Comunicar Journal Blog

Why do we learn…or not?


Written by Ana Almansa   Translated by Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

“This article argues that a better understanding of human beings is necessary in order to implement what is defined here as design for deep learning”. With this phrase I am drawn to the article “Designing for deep learning in the context of digital and social media”, published in Comunicar 58.

James-Paul Gee, Professor at Arizona State University (United States), and Moisés Esteban-Guitart, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Girona (Spain), are the authors of this article. It theorizes about the human being as the main axis in the learning and interpersonal processes: “people become travel companions in a journey through life with others”.
It is, without a doubt, an article that invites reflection on people and how we act. The article appeals from beginning to end. And the ending in particular does not leave one indifferent: “Human beings are primates. School and inequality in society have killed the psychobiological passion for learning, for epistemological sensitivity (Bruner, 2012) and for solving problems in many people. We are faced with a large number of problems that are difficult to solve. Perhaps the problem with “design for deep learning” is not really that human beings don’t like effort, but that they need to discover what they really are: beings who grow up struggling and learning when they perceive that there are rays of light, recognition and hope”.

I invite you to read the full text here.


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Young people’s learning with digital media beyond school: From the informal to the formal

Author:  Ana Sedeño   Translator:  Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

priscilla-du-preez-XkKCui44iM0-unsplashThe paper “Young people learning from digital media outside of school: The informal meets the formal” published in issue 58 of Comunicar Journal, presents the research results of professors Sara Pereira, Joana Fillol and Pedro Morur from the University of Miño in Braga (Portugal). It deals with informal learning and its relationship to the school. This article was based on data from workshops, interviews and questionnaires collected from 78 young people aged 12-16 in schools located in northern Portugal.

The study undertakes a new bibliographical review of the reflections and studies in which the media have proven to significantly contribute complementary content to adolescents’ learning, as part of the Transmedia Literacy project, a European project that attempted to systematize different perspectives on this phenomenon. The study analyzes the informal learning strategies of adolescents, presented as an explanatory diagram divided by Trial/Error, Information Search and Imitation/inspiration.

It seems that students at these ages are aware of this cultural and educational gap and do not expect to learn about media in school: “They are two different worlds,” they say.

Some solutions provided by researchers include changes in educational policies and the production of resources to help teachers train in media topics and use them on a daily basis in the classroom, while at the same time develop transmedia literacy skills. You can read the full article here.

Participatory media and change of teaching method

In the latest issue of Comunicar, a theme that has received intensive discussion in the recent decade leads a series of research articles: Shared science and knowledge, Open access, technology and education.

Among the serial articles, one of them draws my special attention: Soler-Adillon, J., Pavlovic, D. & Freixa, P. (2018). Wikipedia in higher education: Changes in perceived value through content contribution. Comunicar, 54, 39-48. Given to the prevalence of wikipedia in our daily internet use as well as in academia practice, the authors conducted experiments that compared how students perceive the reliability and usefulness, and of likeliness of finding false information on Wikipedia. A significant change of perception on the above aspects was found before and after students got a chance to edit contents on wikipedia. Their appreciation of the task of writing Wikipedia articles, in terms of it being interesting and challenge also increased.

This article stimulates my further contemplation on one of the latest fashion in teaching method: flipped classroom. Recently, I attended a workshop organized by universities in Hong Kong. In the workshop, concepts and practical experience regarding this teaching method was introduced. Basically, the rationale behind is that, students in today’s digital age have mastered various means of knowledge acquisition, especially with the assistance of the internet. Therefore, the role of teacher shall be transformed from instructor to coach/tutor. And the function of classroom shall be more for discussion than for one-way lecturing. Participatory platforms such as MOOC, Moodle and to name a few should play a leading role in the process of education because students living in the digital age shall be more interested in and inclined to interactive two-way communication. Wikipedia, in this regard, is a vivid example and exemplar of participatory media. Shall it be a primary means in university teaching? Or, when students are told to search information on their own, how to guarantee the quality of knowledge they have “acquired”?

