Trust/Distrust: Impact on Engaged Learning

  • Martha J. HoffEmail author
Living reference work entry


Today’s youth experience life with and through their cell/smart phones. In researching the impact of mobile technology on literacy practices, I found that while access to phones and digital spaces was not a significant issue, trust was. Trust generalizes from social interactions and is positively associated with trusting of unknown others. Those who trust are comfortable engaging with others not previously known; they trust that others, through association, have similar interests and will behave in certain, predictable, positive ways. The willingness to be open to and actively engage with others is assumed. Prior experiences impact how we trust. While mobile technology can lead us to doors that open into new spaces and places, the how and why of one’s trust determines not only if that door is opened but the type and level of engagement and interaction entered. When distrust is present, the ethos of participatory cultures (engage, participate, collaborate, cooperate, and disperse knowledge) is undermined. Distrust is different from low trust, with much stronger and deeper emotional roots. We cannot assume that because youth have technology and seemed to be constantly engaged with it means they are willing to participate, collaborate, cooperative in all places and spaces. Understanding why and where an individual’s trust/distrust is situated is important to understanding how and why they choose to engage in online/digital spaces. To realize the benefits of mobile learning and the online and classroom spaces characterized by collaboration, social connection, and distributed knowledge, we must acknowledge the diversity of engagement.


Trust Distrust Engaged learning Participatory communities Youth 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and CurriculumWarner School of Education and Human Development, University of RochesterRochesterUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hea-Jin Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of College of Education and Human EcologyThe Ohio State University at LimaLimaUSA

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