Archive for the ‘Theoretical thoughts’ Category


Ny teknologi i velfærdsprofessioner

August 30, 2014

I begyndelsen af september udkommer Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift nr. 3 2014 med et temanummer om Ny teknologi i velfærdsprofessioner. Temanummer redaktører: Marianne Brodersen, Bodil Øster og Mikala Hansbøl (gæsteredaktør)

Læs redaktionel indledning


Kasper Schiølin: Digitaliseringen af daginstitutionerne – hvorfor ikke bare lade være?

Søren Langager: Velfærdsteknologi og handicap – øget frihed til mindre samvær?

Lene Storgaard Brok og Vibeke Schrøder: Hvordan ændrer teknologier læreres praksis, og hvad skal lærere lære om teknologi i lærerarbejdet?

Mikala Hansbøl: Flere veje til at begribe og håndtere teknologi i professionsarbejdet.

I forlængelse af udgivelsen afholdes et åbent debatarrangement den 2. oktober kl. 16.30-19.00 i Festsalen på DPU, hvor temaet ‘levendegøres’ ved korte oplæg fra skribenter og fælles diskussion med hinanden og ‘publikum’.

Håber vi ses 🙂



ProPEL Conference 2014: Professional Matters: materialities and virtualities of professional learning

July 2, 2014

It_is_all_in_the_questions_we_ask_fenwick_propel2014Last week I attended the very inspirering ProPEL Conference 2014: Professional Matters: materialities and virtualities of professional learning. 

I recommend tjecking out the programme booklet with abstracts as well as the ProPEL homepage with (among other) link to their new blog.

Going back home from attending a conference allways make me think: “what was the important stuff I bring with me back?”

In this case it has different forms, some of which was gained through participation in the conference twitter #2014propel dialogues. For instance: “Pedagogies of noticing” was something I had never heard of before. I definitely will look more into this, as I believe that this relates very much to the paper I presented at ProPEL, and furthermore to the paper I have presented in May 2014 at the Designs for Learning Conference.

Also, I brought a new book “Reconceptualising Professional Learning – Sociomaterial knowledges, practices and responsibilities” (Fenwick & Nerland, 2014) back with me. At a glance it looks extremely relevant and interesting. The introduction has already convinced me that it is going to be a read worth while.

Tara Fenwick held a captivating opening speech emphasizing the importance of the questions we ask as researchers. I noted two important questions:

– What is professional knowledge and capability becoming in this era of rapidly changing work?

– How can education better support this becoming?

I was happy that the paper I presented at ProPEL seemed to fit right in, and it also received quite positive response and spured interesting questions to pursue further. The paper is related to our VIOL project, focusing on welfare technology, innovation, care and learning:


Welfare technology is taking up increasing space in health care debates, policies and professions in Denmark and worldwide. In Denmark, recent national and municipal health care strategies emphasize a radical refurnishment of the health care sector. Telemedicine, telehealth and homecare, empowerment and citizen-centric approaches are invoked as passages to the innovation of future health care practices.New actors in these health care movements are concepts like “epital” (virtual hospital), “telemedicine”,“telemonitoring”, “outmitted” and “self treating” patients. All of these movements are associated with what it implies to be working with and focusing on welfare technology. Digital technologies are seen as central actors in working with welfare technology in the professions, and central actors in forwarding the so-called new health care paradigm. In Denmark, recent research into developments of the nurse profession state that nurses increasingly experience rapid introduction of new digital technologies into their daily work practices. When it comes to the physiotherapy profession, there is a lack of knowledge about recent developments in the health care sector, and its implications for the physiotherapy profession.

