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mRunning: New Ways of Running in Kenya
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Political Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Sports Pedagogy and Physical Education, Vol. 6, no 1, 1-11 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper argues for new ways for Kenyan elite runners to use smartphones. The study focused on everyday use in social and professional practices to understand the interaction between smartphones, learning, and running. Thus, it was a specific example of how mobile technology can become integrated in existing practices, develop them, and become absorbed in daily routines. Thirty elite runners between the ages of 19 and 34 were provided with a simple smartphone in an intervention study that used a participatory action research approach (PAR) for a period of one and half years. The analysis was based on multiple sources of data and the Silverstone et al. (1992) Domestication of Technology Framework. The Kenyan runners in this study had limited educational background and low incomes, but smartphones with internet connectivity became a powerful catalyst for change. This project showed a distinct example of mRunning; considering the runners’ intensive use of the smartphones and their applications for running. The smartphones had an impact on their professions as runners and acted in a practice-building capacity. The runners were armed with better information about their own training, training programs, rehab information, health, race calendars, race venues, courses profiles, etc. Therefore, most of the runners in the study performed better in competitions. Smartphones were a substantial resource that made a significant impact on the Kenyan  runners’ daily practice and became an important and supportive tool for the runner to get out of poverty.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Common Ground Publishing, 2015. Vol. 6, no 1, 1-11 p.
Keyword [en]
ICT4D/M4D, Smartphones, Participatory Action Research
National Category
Interaction Technologies Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-115801OAI: diva2:796731

On the day of the defence day the status of this article was Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-03-20 Created: 2015-03-20 Last updated: 2015-04-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. New ways of learning: Participatory action research and Kenyan runners’ appropriation of smartphones to improve their daily lives and participation in m-learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New ways of learning: Participatory action research and Kenyan runners’ appropriation of smartphones to improve their daily lives and participation in m-learning
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Nya vägar till lärande : Deltagande aktionsforskning kring kenyanska löpares appropriering av smarta telefoner i vardagen för mobilt lärande
Abstract [en]

In Kenya, mobile technology is widely used, with more and more people gaining access to the Internet. Mobile technology has the potential to support learning and improve lives, particular those of impoverished people. In this study, 30 Kenyan runners from poor backgrounds and with limited formal education participated. They were provided with a basic smartphone and Internet data bundles for one year so that they could participate in m-learning. The participatory action research approach was used. Sources of data included interviews, observations, fieldnotes, web inquiries, and mobile log files. A sociocultural perspective was used to analyze how the participants learned informally using the smartphones.

Findings indicate that the Kenyan runners’ rapid appropriation and mastery of the smartphones was based on their curiosity and interest in sports. The runners’ skills and knowledge increased over time, showing how digital resources improved their training, increased their social interactions, developed entrepreneurial skills, created awareness in and with the rest of society, and improved participation in m-learning. Sociocultural analysis showed that feedback from peers and the tool itself were both significant for learning. The participants themselves influenced the research process. From their interest emerged an online course (MOOC) about human rights. Key challenges in the process were power consumption, lack of electricity, and the availability and cost of Internet access. A lack of critical attitude about content on the Internet was also discernible. The main findings highlight how mobile technology can not only improve daily lives, but also develop new ways for people to participate in mlearning.

Abstract [sv]

I Kenya är användningen av mobilteknologi och Internet utbredd och ökar stadigt. Mobilteknik visar sig ha potential att öka medborgares intressen för lärande och kunskap, och därigenom förbättra livssituationen särskilt för fattiga människor. Den här studien syftade till att med deltagande aktionsforskning analysera hur sådana processer går till. I studien deltog 30 kenyanska löpare från fattiga förhållanden och med begränsad formell utbildning. Deltagarna utrustades med en enkel smartphone med fri surf under ett år och följdes med intervjuer, observationer, webbenkäter och mobilspårning. Deras lärandeprocesser analyserades ur ett sociokulturellt perspektiv om hur teknik tillägnas – approrieras – och används i vardagliga praktiker och utvecklar lärande.

Resultaten visade att de kenyanska löparna snabbt approprierade telefonerna och fann utifrån nyfikenhet och intresset för idrott olika sätt att använda dem. Kunskaper och färdigheter utvecklades över tid och de digitala resurserna förbättrade löparnas träning, ökade sociala interaktioner, utvecklade entreprenöriella färdigheter och nya synsätt på sina möjligheter i världen.

Den sociokulturella analysen visade även att feedback från andra deltagare och/eller av tekniken i sig hade betydelse för lärandet. Forskningsprocessen påverkades av deltagarna och utifrån deras intresse skapades en on-line kurs (MOOC) om Mänskliga rättigheter. Problem i studien var telefonens energiförbrukning, brist på elektricitet, tillgång till och kostnad för Internet samt deltagarnas kritiska förhållningssätt till Internet. Det övergripande resultatet är att mobilteknologi kan förbättra livsvillkor och skapa nya vägar till lärande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 145 p.
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 189
Participatory action research, m-learning, sociocultural perspective, Deltagande aktionsforskning, mobilt lärande, sociokulturellt perspektiv
National Category
Didactics Pedagogy Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-115804 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-115804 (DOI)978-91-7519-124-9 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-04-24, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-03-20 Created: 2015-03-20 Last updated: 2015-03-24Bibliographically approved

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