Using New Media for place development

For my new media course, I still want to explore this idea of place and place making. I recently found this article, “A gateway to the global city: Mobile place-making practices by expats”

The major themes that seems to be prevalent in the literature like places matter, but people might matter more seem to prevail in this article. One of the things that really struck me while reading this was how we can almost be part of a place. When studying expats (like my interest in international teachers) I focused on people staying in the expat community not really having a sense of place. This article suggests they have a sense of place, although it may be slightly different.

Many of the expats in this article desired to have a more international experience, so while living in a place is important, knowing the people in that place wasn’t as important. They can be a part of the international community living in Paris, not really know any Parisians, and still (maybe) have a developed senes of place.

It will be interesting to see how these ideas progress and change along with my thinking. While it may not be the most engaging article for my research, I never thought about how participation in an online community, can bring me closer to understanding the international scene in a city, which will help me develop a sense of place (even if it’s not the “genus loci” sense of place).

Polson, E. (2015). A gateway to the global city: Mobile place-making practices by expats. new media & society, 17(4), 629-645.

Sense of Place in Australian Environmental Education Research: Distinctive, Missing or Displaced?

I’m trying to re-read articles and come up with some points so I have a better understanding of what I’m researching. I have more comprehensive notes, I just want to see how my thinking changes.

Some of the ideas from this article have jumped out at me differently than previous readings. “emplacement is not something people choose – it is, ontologically speaking, a condition of human being” (Trigger, 2008, p.301, in Stevenson, 2011).

As an expat. I’m not sure this is entirely true. While my birthplace was not chosen, I’ve been lucky enough to have the experience (at times) to choose my place. Stevenson (I think) argues more on my side, that we have a choice but mostly that choice is how we build our identity around our sense of place. Since a sense of place can be somewhat (depending on who we read) socially constructed, I wonder how this fits together.

I do agree, so far anyway, that we can’t really exist without place, we need to form some sort of relationship, regardless of how fleeting it might be, with the space we occupy. Regardless of where we are, this article suggests that place has some role to play on self identity.

As an expat, I also wonder about Gruenewald’s idea of globalisation as placelessness. This is a line I think I want to get more into as I wonder about the idea of displacement as being disempowering, which leads us do almost lack an identity?

These are my thoughts from relooking over this paper, hopefully I can be a little more disciplined and write more in the coming months.

Stevenson, R. B. (2011). Sense of Place in Australian Environmental Education Research: Distinctive, Missing or Displaced? Australian Journal Of Environmental Education,, 27(1), 46-55.

New Media?


 Some rights reserved by See-ming Lee (SML)

One of my courses this year is on New Media and the impact it has on education.

These are always interesting things to think about, but right now I’m in a class where many of the people who are working are in a school that has different views and ideas than our school has. Our underlying philosophy of education is somewhat different which means, we have different access to how they can use media.

One of the things that has always struck me as a digital literacy coach (although I’m not one anymore) is the idea that people really need to shift their thinking before they really dig deep into new media. We can’t really get into what Web 2.0 is if we don’t know how to act in a participatory way. If our whole world is top down, why does 2.0 matter?

Other people are concerned with the types of tools, and the idea of screen time. While I get that I can be wrong (and mostly likely am wrong about this and many things) I really believe, from my experience, that tools come after frameworks and thought shifts. If we don’t know how to build, why do we need a tool?

Anyway, some of the conversations are interesting, the course is structured in a way which allows students to feel the experience of participation (which was very uncomfortable for some). She believes, from what I gather, that we can shift thought through experiences. I agree, for the most part, but we need to reframe the conversation I think. The experiences have to be more focused on collaboration of anything, rather than just a digital tool.

My thoughts will likely change, but these are my wonderings for now.

The Need for Roots



I’ve just started this book, I’ve been trying to connect things to this idea of Sense of Place. One of the things that both this book and the Thomashow book brought up is the idea of how we use things we own to construct our own identities. The things we have make up who we are.

I wonder how we can start to transfer this, or start to notice that this might also be related to place, and how and where we are. I’m still working through this book, it’s complex and at times difficult to fully understand so I’m not sure where it will take me, so far I’ve been surprised.

I think what I would like to do is work the things activity into our class work on natural resources. Our central idea is that people can make choices to support the sustainability of Earth’s natural resources. I wonder if looking at what we have, and how that forms our identity can lead us to make more sustainable choices, or if that concept is a bit too abstract for ten year olds. Still wondering about it.

Ecological Identity

I think, this is one of the more important books I’ve picked up this year. It deeply resonates with me, much like Place, Being and Resonance.  But for a different reason. This book has helped me come more to terms with my identity. I feel more comfortable with who I am, and why I am.  Place being and resonance, allowed me to move more into who I want to be, but this book allows me to question about the who and why of my identity. 

I am going to incorporate some of these ideas into my dissertation, specifically the mapping, but I want to see what I can do with the students. What can I ask fo them to understand more about how they relate to the environment. 

I haven’t finished this book yet, I hope to soon, but with end of term, report cards, life happening it’s hard to actually get into the thick of it, and figure out if they can see where they come from. 

I understand, in part, that we are a product of place, community and our actions, I understand, in part, that these things work together.  So far this book has helped me better understand how those three aspects interact to form and reform my identity. 

Reporting for learning

 Some rights reserved by zgware

It’s report time (hooray!).  At our school, we are always trying to make reports better for learning. At times this can make things a little more difficult for teachers, but we’re always hoping for the best for learning.

So, I am wondering about how are reports really helping students succeed.  The PD I’m getting and the books I’m reading suggest descriptive feedback is one of the best ways we can help students grow.  If this is true, does the mark really matter? And who does the mark matter for?  I understand that we need to have something standardised so students can go to other schools, university, etc.  so I guess when does the mark matter, and how do we best communicate it? 

Just some random thoughts before reports. 

Learning Community

In our school garden

The enhanced PYP moves towards action for the learner and this new focus or (re)newed focus on the importance of the learning community.  I guess the easy connections are parents, other people within the school, and maybe even experts from outside our school but somewhat connected to our school community.  

I’ve been thinking more about how our community should involve the more than human world (a phrase I love from Place, Being and Resonance). This idea that we don’t really go out and treat our place as a community, what do the little lizards have to teach us, what about the ants, the leaves, anything? If we want students to love our land we have to know it, but maybe before we know it we have to acknowledge it’s a part of our community.  

There’s been a lot of reading, reporting, new role wondering this past week and I really think that this idea is one I have to think seriously about how to incorporate into the rest of the year.