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 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 aspects 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.
In my PhD research, I am looking at the informal digital learning spaces students bring to the university but also use in their personal-social space, that is the tools with which they engage when studying and socialising. While exploring those 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 like 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. How can students strengthen those literacies in their academic space and strengthen their digital agency is a key question I seek to answer.
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 aims to uncover the structural/cultural constraints and enablers that students face 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 lecturer can design and implement their personal open learning space.
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 (now Emeritus Professor) an expert in mathematics education and the history of mathematics. I was able to stay for over a year as a guest researcher. It was during this period that the core ideas of my PhD began to mature into what is now the thesis of my dissertation at Bath Spa University.
My supervisory team at Bath Spa University is Dr Darren Garside, a Senior Lecturer in philosophy at the Institute for Education at Bath Spa University (his blog) and Dr Anne Parfit, who also works at Bath Spa University as a research fellow. I handed in my dissertation and my viva will take place on the 27th of January 2021. More news will be posted after the viva 🙂
Here is my first Blog, an attempt at a digital drawer for my links and documents when I started to draft these ideas.