Besides the primary and ultimate issue of “how to stimulate students’ self-learning motivation”, media and information is of particular importance in this regard. In the previous blog entry, Prof. Alice Lee addressed: media and Information Literacy (MIL) are the combined capabilities of Media Literacy, Information Literacy and ICT. It means to search, evaluate, use and create media messages and information efficiently from any platform (Internet, media, library, museum, database, etc.).

Teaching is never a problem of teaching method, in my view. In the old days, as long as students are highly self-motivated, traditional teaching methods such as one-way lecturing or multi-way communication in seminar, deliver knowledge and stimulate new thoughts effectively. Great thinkers learn in libraries, classrooms, reading clubs and on their owns, instead of on MOOC or Moodle. Vice versa, without strong and critical media and information literacy and embracing little self-motivation, students, even given a large variety of learning options, will fail to receive high-quality education.

flipped classroom的圖片搜尋結果

Critical Citizenship and Social Empowerment

The latest issue of Comunicar (Vol. XXV, n. 53, 4th quarter, October 1 2017) ( sheds lights on one of the most popular topics in nowadays academia – cyber activism and empowerment. A meta-analysis leads four specific empirical studies based in different nations and regions.

In the past decade, along with the global uprising cases is the blossom of research on social activism that is inevitably intertwined with communication studies. Obviously, the prevalence of digital-aided communication tools has played an essential role not only in protesting activities, but in most areas of human social life. Use of digital media enlarges scale and transforms essence of social occurrences: the speed and scale of mass communication has been significantly heightened so that attentions on certain events have been broadened from local to global range; the breaking-out, mobilization and sustaining of social protests have been changed by people’s use of digital media. “Connective action” suggested by Lance Bennett and Alexandra Segerberg offers an innovative paradigm to refresh our understanding on how human actions could be connected with each other. (

In this current issue, papers such as “Cyberactivisim in the Process of Political and Social Change in Arab Countries” and “Protesting on Twitter: Citizenship and Empowerment from Public Education” prove the prevalence and importance of digital-aided communication in protests that are both contentious and on everyday bases. The former one highlights the sustaining of movement networks that allied citizens from contentious moments to the ever longer period of “movement awaited” – the ebbs and flows of protests. The latter one offers a mapping of how anonymous citizens reacted to governmental decisions on the online platform.

That said, the spectrum ranged from connective action and collective action spans from one end of human-organization based to another anonymity end that is fraught with uncertainties. In  “Cyberactivisim in the Process of Political and Social Change in Arab Countries“, human networks still contribute greatly in terms of protest mobilization and more importantly, bonding the morale when external stimulus demise. “Protesting on Twitter: Citizenship and Empowerment from Public Education” pointed out that, while the online platform is free from a lot of restrictions which hinder people’s participation in previous age, the citizenship, by all means, is actualized through people’s active social conscious and empowerment that is educated and practiced in everyday life in the real world.

New challenges such as human’s substitute AI (artificial intelligent) produce puzzles which are unsolvable at this stage, among which a crucial question goes to whether AI can really think. Perhaps AI can help with household chords while there is still a long way to go before AI can take an active role in the world – the learning, practicing and reflecting what do human mean to the society, and vice versa.




Re-thinking digital competence

In their latest article, Amiama-Espaillat and Mayor-Ruiz demonstrated a comprehensive study on Generation Z in the Dominican Republic. Aiming at assessing their digital reading and reading competence, the researchers conducted survey among adolescents at 10th grade in both public and private schools. Adopting existing reading competence measure scales, the researchers discovered that the reading proficiency literacy vary between students in the two types of schools.

It is concluded that, “a student with prior knowledge and one who lives in a literate culture will more efficiently incorporate what one has read while at the same time enriching one’s reading experience. It is a matter of the ‘rich get richer.'” On the contrary, a student with limited prior knowledge and reading habitus, even if the person reads a lot and uses ICTs, that student will be unable to efficiently incorporate the information.


Cruel but true, the gaps in whatever terms such as knowledge gap, digital gap and so on, exist and the situation is even getting deteriorated. It has been testified by lots of scholars that, what matters most to people’s digital competence is their knowledge of how to use it and the peer culture that creates a “habitus” of “getting used to using it”, instead of the how the quantity of digital devices available to the people. To put it in an ancient Chinese saying, “it is better teach how to fish than give fish” – an ancient wisdom while still exhibits contemporary universal value. This significant but callous phenomenon has been well proved by the authors.

