Mindful technology use – reflective practice insights and ruminations

Year: 2018

Author: Lemon, Narelle

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Social media are digital platforms that necessitate a process of interaction and/or communication with others (Poore, 2012). Personal uses of these technologies often involve interaction for social or informational purposes (Cheung, Chiu, & Lee, 2011). Personal use of social media platforms has been reported in student use more informally to facilitate exchange of study-related knowledge and information (Wodzicki, Schwämmlein, & Moskaliuk, 2012). The transfer of use into more formal learning in higher education may be considered a blurring of boundaries between personal and academic spheres (Barczyk & Duncan, 2013; Gettman & Cortijo, 2015). In higher education, however there has been significant rise in the communication of the benefits and possibilities that exist when social media is integrated into the more formal learning spaces of the higher education classroom. What happens when we introduce popular personal social media platforms into more formal learning environment?
Of particular note, is the limited knowledge and understanding of the student experience when social media is used in the higher education learning context. In this paper I share a qualitative project (N= 253) that seeks to understand the student voice to inform barriers, strengths and pedagogical needs by educators. What is highlighted is how empowering honouring voice can be for both the pre-service teachers and the educator(s). The act of reflection reveals reflective and reflexive insights that demonstrate how being self-aware through mindful centering allows for a space to more clearly self-observe and self-evaluate.  Being honoured for being in this state can reveal meaningful engagement and accomplishment in the negotiation of becoming a teacher, but also in attending to the requirements of what this means; that includes the pressurised technology integration debate.
Boundaries, care, perseverance, elegant lurking, digital overload, and self-awareness are all concepts that pre-service teachers have stated as mindful decisions in their engagement with social media in this study. They acknowledge the need to upskill, transfer knowledge, and learn new concepts. However, they are mindful of the why.  The process of authentic deep reflection reveals insights and disrupts commonly assumed ruminations centred around assumptions of no engagement equals disengagement, ignoring, avoidance, or laziness. Through contemplative reflections pre-service teachers reveal what happens when no engagement is actually mindful engagement.