The intention of this presentation is to describe the findings of a research project that examined the ideas, visions, feelings and experiences in relation to digital technology use of students in two school communities. This project took place in the context of the then Australian Federal Government’s Digital Education Revolution policy which gave netbook computers to every student in their final four years of secondary school. It was also underpinned by the idea that computer provision would ‘revolutionise’ teaching and learning in schools (Buckingham, 2013). With a focus on the climate of thinking about both the current and future use of digital technologies in education, this study was designed to investigate how the idea of a computer-led revolution resonated with the various school community groups. This presentation will focus on the students in the study, who were the recipients and users of these government provided computers, and who are still seen as stereotypical ‘digital natives’ by many in education (Bennett, Maton and Kervin, 2008; Akçayır, Dündar, & Akçayır, 2016).
Using hand-drawn concept maps and focus groups as data, both the explicit and tacit ideas about digital technologies were explored, as well as the emotional responses and perspectives that participants were bringing to the use of educational technologies. The concept-mapping of students’ ideas about both the present and future use of computers was a key aspect of this study, and enabled the exploration of what students’ future thinking might tell us about the ways in which they thought computers might change teaching and learning. Challenging a number of the myths and stereotypes of the digital native, these students expressed a wide range of perspectives and expectations around computer use for schoolwork. Practical concerns were prominent, with findings indicating that students had expectations of computer hardware and the ways in which it was (and wasn’t) used in the classroom, and they were also very frustrated with the restrictions placed on internet access (Selwyn & Bulfin, 2016). This led to a new emphasis on the home as an extension of the classroom as students abandoned the government provided hardware and restricted internet for parent-supplied hardware, freedom of use, and unrestricted internet in the home environment (Furlong and Davies, 2015). Students’ affective orientations indicated concern for the future loss of books, libraries and schools. Students ideas about the future showed both hopes and fears and what they valued about school. This presentation will discuss these findings in relation to the changing nature of schoolwork, the computer as artefact, technologically deterministic thinking, and the myth of technological progress (Bijker, 1995; Selwyn, 2012; Mosco, 2005). Possible implications for higher education and teacher education will be presented.
Although it does take a critical stance about the use of educational technologies in schools (theme 1) the research took place within two secondary schools (wildcard theme).
Session content: evaluation and reflection
This presentation is based on the results of a PhD thesis that examined the ways in which school communities were thinking about, and dealing with, the use of ICT in schooling. This will be made clear to participants. This project is about to be assessed by examiners and this should be completed by September 2018.
Attendees will gain further insight into the ways in which students consider educational technologies, including their expectations, frustrations, and demands. An awareness of the changing nature of schoolwork and the ways in which students navigate between home and school with learning technologies will be gained, along with an understanding of students’ concerns for the loss of aspects of school they feel are threatened by the growing use of computers for the purposes of schooling.
Akçayır, M., Dündar, H., & Akçayır, G. (2016). What makes you a digital native? Is it enough to be born after 1980? Computers in Human Behavior, 60, 435-440.
Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British journal of educational technology, 39(5), 775-786.
Bijker, W. (1995) On Bakelite, Bulbs and Bicycles. Boston: MIT press.
Buckingham, D. (2013). Beyond technology: Children’s learning in the age of digital culture. John Wiley & Sons.
Furlong, J., and Davies, C., in Davies, C., Coleman, J., & Livingstone, S. (Eds.). (2015). Digital technologies in the lives of young people. Routledge.
Mosco, V. (2005). The digital sublime: Myth, power, and cyberspace. MIT Press.
Selwyn, N. (2012). Making sense of young people, education and digital technology: The role of sociological theory. Oxford Review of Education, 38(1), 81-96.
Selwyn, N., & Bulfin, S. (2016). Exploring school regulation of students’ technology use–rules that are made to be broken? Educational Review, 68(3), 274-290.