What shapes what? Technologies and their relationship to learning

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Although there is a considerable body of work that explores educational uses of technology, and highly developed accounts of what learning is, surprisingly little research in education has asked what technology is, or what its relationship to learning consists of. When these matters are considered at all, they tend to be framed in technologically deterministic ways, with technology either 'causing' or at the least 'offering' and 'constraining' learning. In this talk, I will provide an overview of this way of framing technology and identify problems that follow from it. I will outline alternative positions that could be adopted, including Communities of Practice, the Social Construction of Technology and Actor-Network Theory, and discuss their points of connection to this debate. Using examples drawn from a JISC-funded project on digital literacies, I will draw out the implications of these positions for research.

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What shapes what? Technologies and their relationship to learning

  1. 1. WHAT SHAPES WHAT?TECHNOLOGIES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO LEARNING Martin Oliver Institute of Education, University of London m.oliver@ioe.ac.uk
  2. 2. ABSTRACT• Although there is a considerable body of work that explores educational uses of technology, and highly developed accounts of what learning is, surprisingly little research in education has asked what technology is, or what its relationship to learning consists of. When these matters are considered at all, they tend to be framed in technologically deterministic ways, with technology either causing or at the least offering and constraining learning. In this talk, I will provide an overview of this way of framing technology and identify problems that follow from it. I will outline alternative positions that could be adopted, including Communities of Practice, the Social Construction of Technology and Actor-Network Theory, and discuss their points of connection to this debate. Using examples drawn from a JISC-funded project on digital literacies, I will draw out the implications of these positions for research.
  3. 3. SO, WHAT‘S THE ISSUE?
  4. 4. • If someone is learning in a way that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs), they are using e-learning. They could be a pre-school child playing an interactive game; they could be a group of pupils collaborating on a history project with pupils in another country via the Internet; they could be geography students watching an animated diagram of a volcanic eruption their lecturer has just downloaded; they could be a nurse taking her driving theory test online with a reading aid to help her dyslexia – it all counts as e-learning.(DfES, 2003)
  5. 5. • Considerable effort has been made to making sense of what we mean by ―learning.‖ This is an important and serious issue, and one that is obviously worthy of considerable attention (see, eg, Mayes & de Freitas, 2004). However, it is not the whole story. An account of educational technology that can only explain ―education‖ and not ―technology‖ runs the risk of dealing naively with an important part of its field of study. The consequence of this is a failure to provide convincing accounts of the link between technology use and learning.(Oliver, 2012)
  6. 6. • If one were to consider the field as characterised as a vertical knowledge structure one would consider the ―real‖ field to be that most entrenched domain known as instructional technology, instructional design or, nowadays, as educational technology. Certainly such a domain exists, (although its changing or inconsistent name is telling). It is positivist in approach and method, based on instructivist (or more recently cognition) theories. It is most firmly located in the US although its spread is global and includes Europe and South Africa. It is described as having known, clear definitions, published by an acknowledged association, it has specified competencies as a profession, and agreed sources of research findings. These tensions about science versus social science are allied with differences of opinion regarding whether the field is coherent and cohesive, or incoherent and fragmented. This latter representation is more prevalent, and can be usefully exemplified as a horizontal knowledge structure consisting of specialised ―languages‖ with specialised modes of interrogation and criteria for the construction and circulation of texts. These ―languages‖ are made up of a cluster of elements with criteria for legitimate texts, what counts as evidence, and what counts as legitimate questions. From this perspective, instructional design is only one of the specialist languages of the field, which would then comprise other languages as well.(Czerniewicz, 2010)
  7. 7. • In order to show, convincingly, that a topic is absent from discussions in the field requires a systematic approach to reviewing work. In this case, a systematic review was attempted, although this proved problematic: while an Education Resources Information Center search for the period 2001–2011 using the key words ―technology‖ and ―theory‖ returned 7152 results, these were almost exclusively what could be described as ―false positives‖, in that they contained the terms but were not actually about a theory of technology. Instead, to ensure the rigour of this review, a different approach had to be adopted. A manual search was conducted, covering the last decade‘s worth of articles from educational technology journals that were ranked in the top 35 by impact factor.(Oliver, 2012)• Ten papers identified: • Theoretical work on design-based research; technology as a way of instantiating, developing and contributing to theory. • Technology as part of a system of distributed cognition or learning (3 cases). • One paper on the social shaping of technology • Five on affordances
  8. 8. CAUSALITY
  9. 9. • E-learning exploits interactive technologies and communication systems to improve the learning experience. It has the potential to transform the way we teach and learn across the board. It can raise standards, and widen participation […] It cannot replace teachers and lecturers, but […] it can enhance the quality and reach of their teaching, and reduce the time spent on administration. It can enable every learner to achieve his or her potential, and help to build an educational workforce empowered to change. It makes possible a truly ambitious education system for a future learning society.(DfES, 2003)