In 2002 empirical philosopher Annemarie Mol stated that the new meaning of “is” is situated. Being is situated. In this spirit, welfare technology is basically about (rapidly and digitally) changing the sociomaterial configurations of health care situations – that is moving the “is” of health care practices.This paper places professional sensibility towards sociomaterially shifting contexts of knowledges and engagements as a central literacy related to the new emphasis on digitally/tele supported health care practices. With the new health care movement, we foresee increasing needs for professionals that are able to navigate between and continuously develop new professional sensibilities, related to the rapid changing situations of the professional knowledge and engagement spaces.This foregrounds being able to professionally sense and provide answers to this question as increasingly important: what are the specific implications for the professional knowledge and engagement spaces,when introducing this or that digital technology into the health care situation? Engaging with this question presupposes professional relational sensibility towards practical (sociomaterial) arrangements of alternative health care practices, and towards their implications for enacting variations of good and bad passages to the “is” of health care practices. In other words, this paper also places an argument for the increasing importance of comparative literacy in the health care profession. This is presented as“professional relational comparative sensibility”.

The paper refers to a large ongoing professional education development project at University College Zealand (UCSJ) in Denmark. The project is called Welfare Technology, Innovation, Care and Learning. It runs from January 2013 – December 2014, and includes developing welfare technology related teaching and learning practices in and across eight professional bachelor programmes at UCSJ. The project’s ambition is to further develop educational programmes in order to better raise students’ “technological literacy”.

This paper takes point of departure in the ongoing refurnishment of the health care sector, and relates these movements to two case examples from the first empirical phase of the project (January 2013–August 2013). The two cases provide different analogies to what it means to “refurnish sensitivity buttons”. The first case “health clinic and digital patient portfolios” is from module eight at the Bachelor of Physiotherapy Degree Programme. The second case “virtual rehabilitation” is from a Danish health center. The empirical gatherings are methodologically inspired by Annemarie Mol’s approach to praxiography. After a discussion of praxiography as a methodological approach to engaging with technological literacy (in this instance), the paper places technological literacy in relation to professional education in general, and more closely to the Physiotherapy Degree Programme in Denmark and at UCSJ. Thereafter, the paper presents the two cases, and refers to Moser and Law’s concepts of “extension”, “specificity”,“passages”, “bad passages”, “better passages”, as a means to engage in a relational comparative sensibility towards the shifting contexts of knowledges and engagements in physiotherapy practices.”


Shifting ontologies of a serious game and its relationships with English education for beginners

March 29, 2011

Just want to raise awareness of a series of papers to be published in a special issue of E-learning and Digital Media, Vol 8, issue 3, 2011.

The call for papers is copy-pasted below:

“Media: Digital, Ecological and Epistemological

Special issue of E-Learning and Digital Media, Editor Dr. Norm Friesen

Media today are everywhere. From educational gaming through portable e-texts to cell phones ringing in class, it seems we can’t escape. Nor can we live without media; instead, they form a kind of ecology that we inhabit. In addition, media have an epistemological function; they shape both what we know and how we come to know it: “Whatever we know about our society, or indeed about the world in which we live,” as Niklas Luhman observed, “we know through… media.”

Speaking of media in education suggests a range of possibilities that are different from what is suggested by educational technology (electronic, digital or otherwise). Describing computers and the Internet specifically as digital media casts their role not as mental tools to be integrated into instruction, but as “forms” and “cultures” requiring “literacies” or acculturation. In this way, speaking of media in education brings instructional environments more closely together with the world outside. Explorations of these terms and possibilities have been initiated by the likes of Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman and Elizabeth Eisenstein, and they are also touched upon in research on media literacies. However, more recent theoretical developments and accelerated mediatic change –from blogging through networked gaming to texting and sexting– offer innumerable opportunities for further exploration.

This special issue of E-Learning and Digital Media invites contributions that focus on media, particularly digital media, and their ecological and epistemological ramifications. Specific topics may include:

  • School and classroom as media (ecologies) and the changing world outside
  • Digital challenges to media literacy and literacies
  • Media socialization and media education
  • Histories of media and education
  • The epistemological character of (new) media”

To see the draft of table of contents for this special issue:  Issuecontents ELEA 8_3_proof

Our paper:

Shifting ontologies of a serious game and its relationships with English education for beginners

