The rise of Web-based participatory culture, social media, and networked information has put the realm of the “social” at the centre of what it means to share and build knowledge in our culture. Yet, we have only begun to understand the ways that the “social life of information” and the social construction of knowledge can reshape the ways we create learning experiences in the formal college curriculum.  We believe though that the deepening role of social dimension in learning—which we take broadly to include all representational acts as constitutive of knowledge—is as yet very little understood, not only with respect to technology-enhanced classrooms but broadly across all learning contexts. That is why our approach is to look at a range of teaching contexts from those where digital media tools are central to the course design to those where no digital technologies are involved at all, and hybrid contexts in between.

With this in mind, we define social pedagogies as design approaches for teaching and learning that engage students with what we might call an “authentic audience” (other than the teacher), where the representation of knowledge for an audience is absolutely central to the construction of knowledge in a course. Social pedagogies build in iterative cycles of engagement with the most difficult material, and through a focus on authentic audience and representation of knowledge for others, help students deepen their understanding of core concepts by engaging in the ways of thinking, practicing, and communicating in a field.  Ideally, social pedagogies strive to build a sense of intellectual community within the classroom and frequently connect students to communities outside the classroom.

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Bass, R., & Elmendorf, H. (2009). Social Pedagogies – Teagle Foundation White Paper. Retrieved 9 May 2017, from

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