Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know?

Funding year: 
2013
Duration:
2 years
Organisation: 
University of Waikato
Sector: 
Post school sector
Project start date: 
January 2013
Project end date: 
March 2015
Principal investigator(s): 
Dr. Elaine Khoo
Research team members: 
Assoc Prof Craig Hight, Dr Rob Torrens and Prof Bronwen Cowie

 

Project Description

Software is not neutral. It comes with social and cultural assumptions that afford particular actions while constraining others. This project investigated the notion of software literacy, how it develops and impacts on the teaching, learning and student experience of knowledge generation, communication, critique and use in engineering and media studies.

Aims

We define software literacy as the expertise involved in selecting, using and critiquing the software when this is used to achieve particular goals. We hypothesised that there exists three progressive tiers of development towards software literacy. This research aimed to explore, examine and theorise on how the notion of software literacy is understood, developed and applied in tertiary teaching-learning contexts and the extent this understanding is useful when translated into new contexts of learning with and through software. This aim was translated into the following question:


•  To what extent and how does student software literacy develop and impact on the teaching and learning of discipline specific software in formal tertiary teaching settings?

There were two phases in this exploratory study designed to address this question.+

Phase 1 sought to explore and understand the ways lecturers and students become aware of and develop software literacy understandings and skills about PowerPoint. PowerPoint had been selected as a focus as it is commonly used and therefore assumed that students, irrespective of their backgrounds, will have some experience with PowerPoint. PowerPoint thus provided an inclusive context for discussing the role of software in affording and constraining student opportunities to learn.

Phase 2 examined how discipline-specific software literacy developed in a formal learning environment and the extent this development fitted with our hypothesised model.

Why is this research important?

Copy, cut and paste are functions naturalised and embedded across different software but are poorly understood as tools that shape our engagement with knowledge, culture and society in the 21st Century. Most people develop proficiency with ubiquitous software packages informally through everyday engagement. Tertiary students are assumed to be able to translate this informally developed knowledge and skills into formal settings to successfully accomplish learning tasks and process. Emerging evidence internationally and locally indicate a dearth in this digital generation’s basic academic literacy skills for successful learning despite their technological competency. This research is important to investigate how students acquire knowledge and skills to use software and the extent they are able to apply and extend these to successfully learn and act in formal tertiary learning contexts.

What did

Multiple data sources were will be collected through

  • lecturer interviews and peer reflexive workshop;
  • observations of lectures and labs;
  • online student survey;
  • student focus groups; 
  • student produced work; and
  • ongoing informal interviews with lecturers and students.

Analysis

A collaborative team approach to data analysis was adopted to identify patterns, seek explanations for unique findings and ensure collective commitment to emergent findings and their on-going refinement. Within-case and cross-case analyses were conducted to identify software literacy skills and understandings unique to and common across each discipline. Multiple data sources were integrated in the analysis process to develop themes and the lecturer case studies. Overall, the iterative and collaborative data analysis process was intended to add rigour and credibility in the research.

Project team: (L to R) Craig Hight, Rob Torrens, Elaine Khoo and Bronwen Cowie

Project Contact

Elaine Khoo
Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research (WMIER)
Faculty of Education
The University of Waikato
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
 ekhoo@waikato.ac.nz

 

Outputs

Research Community Outputs:

Khoo, E. Hight, C., Torrens, R., & Ranger, G. (2015). Tracing software learning and application from formal into informal workplace learning of CAD software. In A. Oo, A. Patel, T. Hilditch & S. Chandran (Eds.), The Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE2015) (pp. 515-524). Victoria, Australia: Deakin University.

Khoo, E., Hight, C., Cowie, B., & Torrens, R. (2014). Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know? AARE-NZARE 2014 Conference. Brisbane, Australia; 30 November – 4 December 2014.

Hight, C., Khoo, E., Cowie, B., & Torrens, R. (2014). Software literacies in the tertiary environment. In B. Hegarty, J. McDonald, & S.-K. Loke (Eds.), Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology (pp. 410-415). Proceedings ascilite 2014, Dunedin, New Zealand; 23-26th November 2014.

Khoo, E., Hight, C., Torrens, R., & Duke, M. (2014). “It runs slow and crashes often”: Exploring engineering students’ software literacy of a computer-aided design software. AAEE2014 Conference. Wellington, New Zealand; 8-10th December 2014.

Khoo, E., Hight, C., Cowie,B., Torrens. R., & Ferrarelli, L. (2014). Software literacy and student learning in the tertiary environment: PowerPoint and beyond. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 18(1), 30–45.

Hight, C., Khoo, E., Cowie, B., &Torrens, R. Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know? Presentation at the Tertiary Research in Progress Colloquium IV organised by Ako Aotearoa/ Teaching and Learning Research Initiative Tertiary Research in Progress Colloquium IV, Conference held at Wellington, New Zealand, 10 Jul 2014 - 11 Jul 2014. 2014. See http://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/ako-aotearoa/events/2014-tertiary-research-prog...

Hight, C., Khoo, E., Cowie, C., & Torrens, R. (2014). Is software literacy reshaping the ‘digital divide’? Presentation at the “Media Literacy in Digital Age – Cultural, Economic and Political Perspective”. Conference held at Centre for Croatian Studies, Zagreb University, 06 Jun 2014 - 07 Jun 2014.

Hight, C., Khoo, E., Cowie, B. & Torrens, R. (December 2013). "The slides are part of the cake": PowerPoint, software literacy and tertiary education. In Electric Dreams: 30th ascilite Conference 2013 Proceedings (pp. 379-384). Sydney, NSW, Australia: Macquarie University. Available at   http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney13/program/proceedings.pdf

Practitioner Community Outputs:

Ranger, G. (2015, February). Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know? Poster presented at the Summer Research Scholarship End Function. University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Hight, C., Torrens, R., Khoo, E., & Cowie, B. (2015, February). Software literacy within tertiary education: Findings from a 2-year project. Paper presented at WCELfest2015. University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://online.waikato.ac.nz/wcel/events/wcelfest15/

Khoo, E., Hight, C., Cowie, B., & Torrens, R. (2014, February). Software literacy as part of pedagogy: How does PowerPoint shape what you do and does it matter? Paper presented at WCELfest2014. University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://online.waikato.ac.nz/wcel/events/wcelfest14/resources.shtml

Khoo, E., Cowie, B., Hight, C., & Torrens, R. (2013, August). Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know? Paper presented at the Faculty of Education Colloquium, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Khoo, E., Hight, C., Cowie, B., & Torrens, R. (2015, March 15), Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know? Paper presented at the Department of Media Studies Seminar, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Khoo, E., Hight, C., Cowie, B., Torrens, R., & Ferrarelli, L. (2014, May). Software literacy and student learning in the tertiary environment: PowerPoint and beyond. Paper presented at the DEANZ 2014 (New Zealand Association of Open, Flexible, and Distance Learning) Conference. Christchurch, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://deanz.org.nz/deanz-conference/past-deanz-conferences/conference-2...

Ferrarelli, L. (2014, February). Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know? Poster presented at the Summer Research Scholarship End Function, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.