Publication: Research – peer review › Article

This paper takes its point of departure in a language project, which is a subproject under the larger ongoing (2007-2011) research project Serious Games on a Global Market Place. The language project follows how the virtual universe known as Mingoville ( becomes an actor in English education for beginners. The virtual universe provides an online environment for students beginning to learn English in schools and at home. This paper will focus on the shifting ontologies of Mingoville and teaching and learning situations in beginners’ English. This paper takes its point of departure in neither Mingoville as part of the media ecologies of the classroom, nor in the epistemological ramifications of Mingoville. Instead, it suggests that opening up the shifting ontologies of Mingoville (i.e. what mediates Mingoville and its relationships with doing beginners English) may offer a different and useful approach to understanding how Mingoville becomes a multiple actor. It reveals that such an actor both influences, and is influenced by, manifold constitutive entanglements involved in organizing English teaching and learning activities for beginners. Theoretically and methodologically, the paper, the empirical gatherings and analysis, are inspired by science and technology studies (STS) and actor-network-theory (ANT). The arguments and descriptions provided throughout the paper will focus on the shifting ontologies of Mingoville as it moves into, and out of, different teaching and learning situations of English for beginners.
Original language English
Journal E-Learning and Digital Media
Publication date 2011
Volume 8
Journal number 3
Number of pages 24
ISSN 1741-8887


  • English education for beginners, e-learning, Digital learning resources, Virtual worlds, primary and lower secondary school, media and ICT, ANT (Actor-Network-Theory), Entanglement approach, Relational Ontology, serious games, Educational technology research


Hansbøl, M., & Meyer, B. (2011). Shifting ontologies of a serious game and its relationships with English education for beginners. E-Learning and Digital Media, 8(3).

Virtual Worlds – SERIOUSLY

October 7, 2010

As previously mentioned here, last week I did a presentation at the Virtual Worlds project’s workshop “Augmenting Reality in the Public Domain”.

It was an interesting day with good discussions on amon other the constructions of the “serious” in serious games and serious virtual worlds. I deliberately turned my title around to “Virtual Worlds – SERIOUSLY” because I wanted to indicate that there exist many ways to engage with virtual worlds seriously. I also wanted to insert that the boundaries between what makes a virtual world and a serious game are not very clear. They might in fact become partially contained in each other.

In my talk, the focus was on assemblages of relationships between education and virtual worlds. As previously mentioned here, CarrieLynn Reinhard and I went to Singapore in June where we met up with representatives from the InfoComm Development Association and people from two schools working with various initiatives to engage with and construct virtual worlds for both educational and gaming purposes.

CarrieLynn’s presentation at the workshop introduced how the government in Singapore is thinking strategically in terms of virtual worlds for tourism, and my presentation was more focused on what seems to mark the Singaporean mergers between education and virtual worlds (with the limited knowledge we have). I supplemented this with a focus on my research following how a particular virtual universe moves and becomes moved in and out of schools, homes and other contexts dealing with education ‘in the world’ (i.e. in Vietnam, Singapore, Finland, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Chile, Nigeria, China).

(Too) Briefly put, I suggested (and this is very much to be considered work in progress) that we are dealing with many different constructions of what it means to work seriously with virtual worlds (e.g.):

  • Built/designed/structured around/for serious purposes with learning goals/purposes
  • Used for serious purposes for learning goals / purposes
  • The imaginary that learning transfer happens from the serious game/gaming/virtual world engagements to other situations.

Furthermore, I explicited three variations as examples of approaches to serious engagements in virtual worlds:

  • Virtual worlds used for / engaged in  local/regional/periodic educational situations (e.g. and the Singaporean virtual world constructed for education and youth olympic games engagements. See CarrieLynn’s and my slides for examples and elaborations).
  • Virtual world / learning environment developed locally (e.g. for a school) with more long-term serious aims (e.g. several examples can be found in Singapore’s Future Schools projects that merge serious games, virtual world elements and LMS/VLE elements).
  • Serious games /virtual worlds developed for serious purposes with a broader scope/market (e.g. the world as market) and more broad educational aim – ‘educational oxygens’ (e.g. and the Serious Games Interactive series). Those may include both shorter periodic activities and more long-term engagements.