While the measure tools adopted by Amiama-Espaillat and Mayor-Ruiz so comprehensive that we as readers are able to grasp a general picture of how Dominican teenagers make use of their digital devices in daily life, I am curious if the teens, who show lower points in reading proficiency competence, could be regarded as “low competence”. As the authors of the article well aware of that: “students’ use of Internet, even for academic purposes, seems to be insufficient to develop the necessary reading or digital competence”, the digital competence of people, especially who are termed as the “generation z”, comes little from schooling or academic activities. It is quite true that, from our daily observation and also from the minor findings of this study, multi-channel use of digital devices constitutes the major part of people’s learning experience – learning by doing. There is not significant discrepancy between different generations in terms of learning process.

As pointed by the article authors,  there is a great need to further examine other factors such as teachers’ technological and pedagogic competence. Perhaps, more facets are worthy of further examination: parenting, peer groups, and the process-dimension that shows how teenagers gradually adopt certain digital use habits.


Amiama-Espaillat, C. & Mayor-Ruiz, C. (2017). Digital Reading and Reading Competence – The influence in the Z Generation from the Dominican Republic [Lectura digital en la competencia lectora: La influencia en la Generación Z de la República Dominicana]. Comunicar, 52, 105-114. 

Link to the article:


The Audiovisual Content Downloads among University Students

Internet has set the pace for the 21st century, also known as ‘digital era’. The spread of the Internet in any electronic device allows us to be communicated at all times, with its advantages and disadvantages. This revolution has made possible for the society to have easy access to Internet at home. In Spain, for example, 78.8% homes had Internet connection in 2015 (INE, 2015). Being able to be ‘online’ 24 hours a day provide not only free online programmes, but also downloadable films or series at no cost. Whether these practices are legal or moral is questionable.

The article in this post gives a thorough reflection on the uses that university students make of these downloads. Some of the results are eye-opening. In the survey undertaken, 67.3% of the participants said that their downloads were ‘pirated’, free and with no permission from the authors. Have they been informed about this matter? Are they really aware of the legal constraints in their uses?

I highly recommend reading this study that has received almost 1,000 online visits and whose aim is ‘to analyse the habits of audio-visual (movies and television series) consumption via the internet of university students; to detect their attitudes, knowledge and abilities as related to illegal downloading of content from the web; and to describe the education/training they perceive to have in relation to legal and ethical issues on the subject’ (Duarte-Hueros et al., 2016:52). How can we educate the new generations to look after the increasingly amount of audio-visual material ‘available at any time and any place’?


Duarte-Hueros, J., Duarte-Hueros, A. & Ruano-López, S. (2016). The Audiovisual Content Downloads among University Students [Las descargas de contenidos audiovisuales en Internet entre estudiantes universitarios.] Comunicar, 48, 49-57. (DOI


COMUNICAR ISSUE 48:Ethics and plagiarism in scientific communication

 48 We inform you that the latest issue of «Comunicar», 48, has been recently published with the suggestive title: «Ethics and plagiarism in scientific communication». As on previous occasions, the journal has a monographic section and a wide variety of items in its miscellaneous section. All articles are available full text and free of charge on our official website.
Plagiarism and Academic Integrity in Germany
Germán Ruipérez | José-Carlos García-Cabrero
DOI Editorial Policy in Spanish and Latin American Scientific Publication: JCR Social Sciences Edition
Alejandra Hernández-Ruiz

Chinese University EFL Teachers’ Knowledge of and Stance on Plagiarism
Guangwei Hu | Xiaoya Sun

The Impact of Activity Design in Internet Plagiarism in Higher Education
María Gómez-Espinosa | Virginia Francisco | Pablo Moreno-Ger

The Audiovisual Content Downloads among University Students
Juliana Duarte-Hueros | Ana Duarte-Hueros | Soledad Ruano-López

Internet Use and Academic Success in University Students
Juan-Carlos Torres-Díaz | Josep M Duart | Héctor-F. Gómez-Alvarado | Isidro Marín-Gutiérrez | Verónica Segarra-Faggioni

