Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 7081

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli-Viale Ellittico, 31-81100 Caserta, Italy
Interests: collaborative learning; ICT in education; blended learning

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Guest Editor
Department of Education, Psychology, Communication, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, 70121 Bari, Italy
Interests: education; technology; virtual communities; blended learning
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue is to look in-depth into the dynamics triggering cross-boundaries between different learning contexts. Moving from one context to a different one does not have to be necessarily a physical action. Crossing boundaries is an intellectual act that “forces” a social and cognitive re-organization not only in terms of knowledge and skills but also in terms of a redefinition of the self.  This is not a simple act. Involving a community in the construction of significate objects supports the move from one context to another one; both are interested in the object built.

This Special Issue is devoted to experiences of cross-boundaries. The common background is represented by the theoretical approach, always routed into constructivism, although different declinations are possible in each paper. We wish to offer to the readers a wide array of cases in which different types of participants are involved in joint activities aimed at the construction of a boundary-crossing object. The processes and the dynamics involved are analyzed so to unpack the various dimensions impacting and impacted.

Through the cases, it will also be possible to propose some theoretical advancements. Finally, practical implications for teachers and agents operating in cross-community contexts will be outlined. 

Dr. Giuseppe Ritella
Prof. Dr. Maria Beatrice Ligorio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cross-boundaries
  • learning contexts

