This research was a qualitative doctoral project which comprised interviews with 25 participants in two universities. Lecturers from multiple disciplines were interviewed about their teaching approaches with digital technologies and the rationale behind their practices.
Rhizome theory (Deleuze & Guattari 1987) was employed as a theoretical framework for the research. Rhizome theory takes knowledge, amongst other things, to be dynamic, highly connected and non-hierarchical. The research uses this lens to view lecturers and their use of digital technologies in order to shed light on previously untheorised practices.
Initial findings indicate a leading role for folk pedagogies (Olson & Bruner 1996) and strong, but divergent, orthodoxies about what constitutes ‘best practice’ in using digital technologies. The purposes for which lecturers use technology is highly connected to their beliefs about learning, and in particular to their conceptions of knowledge and their role in teaching that knowledge.
The aims of this presentation will be to discuss the findings related to links between theory and practice. The session will be of interest to anyone who wishes to reflect on the connection theory may have to their own or others’ practices with learning technologies.
As a qualitative study, this project has rich data but limited participant numbers. As such, findings are presented as ‘snap shots’ of current beliefs and practices of a selection of lecturers and are not intended to be generalizable.
Through forging links between theory and practice, this research aims to provide pragmatic recommendations to be taken forward, not just by other researchers, but also by lecturers, those who support lecturers and senior staff in higher education. Thus a positive impact on student learning will be attained through greater understanding and transparency of purpose when digital technologies are employed for teaching and learning in universities.
Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F., 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Howard, S. & Maton, K., 2011. Theorising knowledge practices: a missing piece of the educational technology puzzle. Research in Learning Technology, 19(3), pp.191–206.
Olson, D.R. & Bruner., J.S., 1996. Folk psychology and folk pedagogy. In The handbook of education and human development. pp. 9–27.
Tight, M., 2012. Researching Higher Education, Maidenhead: SRHE and Open University Press.