Cyberbullying: Social Competence, Motivation and Peer Relationships
Eva-M. Romera | Juan-Jesús Cano | Cristina-M. García-Fernández | Rosario Ortega-Ruiz

Gender Stereotypes 2.0: Self-representations of Adolescents on Facebook
Úrsula Oberst | Andrés Chamarro | Vanessa Renau

Youth and the Third Sector Media in Spain: Communication and Social Change Training
Isabel Lema-Blanco | Eduardo-Francisco Rodríguez-Gómez | Alejandro Barranquero-Carretero

A Comparative Study of Handwriting and Computer Typing in Note-taking by University Students
Estíbaliz Aragón-Mendizábal | Cándida Delgado-Casas | José-I. Navarro-Guzmán | Inmaculada Menacho-Jiménez | Manuel-F. Romero-Oliva

«Comunicar» is a quarterly, bilingual Spanish-English research journal, with Chinese and Portuguese abstracts. Articles, authors and topics have a decidedly international outlook. The journal is now in its 23rd year and has published 1671 research and studies articles. The journal appears in 312 international databases, journal impact assessment platforms, selected directories, specialized portals and hemerographic catalogues… A rigorous and transparent, blind reviewing system manuscripts audited in RECYT. It has an international scientific editorial board and a broad network of 445 reviewers from 33 countries of all over the world. Professional management of manuscripts via the OJS platform from the Science and Technology Foundation, with ethical commitments published for the scientific community that ensure transparency and timeliness, antiplagiarism (CrossCheck), reviewing system… It is a highly visible publication available through numerous search engines, dynamic pdfs, epub, DOIs, ORCID… with connections to Mendeley, RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero and scientific social networks like, Researchgate. A specialized journal in educommunication: communication and education, ICT, audiences, new languages…; there are special monographic editions on the most up-to-date topics. It has a printed and an online digital edition. The entire digital version can be freely accessed. It is co-edited in Spain for Europe, and in Ecuador and Brasil  for Latin America. Comunicar has also an English and a Chinese co-edition.  In 2016, «Comunicar» is indexed by JCR-WoS (IF 1.438, Q1). Scopus classifies it in ‘Cultural Studies’ as Q1, ‘Education’, and ‘Communication’ as Q2 (SJR 0,472). It is Journal of Excellence RECYT 2016-19 and also indexed by ERIH+. Google Scholar Metrics 2015 categorizes «Comunicar» with an H5-index 22 and a h5-median 41.


CFP Comunicar 52 (2017-3): The Social Brain and Connective Intelligence

Comunicar 52 (2017-3): The Social Brain and Connective Intelligence

   Thematic Editors:
Dr. Jesús Timoteo-Alvarez, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)
Dr. Fabio Babiloni, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)
Dr. Angel L. Rubio-Moraga, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)

Last call: December 30, 2016

Applications from Neurosciences to other scientific fields and specifically to the social sciences have been done for over ten years. The best known are the investigations of Damasio on the ability of emotions to access and organize information, Lakoff‘s research on neurolanguage and its derivations to political action, Schreider’s neuropolitics or applications of mirror neurons to the voting decision process, or also experiments around the topic of “neuromarketing / neuroshopping”, and the relationship between brain, advertising and choice purchasing carried out in laboratories Iacoboni at UCLA, to name a few. The conclusions of neurosciences and related sciences are radically changing everything on access for individuals to information and knowledge. We are interested in the conclusions of these cutting-edge science regarding the basic organization of social communication: for example the idea that the environment is not a structure imposed from the outside but a creation of living beings themselves, or how the network model manifests and expresses a “distributed intelligence”, a “swarm intelligence” or “connective intelligence”, with its neural leads to the extent that the communicative act is not a simple message transfer but an interaction of codes with commonalities. This has exponentially been sponsored by the advent of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). In fact, it would not be too much to say that the “connective intelligence” embodies the best way of thinking and relating in the new network society, because it establishes a simultaneous and significant connectivity between multiple users, according to CALL FOR PAPERS, 52 (2017-3) the diagrams “one-many”, “many-one”, or “many-many”, because it drives a playful interactivity between users, because it replaces the variable “geographical proximity” for that, typical of cyberspace, where the connection is established based on interests and shared preferences and because it seeks to accelerate the synergy of the decentralized knowledge processes. The objective of this CFP is to promote research that contributes to the understanding of how the social brain or connective intelligence affects the functioning of the process of creating an opinion, setting behaviors, changing perception, attitudes and habits, and as derivatives, understanding how public opinion is formed, how purchasing or voting decisions are established. Topics  Access to channels of information and knowledge  Formats derived on education and training  The creation process of Public Opinion  The configuration of behavior in current society  The change of perception and the evolution of attitudes and habits  The process of Purchase decision-making  Mass Media and voting choice  Entertainment and leisure channels in the hyper-connected society  Uses and effects of Information and Communications Technologies in decision-making process  Social Networking and opinion configuration process  New strategies and trends in the field of Neurocommunication and Neuromarketing  Neuropolitics and new communication strategies in the electoral field  Research proposals in the context of applications of neuroscience to Social Sciences (Economics, Psychology , Education, Politics, Law … ) As priority, research papers on communication and education are requested, especially the intersection of both: media education, media and educational resources, educational technology, computer and telematic resources, audiovisual technology… and also reports and studies on these same subjects are accepted.



