Teaching Across Time and Space: How University Educators Relate With, and Through, Technology

Teaching Across Time and Space: How University Educators Relate With, and Through, Technology

Louise Drumm (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1591-4.ch002
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Abstract

Technology can be used to bring people closer together yet can also come between them and push them apart. In an age where discourse around our relationship with technology is becoming more widely discussed as problematic, what are the experiences of educators when they use technology for teaching? This chapter discusses influential conceptions of technology and maps them onto digitally mediated teaching. Tensions are identified within the relationships between educator, technology, and learner, and sociomaterial approaches are presented as a means to navigate these areas. Using a research project to demonstrate how sociomaterialism can work in practice, digital teaching was found to be re-distributed over space and time, resulting in consequences, not all of which were intended. This chapter proposes a more interconnected understanding of how people, technology, and learning are enmeshed and makes recommendations for further work that could be done in this area.
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Conceptions Of Technology: The Role Of Agency

A great deal of research on the educational value of new technologies has thus been buoyed by waves of enthusiasm for the technologies themselves, and has been framed by assertions of the inevitable and pervasive changes that will result from their development. (Hamilton & Friesen, 2013, p. 3)

Technologically determinist and instrumentalist perceptions, whether found in the literature or in everyday discourses around teaching, have a profound but often invisible role to play in teaching with digital technologies; through framing attitudes and beliefs about technology, they directly inform and influence teaching approaches. Technological determinism, in its broadest sense, is the idea that there is an inevitability to the development and consequences of technology, and humans are powerless as both consumers and producers of these technologies (Watson, 2016). Possessing an independent force, technology is seen to control its own progressive trajectory which is beyond human control. Mackenzie and Wajcman recognise how determinism is often framed as a natural law, “the most famous being Moore’s law, describing how the number of components on a state-of-the-art microchip doubles in a fixed, predictable period of time (originally a year; now 18 months)” (1999, p. 1).

Key Terms in this Chapter

VLE: Virtual learning environment. Used by institutions and contain webpages, tools and files. Common VLE products include Moodle and Blackboard.

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