The New Mobilities Paradigm is the idea that mobility expands beyond physical movement. The paradigm aims to interpret different types of movement in order to come up with conclusions on how these patterns are significant to our daily lives. Throughout our class project, we investigated several forms of mobility around Boston University’s campus as well as mobility within the CAS building specifically. The types of mobility that we investigated include movement in classrooms, between classes, around campus,and during passing time. The themes of the New Mobilities Paradigm enable us to connect to the university experience, and contend that the relationship between movement and stillness is an essential aspect to the experience students have in the classroom.
In a university environment, there is so much movement that goes unnoticed. Students walk to class, walk to their dorms, and communicate ideas. Just the very fact that they go to a university entails large amounts of movement because of the departure from home into a new environment. The study of these ideas and how they are interrelated corresponds to the ideas of The New Mobilities Paradigm. By using the ideas of the Paradigm, we can analyze how a classroom is affected by all the different types of movement that people in the class have experienced, and also how it is affected by the movement of ideas that occur in the actual class.
In Boston University, about 23% of students are international students (Boston University Admissions). These are the people affected most obviously by mobility. They travel from different countries all over the world with completely different cultures and lifestyles. When they come to study in Boston University, they experience a whole new set of experiences that the diverse campus has to offer. Since these students are coming from different countries, they have a different set of personal knowledge than domestic students. They offer a variety in the classroom that is important for good discussion and exchange of ideas. Diversity can lead to an increasingly, interconnected global society, which all ties back to original mobility of students to a university and mobility of ideas in a classroom.
Although in classrooms there is often no significant physical movement, there is significant abstract movement of information. This stillness in the classroom setting allows for the teacher and students to exchange information, which creates a flow of ideas within the classroom. As we visited many classrooms for class observation in the CAS building, the contrast between the movement and stillness was easily noticeable to us as outsiders. Through the observation visits, we gained a new perspective on the importance of the coexistence of stillness and movement, because they complement each other in a way that allows students to enrich their learning experience with new ideas. This constant intellectual and physical mobility largely contributes to the open-minded atmosphere at the university.