Community technology mapping: inscribing places when “everything is on the move”

  • Deborah SilvisEmail author
  • Katie Headrick Taylor
  • Reed Stevens


Interactive, digital mapping technology is providing new pedagogical possibilities for children and their families, as well as new methodological opportunities for education researchers. Our paper reports on an example of this novel terrain we call “Community Technology Mapping” (CTM). CTM was a designed task that was part of a larger ethnographic study of children and families’ digital media and technology practices in and around their homes. CTM incorporated interactive digital mapping technology with a structured interview protocol as a pedagogical context for young people and a methodological tool for researchers. As a pedagogical context for computer-supported collaborative learning, CTM supported young people to see and reflect on their everyday technological practices as temporally and spatially organized across scales of human interaction. As a methodological tool, CTM allowed researchers to see families’ place-based and on-the-move activities that were outside the more naturalistic observations of home-based technology use. Our analysis of CTM draws upon video recordings and screen captures of young people’s reflections on and live mappings of places they typically used technology and engaged with media. We found that children developed strategies with the mapping technology to make places visible, make them coherent, and make them mobile. These strategies produced a “cascade of inscriptions” within the CTM task for mapping new mobilities of digital, daily life. We argue that interactive digital mapping technologies not only support researchers to ask new questions about the spatiotemporal aspects of learning phenomena, but also contribute to a new genre of place-based, digital literacies- locative literacy- for learners to navigate.


Mapping Families Computer-supported collaborative learning Pedagogical approaches Research methods 



This work was made possible by the generous families who welcomed us into their homes as well as field work contributed by Dionne Champion. It was supported by NSF Grant SBE-0354453, partners at the LIFE Center, and the Joan Gantz Cooney Center’s Families and Media Project. We would also like to thank Adam Bell and others at the Interaction Analysis Lab at the University of Washington, Sarah Elwood for comments on early analysis and insights on Google Earth mapping, and Karen Wieckert, Ben Shapiro, and three anonymous AERA reviewers in the Culture, Media, and Learning SIG for valuable feedback on this project.