  10. 10. • The seductive lure of technology in policy • A material thing that can be bought, counted, given, used, monitored • A causal force that ‗does learning‘ to people
  11. 11. • Games and game play tend to be treated as ―out there,‖ beyond the school gate, in some better, more authentic, more democratic, more meaningful place, other than the current and failing educational regime. By bringing games into educational practice and theory, the hope is, it often seems, that the diseased, geriatric body of education can be treated through the rejuvenating, botox-like effect of educational game play.(Pelletier, 2009: 84)
  12. 12. • The immediate factors shaping the debates about evidence-based practice have been decisively influenced by the political ascendancy of New Labour. David Blunkett, as Minister for Education, argued in 2000 that ‗we need social scientists to help determine what worked and why, and what types of policy initiative are likely to be most effective‘ (cited in Evans & Benefield, 2001, p. 527). This drive to establish effectiveness was linked to funding initiatives and their need to ensure value for money in relation to measurable outcomes. The discourse of ‗what works‘ has, therefore, become dominant in judging the value of research outputs, and educational research in particular has been castigated for failing to deliver proper cumulative evidence that could inform policy and practice.(Clegg, 2005: 416-417)
  13. 13. • Some have surmised that teenagers use different parts of their brain and think in different ways than adults when at the computer. We now know that it goes even further—their brains are almost certainly physiologically different. […] Digital Natives accustomed to the twitch-speed, multitasking, random- access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick- payoff world of their video games, MTV, and Internet are bored by most of today‘s education, well meaning as it may be.(Prensky, 2001)
  14. 14. …ANY THEORY…?
  15. 15. • The affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill.(Gibson, 1979, p. 115)• An account that seeks to rule out ‗learning‘ (and all ―mentalism‖), although there are some concessions about ―attunement‖• Wanted to rule out the ―subjective‖ world, or the world of ―consciousness‖ (Gibson, 1979, p. 129)• Relational, but somehow automatic
  16. 16. • Technologies as ―a phenomenon captured and put to use‖ (p50)• Phenomena ―are simply natural effects, and as such they exist independently of humans or technology‖ (p49)• Technologies ―evolve‖ through the complex combinations of simpler technologies• ―Descent‖ amongst ―families‖ of technology explicitly tries to rule people out of the picture • ―people are required at every step of the processes that create technology [but this] is not a discussion of the human side of creating technology [... but] the logic that drives these purposes‖ (p. 6)(Arthur, 2009)
  17. 17. BUT DOES IT WORK?• Educational researchers have conducted media comparison studies from the earliest days of the introduction of technology into education. For example, Saettler (1990) found evidence of comparisons of educational films with classroom instruction being conducted in the 1920s. Comparative research designs were applied to every new educational technology as it was developed, including programmed instruction, instructional television, and more recently computer-based instruction. However, for decades the results of such media comparison research studies have usually been ―no significant differences‖.(Reeves, 2005: 298)
  18. 18. • Much research in Higher Education focuses on technique at the expense of studying motive or values (Zukas and Malcolm, 1999). […] By assuming that the problems facing education (and in particular, e-learning) are technical, evidence- based practice (in the sense adopted in medicine) becomes both feasible and desirable. If the sector is faced with a simple problem concerning the skilled use of technology, then it makes sense to refine systematically the techniques through which technology is applied. However, if teaching and learning is seen as being more complex than the application of technology, this approach becomes problematic. We cannot draw reliable, transferable conclusions about practice if our model of that practice is incomplete, ambiguous and provisional. […] Thus, unless we are willing to conceive of e-learning, or any other aspect of education, as being a standardised treatment that is applied to students (a view educational evaluators rejected over 30 years ago […] and which is equally denigrated by educational and social researchers […]), the uncritical adoption of evidence-based practice, as outlined above, cannot be justified.(Oliver, 2003: 392-3)
  19. 19. • ―Learning as a weapon system‖• Cognitive science provides the terms needed to understand the human user as a specifically computational component ‗‗interposed‘‘ between a computer systems‘ input and out- put devices. Texts in e-learning, and in educational technology before it, invoke the discourse of the ‗‗dyadic‘‘ and ―symbiotic‘‘ relationship of learner and computer in a manner remarkably reminiscent of language used by military researchers and historians.(Friesen, 2010: 75-6)
  20. 20. • The metaphors and the discourse of the Cold War-closed world are not difficult to recognize in the ADL‘s and others‘ descriptions of ‗‗total‘‘ scientific, technological solutions—solutions that, in effect, use the power of computers and networks to vanquish the ‗‗evils‘‘ of ignorance and inefficient learning. It is also not difficult to see how US military thinking or values—for example, its prioritization of technological and engineering approaches, its emphasis on ‗‗absolute‘‘ solutions to human problems—are articulated as a kind of technical code in the standards and systems of SCORM and ADL. Not only do these standards and systems involve total, technical solutions to complex problems though high-tech command and control, but also include the extension of these solutions globally, ideally to all educational sectors.(Friesen, 2010: 79)
  21. 21. • The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. […] Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with blended learning should not be attributed to the media, per se.(US Department of Education, 2010)
  22. 22. CAUSALITY?
