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MKO and dissenting voices

April 5, 2011

Onto coding & memoing my third interview. The process is speeding up now as I have more codes to pull from as thing emerge. I find I am doing less memoing and more coding, which is good. I think the fact that I am using more codes means I am seeing more patterns in the data, although I still believe I have an overabundance of codes. However, I am also confident that I can reduce these codes and move them into themes.

This third interview I am coding is very interesting in that the participant is almost a hostile witness, not in his attitude about the research – he was an excellent research participant who has given me some wonderful stuff. But rather with his use of Twitter and the PLN. He is a contrarian and seems to relish the role of being someone who stirs the pot a bit. Not in a malicious or mischievous way, but rather critically. He is someone who is critical of technology and the blond acceptance of technology, and is not shy about making that view known. It’s interesting because I am rethinking the nature of PLN’s based on some of his answers. or rather, I am rethinking whether what he has is a PLN – is he connecting with people to learn from them, which is one of the premises of a PLN, or is he connecting with people to teach them? What is his motivation to connect with these people in his PLN when he seems to spend a great deal of time disagreeing with what they say. Is that entering into a reciprocal relationship, as relationships in PLN are?

One final note about this participant. I have noticed that every participant so far has spoken about a More Knowledgeable Other who has introduced Twitter to them, except for this person. He tried Twitter, entered the trough of disillusionment 6 months in (as most participants have noted), but what brought him back wasn’t a person, but a technology – he got a new iPhone on it that had a Twitter app. Which begs the question – can technology be the MKO? Does the Other in Vygotsky’s MKO have to be a person, or can it be a technology – a computer – who is more knowledgeable than the user of the computer? Did the Twitter app that came with his iPhone have any instructions on how to use Twitter? Did his phone “teach” him about the true affordances of Twitter?

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From → Thesis Research

One Comment
  1. Bill permalink

    Thanks for sharing this blog post Clint. Vygotsky still has much to offer us. MKO is one of those key aspects that can push one’s ZPD. Interesting ? about MKO being technology based. Here is one general source that suggests so: http://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html

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