Activity Theory Perspectives on Technology in Higher Education

Activity Theory Perspectives on Technology in Higher Education

Elizabeth Murphy (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada) and María A. Rodríguez-Manzanares (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada)
Indexed In: SCOPUS
Release Date: September, 2013|Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 308
ISBN13: 9781466645905|ISBN10: 1466645903|EISBN13: 9781466645912|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4590-5


Activity Theory is a tool that can help make sense of the complex changes taking place in higher education because of the integration of technology. Unlike other theories, it allows for a focus that includes elements in the social, cultural, and historical setting in which the technology is used. In addition, it supports consideration of the practices of individual students and educators as well as practices at the institutional level.

Activity Theory Perspectives on Technology in Higher Education presents a compelling theory that will be useful for researchers, academics, policy makers, administrators, and instructors interested in understanding and controlling the shifts that are occurring in education due to the integration of technology.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Activity System of Higher Education
  • Activity Theory
  • E-Learning
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Innovation
  • Online Learning
  • Technology-Mediated Higher Education

Reviews and Testimonials

For over a decade Murphy and Rodríguez-Manzanares (both Memorial U. of Newfoundland, Canada) have been investigating and writing about technology-mediated education, trying out different frameworks for understanding it. Now they have found activity theory to be a tool for understanding the complexity of technology in higher education. One value of the theory, they say, is that it factors in development over time. Their topics include an overview of activity theory in technology-mediated higher education, contraindications and technology in higher education, activity theory studies of domestic and international students using technology in higher education, portraits of the activity systems of international higher education students in online learning, and cross analysis of the activity systems of higher education international students in online learning.

– Annotation ©2013 Book News Inc. Portland, OR

Two international scholars bring together 11 chapters by scholars and practitioners that focus on activity theory, which is a tool that can be used to understand the complex changes that are occurring in higher education due to the changes and integration in technologies. The focus is on the social, cultural, and historical settings in which technology is used.

– Sara Marcus, American Reference Books Annual

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Elizabeth Murphy is Professor in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada where she teaches courses in the Masters of Information Technology in Education program as well as undergraduate courses in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) integration and in second-language teaching. Prior to her appointment at Memorial, she was a school administrator. In 2000, she obtained her Ph.D. in Educational Technology from Université Laval in Québec, Canada. In the last 10 years, Dr. Murphy has authored approximately 100 publications. She is a frequent presenter at conferences worldwide, serves as a visiting professor at a university in Bangkok, Thailand, and has been a keynote speaker at several international conferences. In recognition of her accomplishments and contribution to the field, she was awarded the 2007 President’s Award for Outstanding Research (Memorial University).
María Ángeles Rodríguez Manzanares is a lecturer in the Department of French and Spanish and Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. She completed a Ph.D. in Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland as well as a Master of Arts in English Degree and a Master of Education Degree in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning (Second Language Education specialization). She previously received a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Graduate Diploma in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Barcelona, Spain. She has designed online courses and conducted research and published in the areas of online learning and international students as well as second/foreign language education.