as a participatory design project between two K-12 schools in Sweden and the USA, using media production to create an international collaboration on Ocean Literacy. The work draws on central notions and practices based on the Scandinavian School of Participatory Design and the Change Laboratory methodology (CL) based on the theoretical framework of expansive learning. The thesis is comprised of three articles answering research questions about what challenges and strategies that develop in a design process as a situated professional development approach and how we can understand learning as part of and expanding beyond a design process using activity theoretical tools.

The results point to how innovative educational design can have consequences for teachers’ work with conflicting needs, tensions, and contradictions at the systemic level of the activity. PD processes in educational settings require tools and concepts to capture this complexity and create sustainable solutions. In this study, activity theoretical models served as a collaborative tool for teachers to analyse and change their practice and to describe and explain work integrated learning in the design process. The work highlighted the need for teachers’ expertise in design as well as the important role of media literacy in the use of new technology. Their active and practical engagement in the materials, based upon the tradition of PD, must be understood as an important part of the development of agency and volition, and findings suggest that the combination of PD and CL methodologies can serve as a vehicle for expansive learning and new innovative learning designs in educational settings. This approach was conceptualized as expansive design.

The seminar will follow this disposition:

1.                       Short presentation of the results of the design process

2.                       Short discussion on design research in the field of educational science

3.                       Introduction and explanation of the activity theoretical framework

4.                       Connections between Participatory design and Activity theory (Change Laboratory)

5.                       Open discussions on all of the above.

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