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International Review of Education

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 871–895 | Cite as

Promoting community socio-ecological sustainability through technology: A case study from Chile

  • Claudio Aguayo
  • Chris Eames
Original Paper

Abstract

The importance of community learning in effecting social change towards ecological sustainability has been recognised for some time. More recently, the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to promote socio-ecological sustainability has been shown to have potential in community education for sustainable development (ESD). The effective design and use of technology for community learning implies an understanding of a range of cross-dimensional factors including: socio-cultural characteristics and needs of the target audience; considerations of available and culturally responsive types of technology; and non-formal pedagogical ESD strategies for community empowerment. In addition, both technology itself and social communities are dynamically evolving and complex entities. This article presents a case study which evaluated the potential of ICT for promoting ecological literacy and action competence amongst community members in southern Chile. The case study addressed the ecological deterioration of a lake, which is having deep social, economic, recreational and cultural implications locally. The authors’ research involved developing a theoretical framework for the design, implementation and use of ICT for community learning for sustainability. The framework was based on key ideas from ESD, ICT and community education, and was underpinned by a systems thinking approach to account for the dynamism and complexity of such settings. Activity theory provided a frame to address overarching socio-cultural elements when using technology as a mediating tool for community learning. The authors’ findings suggest that the use of an ICT tool, such as a website, can enhance ecological literacy in relation to a local socio-ecological issue.

Keywords

community education information and communication technology (ICT) systems thinking socio-ecological sustainability activity theory transformative learning 

Résumé

Promouvoir la viabilité socio-écologique locale grâce à la technologie : étude de cas au Chili – L’intérêt de l’apprentissage communautaire en vue d’un changement social favorisant la pérennité écologique est établi depuis un certain temps. Plus récemment, les technologies de l’information et de la communication (TIC) utilisées dans l’optique de promouvoir la viabilité socio-écologique démontrent leur potentiel dans l’éducation en vue du développement durable (EDD) au niveau local. Une conception et une utilisation efficaces de la technologie dans l’apprentissage communautaire impliquent la connaissance d’un ensemble de facteurs multidimensionnels tels que : caractéristiques et besoins socio-culturels du groupe cible, prise en compte des types de technologie disponibles et adaptés à la culture, stratégies pédagogiques non formelles d’EDD visant l’autonomisation de la communauté. Par ailleurs, à la fois les technologies et les groupes sociaux sont des entités complexes qui connaissent une évolution dynamique. Cet article présente une étude de cas qui évalue le potentiel des TIC à générer des compétences et des actions écologiques chez les membres d’une communauté dans le sud du Chili. Cette étude s’est penchée sur la dégradation écologique d’un lac, aux profondes répercussions sociales, économiques, récréatives et culturelles de cette communauté. Le travail des auteurs consistait à élaborer un cadre théorique pour la conception, la mise en œuvre et l’utilisation des TIC dans l’apprentissage communautaire en vue de la pérennité. Ce cadre se fonde sur des concepts clés de l’EDD, des TIC et de l’éducation populaire, et repose sur une approche systémique qui tient compte du dynamisme et de la complexité de ce type de situation. La théorie de l’activité a fourni un cadre permettant de traiter les éléments socio-culturels généraux dans l’usage de la technologie en tant qu’outil de médiation pour l’apprentissage communautaire. Les résultats des auteurs suggèrent que l’utilisation d’un outil TIC tel qu’un site électronique peut promouvoir la sensibilisation écologique en relation avec un problème socio-écologique local.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Learning and TeachingAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Technology, Environmental, Mathematics and Science Education Research Centre, Te Hononga School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of EducationThe University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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