These examples represent quite different ways to construct hybridities between serious games and virtual worlds, and how these can in various ways adress and become actors that augment different aspects of educational activities and thereby assist in solving/supporting various educational challenges in the world.

 I would love to get comments on my attempts to describe these matters.


PhD thesis and defense

May 20, 2010

Yihaa, I am defending my PhD thesis on 3 June 2010. See and download the announcement here at the Danish Association of Science and Technology Studies’ homepage. Hope to see you at the defense :-).

Download the thesis: Hansbøl, Mikala (2009) Researching Relationships between ICTs and Education: Suggestions for a Science ‘of’ Movements, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University

I just stumpled upon this fun blogpost about different ways to conduct PhD defenses in the world. This is actually kind of interesting.


Jagten på identiteten – konstruktioner af nyt og gammelt

November 11, 2008

Vi er konstant på jagt efter identiteten. Vi vil gerne vide, hvor vi er, hvor vi kommer fra, og – ikke mindst – hvor vi er på vej hen. Medieforskere bidrager i høj grad til at skabe teorier om og levere svar på disse store spørgsmål.

Derfor er det særligt interessant (for mig) at finde forskellige forsøg på at identificere ikt/teknologi/web/net generationer/bølger/traditioner/genrer.

Min gode kollega Jeppe Bundsgaard leverer fx nogle bud på identifikationer af begreberne medium, mærke og teknologi i sin ph.d.-afhandling (se evt. her:

Jeppe har skrevet en (med hans ord se evt. her) kritisk kommentar til Sisse Siggard Jensen (se her:, som kan ses som en del af anledningen til, at jeg skriver dette indlæg. 

Et af de store spørgsmål i medieforskningen er: på hvilke måder kan forskellige medier være engagerende? Men et andet spørgsmål, som jeg mener bør være mindst ligeså centralt, er: på hvilke måder bliver medier engageret i forskningsaktiviteter?

Sisse Siggaard Jensen skriver på sin blog:

“Den tredje bølge eller Web 3D skaber nye former for netbaseret kommunikation. Det er former, som sandsynligvis vil få en gennemgribende betydning for vores måde at kommunikere på, ganske som det var tilfældet, da web’et og hyperteksten fik sit massegennembrud for lidt over ti år siden.”

Jeppe Bundsgaard kommenterer:

“Hvad er det i din eller andres forskning som giver belæg for at påstå dette? Kan du pege på seriøse anvendelser af 3D-verdener som ikke er engagerede og interesserede frontløbere der prøver en ny teknologi af, men som er en anvendelse som har skabt noget der ligner den eksplosive brugertilstrømning OG fastholdelse som diskussionslisterne, Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook osv. har skabt?”

Svaret på sidstnævnte spørgsmål kan vel kun være: “NEJ” 🙂 . Al (ud-)forskning/afprøvning forudsætter engagerede og interesserede forskere/deltagere/aktører/konstruktører. Ting engagerer og bliver engageret. Hvor vidt der er tale om frontløbere afhænger af mange ‘ting’ og ikke kun de såkaldte frontløbere selv. Jeg har svært ved at se, hvordan “eksplosive brugertilstrømninger” kan foregå og identificeres uden interesse og engagement. Hverken frontløbere, Facebook eller Web 3D skaber i sig selv. Frontløb er ikke en naturgivet størrelse, og det er effekter heller ikke.  

Jeg er også skeptisk, men jeg er hverken sikker på at den ene eller anden forfatters sammenligninger og kategoriseringer bidrager til en opklaring af udfordringen (som jeg ser det). Problemet er nemlig, at vi ofte, når vi som medieforskere engagerer os i såkaldte ‘nye medier’, allerede har etableret relationer mellem det, der præsenteres som nyt (på den ene side), og det, der præsenteres som gammelt (på den anden side). Det er i selve sammenligningen, at det ofte går galt (mener jeg). Vi glemmer at forholde os kritisk til såvel det vi etablerer som ‘naturligt gammelt’ og ‘naturligt nyt’, og – ikke mindst – hvordan netop denne kobling af gammelt + nyt (= i forskningskonstruktionen) skaber noget tredje (som vi ofte i perioder helt ukritisk bygger videre på). Både fortid og fremtid skabes i nutiden. Vi kan hverken rejse frem eller tilbage i tiden, men vi kan se nærmere på, hvordan vi aktuelt konstruerer såvel vores fortid, nutid som fremtid – ofte i samme bevægelse.