  1. Barker, J., Kraftl, P., Horton, J., & Tucker, F. (2009). The road less travelled- new directions in children’s and young people’s mobilities. Mobilities, 4(1), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barron, B., Martin, C. K., Takeuchi, L., & Fithian, R. (2009). Parents as learning partners in the development of technological fluency. International Journal of Learning and Media, 1(2), 55–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bingham, N., & Thrift, N. (2000). Some new instructions for travelers: The geography of Bruno Latour & Michael Serres. In Crang & N. Thrift (Eds.), Thinking Spaces. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Bowker, J., & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. boyd, d. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bryant, A., & Charmaz, K. (2007). Grounded theory methods and practice. In A. Bryant & K. Charmaz (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of grounded theory. SAGE: Los Angeles.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Callon, M. (1986). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action, and belief: A new sociology of knowledge? (pp. 196–233). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Cazden, C., Cope, B., Fairclough, N., Gee, J., et al. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chi, M. T. H. (1997). Quantifying qualitative analyses of verbal data: A practical guide. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 6(3), 271–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cole, M. (2006). The fifth dimension: An after-school program built on diversity. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  11. Cole, M., & Griffin, P. (1983). A socio-historical approach to re-mediation. Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, 5(4), 69–99.Google Scholar
  12. Crampton, J. W. (2010). Mapping: A critical introduction to cartography and GIS. Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Cress, U., Stahl, G., Ludvigsen, S., & Law, N. (2015). The core features of CSCL: Social situation, collaborative knowledge processes and their design. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 10, 109–116.Google Scholar
  14. diSessa, A. A. (1997). Changing minds: Computers, learning, and literacy. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ellegård, K., & Hägerstrand, T. (1977). Activity organization and the generation of daily travel: Two future alternatives. Economic Geography, 53(2), 126–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Elwood, S. (2010). Geographic information science: emerging research on the societal implications of the geospatial web. Progress in Human Geography, 34(3), 349–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elwood, S., & Leszczynski, A. (2012). New spatial media, new knowledge politics. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38, 544–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Enyedy, N. (2005). Inventing mapping: Creating cultural forms to solve collective problems. Cognition and Instruction, 23(4), 427–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Enyedy, N., & Mukhopadhyay, S. (2007). They don’t show nothing I didn’t know: Emergent tensions between culturally relevant pedagogy and mathematics pedagogy. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 16(2), 139–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Erickson, F. (2004). Talk and social theory: Ecologies of speaking and listening in everyday life. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  21. Erstad, O. (2011). The learning lives of digital youth-beyond the formal and informal. Oxford Review of Education, 38(1), 25–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Farman, J. (2010). Mapping the digital empire: Google Earth and the process of postmodern cartography. New Media & Society, 12(6), 869–888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Freire, P., & Macedo, D. (1998). Literacy: Reading the word and the world. Thinking, 14, 1.Google Scholar
  24. Friedman, T. L. (2016). Thank you for being late: An optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of acceleration. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.Google Scholar
  25. Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  26. Gee, E., Takeuchi, L. M., & Wartella, E. (Eds.). (2017). Children and families in the digital age: Learning together in a media saturated culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  28. Goffman, E. (1979). Footing. Semiotica, 25, 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Goodwin, C. (2013). The co-operative, transformative organization of human action and knowledge. Journal of Pragmatics, 46, 8–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goodwin, M. H., & Goodwin, C. (2012). Car talk: Integrating texts, bodies, and changing landscapes. Semiotica, 191(1), 257–286.Google Scholar
  31. Goodwin, M. H., & Goodwin, C. (2013). Nurturing. In E. Ochs & T. Kremer-Sadlick (Eds.), Fast-forward Family: Home, work, and relationships in middle-class America. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  32. Gordon, E., Elwood, S. & Mitchell, K. (2016). Critical spatial learning: Participatory mapping, spatial histories, and youth civic engagement. Children’s Geographies, 14(5), 558–572.Google Scholar
  33. Graesch, A. P. (2013). At home. In E. Ochs & T. Kremer-Sadlick (Eds.), Fast-forward family: Home, work and relationships in middle-class America. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  34. Hall, R. & Stevens, R. (2016). Interaction analysis approaches to knowledge in use. In A.A. diSessa, M. Levin, and N.J.S. Brown (Eds.), Knowledge and interaction: A synthetic agenda for the learning sciences. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Hall, R., Ma, J. Y., & Nemirovsky, R. (2015). Rescaling bodies in/as representational instruments in GPS drawing. In V. Lee (Ed.), Learning technologies and the body: Integration and implementation in formal and informal learning environments. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Hart, R. (1977). Children’s experience of place: A developmental study. New York: Irvington Publishers.Google Scholar
  37. Higgins, S. E., Mercier, E., Burd, E., & Hatch, A. (2011). Multi-touch tables and the relationship with collaborative classroom pedagogies: A synthetic review. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 6, 515–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hontvedt, M., & Arnseth, H. C. (2013). On the bridge to learn: Analysing the social organization of nautical instruction in a ship simulator. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 8, 89–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ingold, T. (1993). The temporality of the landscape. World Archaeology, 25, 152–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ingold, T. (2011). Being alive: Essays on movement, knowledge and description. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE national educational technology standards (NETS). Retrieved from
  42. Ito, M., Baumer, S., Bittanti, M., boyd, d., Cody, R., et al. (2010). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media. Boston: MIT press.Google Scholar
  43. Ito, M., Gutierrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., et al. (2013). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Irvine: CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.Google Scholar
  44. Jenkins, H., Ito, M., & Boyd, d. (2016). Participatory culture in a networked era. Cambridge, UK: Polity.Google Scholar
  45. Jenson, O. B., Sheller, M., & Wind, S. (2015). Together and apart: Affective ambiences and negotiation in families’ everyday life and mobility. Mobilities, 10(3), 363–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Jordan, B., & Henderson, A. (1995). Interaction analysis: Foundations and practices. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4(10), 39–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kerdeman, D. (2003). Challenging self-understanding as a focus of teaching and learning. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 37(2), 293–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kimiko, R., & Agogino, A. (2013). Off the paved paths: Exploring nature with a mobile augmented reality learning tool. International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, 5(2), 21–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kingston, R. (2010). Mind over matter?: History and the spatial turn. Cultural and Social History, 7(1), 111–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lammes, S. (2016). Digital mapping interfaces: From immutable mobiles to mutable images. New Media & Society, 1–15.Google Scholar
  51. Latour, B. (1986). Visualisation and cognition: Thinking with eyes and hands. In H. Kuklick (Ed.), Knowledge and society studies in the sociology of culture past and present. Jai Press, 6, 1–40.Google Scholar
