Situated Cognition Part II: Affinity Spaces Flashcards Preview

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Participatory Cultures

- "Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement" (Jenkins)

- Many young people are already part of this process through: Affliations
Collaborative Problem-Solving


Why Affinity Spaces?

- Community implies belonging, which may not always be the case, especially in classrooms and workspaces

- Community brings the idea of people being members, related to belonging, but also to shared goals or a collective purpose that may not be in force

- Community of practice has been applied to all manner of things, possibly "missing the trees for the forest"


Affinity Spaces

- A place or set of places where people affiliate with others based primarily on shared activities, interests, and goals

- A place where informal learning happens

- Could be virtual or physical

- Groups of people interested in a common practice, belief or activity

- Instead of thinking about people as being in or out of a community, we can think about the spaces where people interact

- We can create spaces quicker than communities

- CoP is about groups

- Affinity Spaces are about places

- Ex. Online Beauty Spaces


Common features of Affinity Spaces

- Learners 'apprentice' themselves to a group of people who share a certain set of practices (e.x. learning to cook in a family, learning to play video games with a guild, learning to assemble circuit boards in a workplace, learning to splice genes in a biology lab)

...pick up these practices through joint action with more advanced peers and advance their abilities to engage and work with others in carrying out such practices


Affinity Spaces vs. CoP's

- CoP's: Community implies belonging and membership/ Shared goals and collective force

- Affinity Spaces: Starts with Spaces where people interact (Mainly digital but also physical)/ Affinity spaces aren't limited to membership or belonging/ Occur outside of formal learning environments and schools


What is a space?

- Can be tangible places (Badger football game, classroom, etc.)

- Or virtual spaces like online discussion forums


What ISN'T an Affinity Space?

- Reddit Front Page
- American
-Being in the Sixth Grade


Spaces have certain features

- Content: What the space is about

- Generators: What creates content for the space

- Interaction/Portal: What users do with the content and how they connect with each other around the content


Spaces: Artwork Example

- The image is the content
- The artist was the generator
- The interaction is how it makes you feel when you look at it, or maybe it's the review you write about it in your blog (which then, of course, becomes still more content that you, as a user, have generated!



- Portal: How you get into or out of an affinity space

- Examples:
Walking into the room where the Mona Lisa is hanging
Other portals require keys, passwords and other more complex means


Differences from Traditional School

- Participants have a common endeavor
- Older participants aren't considered more adept in the AS due to their age
- Experts and novices aren't separated
- Encouraged to produce rather than just consume
- Content changes


Differences from Traditional School

- Both individual and distributed knowledge are valued
- There are different outlets for participation
- Roles are reciprocal
- Peer feedback


Classroom Applications

- Ask students about their experiences with their own affinity spaces. Try to create learning activities that connect to those experiences
- Expand boundaries of classroom into online space. Model appropriate behavior in that space
- Encourage students to cooperate and to create multi-modal context in response to classroom lesson
- Create physical affinity spaces: Create student art gallery/ Poetry slam/ Create a literary magazine