1. Comunicar 50 (2017-1): Technologies and second languages
Thematic Editors: Dr. Kris Buyse, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Dr. Carmen Fonseca, University of Huelva (Spain)
Last call: May 30, 2016

2. Comunicar 51 (2017-2): E-Innovation in Higher Education
Thematic Editors: Dr. Ramón López-Martín, University of Valencia (Spain)
Dr. Paulo Dias, Open University of Lisboa (Portugal)
Dr. Alejandro Tiana Ferrer, The National Distance Education University Madrid (Spain)
Last call: September 30, 2016

3. Comunicar 52 (2017-3): The Social Brain and Connective Intelligence
Thematic Editors:
Dr. Jesús Timoteo-Alvarez, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)
Dr. Fabio Babiloni, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)
Dr. Angel L. Rubio-Moraga, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)
Last call: December 30, 2016

4. Comunicar 53 (2017-4): Critical Citizenship and Social Empowerment in the Emerging Cybersociety
Thematic Editors: Dr. Antonio Sampayo-Novoa, University of Lisbon (Portugal)Dr. Guillermo Domínguez-Fernández, University Pablo de Olavide, Seville (Spain)
Last call: February 28, 2017

For further information, visit


Community media in Hong Kong

Echo to Cerbino, M. & Belotti, F. (2016). Community Media as Exercise of Communicative Citizenship: Experiences from Argentina and Ecuador . Comunicar, 47, 49-56.

Recently, members of the Community Communication section in IAMCR (International Association of Media and Communication Research) have had intensive discussion about the “branding” of the section.

According to the section chairman, Dr. Arne Hintz, “‘community’ was regarded by most respondents as highly important for the section, followed by ‘citizen’, ‘social movement’, and ‘alternative’. The term ‘participatory’ was seen as significant, too”.

From this brief discussion, we could see some fundamental elements of community media. First of all, it is not only simply about a physical and territorial community, but about the organic integration between human activity and the community. Secondly, it projects an essential part which is closely related to social movement, or at least related to participation of citizenship. I would say, this is highly Marxist. This approach of community media emphasises the bottom-up social change and the active role of human beings. What’s more, it also connotes the pursuit of “alternative”, which, again very Marxist in terms of anti-capitalism. To deduce the simplicity, I would like to add, community media tries to create a platform for citizen empowerment, whose efforts are seldom valued by the mainstream society. More often than not, community media is for those marginalised groups, who are neglected or stigmatised by the mainstream society, suppressing the outlets for them to speak out. That’s why they need a unique platform to express their concerns, as well as to gain the empowerment through mutual-aid among their community peers and cross-community activists.

I would like to introduce several community media platforms in Hong Kong.

v-artivists: returning art to people. art is part of everyday life; art is full of diversity and locally based; art could be as popular as everybody can take control of several resources; art is based on mutual respect and appreciation.

grass-media: interns join this platform to learn how to discover the hidden voices in the society and how to let grassroots people make use of media tools.

ODAAG: old district autonomous alliance group to fight against gentrification.

together to empower