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 4966 KiB  
Article
Making Experts: The Boundary Crossing of Knowledge and the Emergence of Relational Expertise in a School Makerspace
by Jasmiina Leskinen, Kristiina Kumpulainen and Anu Kajamaa
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020169 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 669
Abstract
Existing research has illuminated the multidimensional nature of knowledge creation in school makerspaces. Yet, limited research exists on the boundary crossing of knowledge in makerspaces and how it can lead to the emergence of relational expertise. Using video records of interactions between 10–13-year-old [...] Read more.
Existing research has illuminated the multidimensional nature of knowledge creation in school makerspaces. Yet, limited research exists on the boundary crossing of knowledge in makerspaces and how it can lead to the emergence of relational expertise. Using video records of interactions between 10–13-year-old students and their teachers in a school makerspace, this ethnographic case study applied mediated discourse analysis to investigate the boundary crossing of knowledge and the emergence of relational expertise—i.e., engaging with one’s own expertise, while recognizing, responding to, and building on others’ expertise. The results demonstrate how relational expertise emerged through boundary crossing of knowledge, with increased opportunities for students to identify themselves as experts. The boundary crossing of knowledge was mediated by participating students and teachers as well as material objects, evidencing the social and material nature of relational expertise in the makerspace. By recognizing the makerspace as a boundary object and an epistemic tool, the study enhances current understanding of the boundary crossing of knowledge and the emergence of relational expertise within creative and digitally enhanced learning environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts)
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19 pages, 508 KiB  
Article
Constructing in Minecraft in Primary School as a Boundary-Crossing Practice
by Giuseppe Ritella and Roberto Marcone
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010085 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 879
Abstract
This study explores the educational adoption of Minecraft as a boundary-crossing practice in primary schools. Previous research indicates that Minecraft can facilitate connections between educational activities and students’ out-of-school experiences, promoting the development of skills such as creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Using a [...] Read more.
This study explores the educational adoption of Minecraft as a boundary-crossing practice in primary schools. Previous research indicates that Minecraft can facilitate connections between educational activities and students’ out-of-school experiences, promoting the development of skills such as creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Using a qualitative approach, this study analyzed group interviews with 37 primary school students who participated in a Minecraft-based school project. The analysis focused on instances of boundary crossing associated with the Minecraft activity, allowing an examination of how various socio-cultural boundaries were overcome. The results suggest that educational activities in Minecraft can facilitate connections between school and out-of-school contexts. Moreover, the results indicate that Minecraft can serve as an interdisciplinary learning environment, enabling students to acquire knowledge and skills across diverse domains and disciplines. The analysis also underscores the significance of teachers’ design work in transforming the game into an educational resource. Overall, this article argues that the educational adoption of Minecraft has the potential to foster the construction of continuity between students’ different spheres of life, as well as prompting a reconsideration of students’ previous cultural classifications and social positions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts)
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15 pages, 1145 KiB  
Article
Boundary Devices for Reflexive Teachers
by Nadia Sansone, Manuela Fabbri and Ilaria Bortolotti
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010060 - 03 Jan 2024
Viewed by 857
Abstract
Reflexivity appears to be a key focus when designing teachers’ training; therefore, designers and trainers need to plan and put in place situated and proactive learning contexts in which reflexivity is supported by specific participatory devices. During a 1st level master’s degree for [...] Read more.
Reflexivity appears to be a key focus when designing teachers’ training; therefore, designers and trainers need to plan and put in place situated and proactive learning contexts in which reflexivity is supported by specific participatory devices. During a 1st level master’s degree for teachers and educators, based on the Trialogical Learning Approach, learners are involved in several collaborative activities to create meaningful objects. Divided into 14 groups of four members covering specific roles (the coordinator, the researcher, the storyboarder, and the diarist), the participants collaboratively built a multimedia teaching resource about a chosen methodological–didactic theme. Applying a qualitative approach, this study analyzes the online diaries compiled during the activity to understand its impact as a “meta” boundary object able to support reflexivity on one’s professionalism. The content analysis focused on analyzing how objects and practices enabled learning and participation and how students’ identity evolved during group work. The results show that a diary may act as a reflexive tool, allowing for the externalization of the processes that underly the construction of individual and collective knowledge and promoting reflection on practices and identity positioning within a community composed of professionals working in educational fields. In the end, practical implications and recommendations are provided to enhance the reflexive diaries both in teachers’ training and in the daily practice with students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts)
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15 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Minecraft as a Hybrid Boundary Object: Exploring Nature in Squares
by Anne-Marie Cederqvist and Maria Impedovo
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090952 - 18 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
In this exploratory case study, we investigated children’s ways of experiencing virtual worlds, such as Minecraft, and how this may affect their understanding of nature, scientific phenomena, and sustainable development; that is to say, Minecraft was explored as a boundary object in children’s [...] Read more.
In this exploratory case study, we investigated children’s ways of experiencing virtual worlds, such as Minecraft, and how this may affect their understanding of nature, scientific phenomena, and sustainable development; that is to say, Minecraft was explored as a boundary object in children’s making activities with Minecraft. The research questions that guided the study are: In what ways may Minecraft act as a boundary object between children’s formal and informal learning about science and sustainable development? In what ways may Minecraft act as a boundary object when children build relationships with nature? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six children. A thematic analysis approach was used to analyze the interviews. This study shows that in the Minecraft context, the children gained a breadth of everyday experiences related to scientific phenomena and sustainability. Further, the findings indicate that children merged their experiences in the virtual world with experiences in the physical world. In this sense, Minecraft involves science and sustainability content that crosses the boundary between the virtual world and reality. Thus, we suggest that Minecraft bridged children’s physical and virtual relationships with nature; that is to say, Minecraft became a boundary object that allowed children to experience nature and encounter knowledge that they would not otherwise have been able to experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts)
11 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
The Creation of Situated Boundary Objects in Socio-Educational Contexts for Boundary Crossing in Higher Education
by Marc Fuertes-Alpiste, Núria Molas-Castells, Maria Jose Rubio Hurtado and Francesc Martínez-Olmo
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 944; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090944 - 16 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 853
Abstract
There is a growing awareness of the need to develop professional skills among university students, which is related to connecting learning to real life. In order to foster this connection, teachers may carry out activities that involve crossing boundaries, using theory in the [...] Read more.
There is a growing awareness of the need to develop professional skills among university students, which is related to connecting learning to real life. In order to foster this connection, teachers may carry out activities that involve crossing boundaries, using theory in the practice of the professional context. This study presents a teaching experience consisting of a collaborative inquiry-based learning activity mediated by a WebQuest. Students analysed real digital literacy or digital inclusion projects implemented by local organisations to propose improvements by means of creating a digital educational product (a boundary object). This involved a change in context from the university environment to the socio-educational and professional setting. The aim of this study is to examine the students’ perception of this experience. For this purpose, a case study was conducted with a group of 39 first-year students of the bachelor’s degree in Social Education of the University of Barcelona. A questionnaire was administered and the responses were analysed from the perspective of Hermans’ Dialogical Self Theory and Star’s boundary objects. The results show that the students perceive the activity as a bridge between the two contexts, that they view this transition positively—albeit with certain limitations—and that they consider digital technology to have facilitated boundary crossing. In conclusion, we consider that the examined experience is useful in respect to closing the gap between academic and professional skills and contributes to the theoretical foundations for learning between contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts)
15 pages, 1719 KiB  
Article
Navigating Multiple Perspectives in Discussing Controversial Topics: Boundary Crossing in the Classroom
by Bjorn Gert Jan Wansink, Jacob Timmer and Larike Henriette Bronkhorst
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090938 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1498
Abstract
Multiperspectivity in the classroom is both applauded and problematized, yet its learning potential remains, to some extent, inexplicit. Drawing on boundary crossing theory, this study aims to explicate the learning potential of discussing controversial topics (e.g., discrimination, organ donation) in the classroom from [...] Read more.
Multiperspectivity in the classroom is both applauded and problematized, yet its learning potential remains, to some extent, inexplicit. Drawing on boundary crossing theory, this study aims to explicate the learning potential of discussing controversial topics (e.g., discrimination, organ donation) in the classroom from multiple perspectives. Cross-case analyses of interviews and classroom observations of eleven experienced teachers lead to distinguishing academic and personal approaches to multiperspectivity. When a teacher’s approach was not aligned with their students’ approach to multiperspectivity the learning potential of multiperspectivity became limited. We postulate that both approaches have strengths and weaknesses and that navigating between an academic and a personal approach is most conducive to fostering learning through multiperspectivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boundary Objects and Practices in Educational Contexts)
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