Vi ved meget lidt om såvel Second Life, Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace som Facebook mm. Og det er helt sikkert, at det ‘de var’ i går ikke nødvendigvis var én letafgrænselig ‘ting’ – højst sandsynligt mange blandede. Og derudover, så er det interessante måske snarere sameksistensen og den emergente udvikling, subjektiverings- og objektiveringsprocesserne – identifikationsprocesserne, end de evige forsøg på at nå frem til den egentlige kerne, den endelige, rigtige og faste identitet – heriblandt identifikationen af potentialet/effekten som bør udnyttes.

Som jeg ser det, er det interessante, at vi begynder at se mere kritisk på, hvordan vi skaber fx Web 3D, frontløbere, Facebook mm. som effekter. Dvs. snarere end at være fokuseret på hvordan fx Web 3D skaber nye former for netbaseret kommunikation eller Facebook fastholdelse, så bør vi se nærmere på hvilke ‘ingredienser’ og arrangementer, der bidrager til fastholdelse, netbaseret kommunikation, og hvordan fx Facebook og Web 3D forbinder sig til disse og vice versa. Ved at vende bøtten lidt på hovedet kan vi måske også blive mere opmærksomme på vores egne forestillinger og konstruktioner som fx at kommunikation relateret til Second Life er netbaseret.

Som Latour har fremhævet:

“…essence is existence and existence is action.” (Latour, 1999, p. 179)



This is where the internet ends

February 8, 2008

There exist many versions of the very last page of the internet in English and Danish, and most likely in any language.

I’m interested in these kinds of pages (presented as one here) because I see them as examples of enacting spatiality through inserting differences.

This example of a boundary enacting page creates off- and online activities as particularly separate forms of everyday living. 

I view this page as an example of imagining the internet as an ‘inside’ version of the living world, related to but separated from the  ‘outside’ version of the living world.

The ‘outside’ presented here is a matter of (new) experiences of nature and engagements in physical movements. It is interesting that what ‘conventionally’ constitutes nature (= physical movements and biology) is in this example made somewhat exotic, peculiar and strange. The internet version of the living world is made ‘the natural’ way of being. However, even though the two versions are made to coexist, you need (to be motivated) to leave the one, in order to enter the other. 

My Translation:

This is where the internet ends
You have now reached the very last page on the internet. We hope you’ve enjoyed surfing. Now it’s time to go out and play.

Suggestions for what to do outside:

  • Take a walk. Which means using your legs for moving around – it’s called strolling
  • Jogging. This means moving around and using your legs a bit faster than when walking. If you jogg fast, it is called running.
  • Bicycling. Going by bike to experience nature in real 3D! Stop the bike once in a while and look at the trees and the rocks.
  • If it’s a hot day, and there’s water nearby, you can take a swim. This is not something you should do if you cannot swim. Then you can do something called bathing.
  • Visit someone you know
HTTP 101 – Have a splendid day!
Greetings the internet

I want to thank Jette Agerbo ( for guiding my attention towards this lovely page called “This is where the internet ends”:

Thanks to whoever made it. I just love it 🙂

On-Line writings – Copyright

The online writings on this website may be cited or briefly quoted in line with the usual academic conventions. You may also copy or download them for your own personal use. However, the writings must not be published elsewhere (e.g. to mailing lists, bulletin boards etc.) without the author’s explicit permission. Please note that if you copy my writings you must:

• include this copyright note

• you should observe the conventions of academic citation in a version of the following form:

e.g. Hansbøl, Mikala: “This is where the internet ends”, published at Mikala’s Klumme – A researcher’s blog: Version 15th February 2008.