Caroline Kühn H.

At present I work at Bath Spa University in the UK, as a senior lecturer (associate professor) in the School of Education, finishing my PhD and learning the art and craft of open educational practices always inspired by principles of critical pedagogy.  Currently, I am the principal investigator of an Human Data Interaction+ Network and the EPSRC funded project, Understanding data: praxis and politics, that aims to design and pilot an OER (open educational resource) to improve and foster educators’ critical data literacies. We are looking at three dimensions, agency, legibility, and negotiability as important mechanisms when people are dealing with data-driven systems. In our approach, we put humans at the centre of these systems and aim at understanding how they can interact in a way that allows them to negotiate the social structures that are operating in an invisible manner but with huge visible effects and consequences in our daily lives. As one of the products of the research we developed a data ethics framework which will be available soon for educators and researchers.

I am originally from Venezuela,  where I worked for 15 years, teaching Mathematics at different levels of Secondary School.  My initial interest in educational technology coincided with my move to teaching Mathematics at the University Simón Bolívar.  Here, alongside teaching a bridging course and undergraduates, I was part of the mathematics course development team. This interest in educational technology became the theme of my master thesis: designing a website with cognitive tools to support disadvantaged students in their mathematical learning, as a part of the bridging course.
My PhD brought me to Europe in 2011. After a short stay in the mathematics faculty, at the University Complutense in Madrid, I attended a summer school at the Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education part of Utrecht University, in the Netherlands. There I met Prof. Dr Jan van Maanen an expert in mathematics education and the history of mathematics. I was able to stay for over a year as a guest researcher.

In my PhD research, I uncovered students’ daily entanglements with digital technologies while looking at students’ agency/lack of in their (open) coded spaces, answering the question of why they engage or not with open and participatory tools when they are at university. While exploring students’ coded spaces I am discovering how their digital literacies in academic settings are quite different than some of the skills Jenkins (2006) has thought about, e.g. play (as the capacity to experiment with ones’ surroundings -I am thinking of digital surroundings-  as a form of problem-solving) and networking. Jenkins thinks of these skills as the ones needed for full involvement in the new participatory culture, a culture that is shifting the focus of new media literacies from individual expression to community involvement.

I am interested in ways in which undergraduates can reflexively engage with more sophisticated digital practices in research-rich contexts. Using critical realism and realist social theory as my theoretical framework the study uncovered the structural/cultural constraints and enablers that students faced when attempting to engage with digital technology, in particular, with open and participatory tools. Using the outcomes of this research I will set out to explore how using participatory design approach students together with their teacer/tutor/lecturer/guide can design and implement their personal open learning space.