  52. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action. Ch. 6, Centres of calculation, 215–257.Google Scholar
  53. Latour, B. (1991). Technology is society made durable. In J. Law (Ed.), A sociology of monsters: Essays on power, technology and domination. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Latour, B. (1999). Circulating reference: Sampling the soil in the Amazon forest. In Pandora’s hope: Essays on the reality of science studies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice: Mind, mathematics & culture in everyday life. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Leander, K. M., Phillips, N. C., & Taylor, K. H. (2010). The changing social spaces of learning: Mapping new mobilities. Review of Research in Education, 34(1), 329–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lemke, J. L. (2000). Across the scales of time: Artifacts, activities, and meanings in ecosocial systems. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 7, 273–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Linde, C. (1993). Life stories: The creation of coherence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Ma, J. (2016). Designing disruptions for productive hybridity: The case of walking scale geometry. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(3), 335–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ma, J. Y., & Munter, C. (2014). The spatial production of learning opportunities in skateboard parks. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 21(3), 238–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: for states, by states (interdependent relationships in ecosystems). Retrieved from
  63. November, V., Camacho-Hubner, E., & Latour, B. (2010). Entering a risky territory: Space in the age of digital navigation. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28, 581–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Patterson, T. C. (2007). Google Earth as a (not just) geography education tool. Journal of Geography, 106(4), 145–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Phillips, N. C. (2013). Investigating adolescents’ interpretations and reproductions of thematic maps and map argument performances in the media. (Doctoral dissertation, Vanderbilt University).Google Scholar
  66. Pink, S., & Mackley, K. L. (2013). Saturated and situated: Expanding the meaning of media in the routines of everyday life. Media, Culture & Society, 35(6), 677–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pink, S., Horst, H., Postill, J., Hjorth, L., Lewis, T., & Tacci, J. (2016). Digital ethnography: Principles and practice. Los Angeles: SAGE.Google Scholar
  68. Radinsky, J. (2017). Data on the move. Talk presented at Learning on the Move Workshop. Nashville, TN.Google Scholar
  69. Roschelle, J. & Pea, R. (2002). To unlock the learning value of wireless mobile devices, understand coupling. Proceedings of the IEE International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education. Växjö, Sweden.Google Scholar
  70. Roschelle, J., & Teasley, S. (1995). The construction of shared knowledge in collaborative problem-solving. In C. E. O’Malley (Ed.), Computer supported collaborative learning (pp. 69–97). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rudwick, M. (1976). The emergence of a visual language for geological science, 1760–1840. History of Science, 14, 149–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Santo, C. A., Ferguson, N., & Trippel, A. (2010). Engaging urban youth through technology: The youth neighborhood mapping initiative. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 30(1), 52–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Shapiro, B., Hall, R., & Heiberger, L. (2015). Assembling American roots music: Visitors’ micro-curation and engagement in museum gallery spaces. Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  74. Shapiro, B., Hall, R., & Owens, D. A. (2017). Developing & using interaction geography in a museum. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 12, 377–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Stahl, G., Ludvigsen, S., Law, N., & Cress, U. (2014). CSCL artifacts. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 9, 237–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Star, S. L. (1990). Power, technology and the phenomenology of conventions: On being allergic to onions. The Sociological Review, 28(1), 26–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Star, S. L. (1999). The ethnography of infrastructure. American Behavioral Scientist, 43(3), 377–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Stevens, R. (2000). Divisions of labor in school and in the workplace: Comparing computer and paper-supported activities across settings. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 9(4), 373–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Stevens, R., & Hall, R. (1998). Disciplined perception: Learning to see in technoscience. In M. Lampert & M. L. Blunk (Eds.), Talking mathematics in school: Studies of teaching and learning (pp. 107–150). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Takeuchi, L., & Stevens, R. (2011). The new co-viewing: Designing for learning through joint media engagement. A report of The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and LIFE Center.Google Scholar
  81. Tate, W. F. (2008). Geography of opportunity: Poverty, place, and educational outcomes. Educational Researcher, 37(7), 397-411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Taylor, K. H. (2017). Learning along lines: Locative literacies for reading and writing the city. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 26(4), 533–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Taylor, K.H. & Phillips, N. (2017). Place-making. In K. Peppler, (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Out-of-school Learning Time. New York: SAGE.Google Scholar
  84. Taylor, K. H., & Hall, R. (2013). Counter-mapping the neighborhood on bicycles: Mobilizing youth to reimagine the city. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 18(1–2), 65–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Taylor, K. H., & Silvis, D. (2017). Mobile city science: Technology-supported collaborative learning at community scale. Paper presented at the Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2017). Philadelphia, PA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.Google Scholar
  86. Taylor, K.H., Takeuchi, L. & Stevens, R. (2017a). Mapping the daily media round: Novel methods for understanding families’ mobile technology use. Learning, Media and Technology, 1–15.Google Scholar
  87. Taylor, K. H., Silvis, D., & Stevens, R. (2017b). Collecting and connecting: Intergenerational learning with digital media. In E. Gee, L. M. Takeuchi, & E. Wartella (Eds.), Children and families in the digital age: Learning together in a media saturated culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  88. Twenge, J. "Have smartphones destroyed a generation?" The Atlantic, Sept. 2017,
  89. Umphress, J., & Sherin, B. (2015). The body as viewfinder: Using wearable cameras in learning research. In V. Lee (Ed.), Learning technologies and the body: Integration and implementation in formal and informal learning environments. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  90. Verhoeff, N. (2012). Mobile screens: The visual regime of navigation. Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  91. Vertesi, J. (2008). Mind the gap: The London underground and the users’ representations of urban spaces. Social Studies of Science, 38(1), 7–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the mind: A sociocultural approach to mediated action. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  94. Wilson, M. W. (2011). ‘Training the eye’: Formation of the geocoding subject. Social & Cultural Geography, 12, 04.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Yoon, S. A., Elinich, K., Wang, J., Steinmeier, C., & Tucker, S. (2012). Using augmented reality and knowledge-building scaffolds to improve learning in a science museum. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 7, 519–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Zahn, C., Krauskopf, K., Hesse, F. W., & Pea, R. (2012). How to improve collaborative learning with video tools in the classroom? Social vs. cognitive guidance for student teams. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 7, 259–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Sciences & Human Development, College of EducationUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Learning Sciences School of Education and Social PolicyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Personalised recommendations