  23. 23. SOFT DETERMINISM
  24. 24. • Education is on the brink of being transformed through technology; however, it has been on that brink for some decades now.• (Laurillard, 2008)
  25. 25. • Bimber […] draws distinctions between nomological accounts, providing ―descriptions of an inevitable technological order based on laws of nature‖ (p81); normative accounts, in which technology is unquestioned because questions about efficiency and productivity replace political and ethical questions about use; and the unintended consequences account, which recognises willful, ethical and social actors but suggests they are simply unable to anticipate all of technology‘s effects.(Oliver, 2011)
  26. 26. • Hammond & Trapp (1992): CAL as a trojan horse for educational change• Soloway (1997) – ―Trojan Mouse‖• E-learning is often talked about as a ―trojan mouse‖, which teachers let into their practice without realizing that it will require them to rethink not just how they use particular hardware or software, but all of what they do.(Sharpe and Oliver, 2007: p.49)
  27. 27. • Post-Gibson Affordances: conceptually, ‗travelled‘ via Human- Computer Interaction• ―The term affordance refers to the perceived and actual properties of the thing, primarily those fundamental properties that determine just how the thing could possibly be used‖ (Norman, 1988, p. 9) • Later regretted ‗real‘ and ‗perceived‘ affordances• A struggle to fend off cultural influences on design in favour of ‗natural‘ features but (arguably) technology as communication
  28. 28. • We are interested in asking questions about what uses ICT invites and facilitates, what it lends itself to and what it can do well. A potential difficulty with using a term so popular in the field of design is that ‗use‘ tends to be focused on how something ‗should‘ be used, what it is designed for. Discussion about affordance can be limited to the intended, prescribed or designed function of technology. We are also interested in exploring the creative and innovative way people respond to technologies and perhaps adapt them for use in unforeseen circumstances. An affordance of the technology does not simply refer to the intended use but also to the unintended consequences.(Conole & Dyke, 2004: 301)
  29. 29. • To use the words of educational technologist Rob Koper […] this research tends not to be ―theory-oriented,‖ but rather ―technology- oriented‖ in character. E-learning research, Koper (2007) explains, is not focused on ―predicting or understanding events [in] the world as it exists‖ (p. 356); it instead seeks to ―change the world as it exists‖ (p. 356; emphasis added). E-learning or technology-oriented research, in other words, attempts ―to develop new technological knowledge, methods, and artifacts‖ for practical ends or purposes (p. 356). It is this applied, practical, and technological research that Koper (2007) says is ideally suited to e-learning.(Friesen, 2009, p.7)
  30. 30. • To realize the fullest potential for online learning, our methods of research and development must be fundamentally changed, but additional changes are needed. First, we must shift from a position that views learning theory as something that stands apart from and above instructional practice to one that recognizes that learning theory is collaboratively shaped by educational researchers and practitioners in context. Educational technology is a design field, and thus, our paramount goal of research should be solving teaching, learning, and performance problems, and deriving design principles that can inform future decisions. Our goal should not be to develop esoteric theoretical knowledge that we expect practitioners to apply. This has not worked since the dawn of educational technology, and it won‘t work in the future.(Reeves, 2005: 304)
  31. 31. • A fundamental assumption of many learning scientists is that cognition is not a thing located within the individual thinker but is a process that is distributed across the knower, the environment in which knowing occurs, and the activity in which the learner participates. In other words, learning, cognition, knowing, and context are irreducibly co-constituted and cannot be treated as isolated entities or processes.(Barab & Squire, 2004: 1)
  32. 32. • A critical component of design-based research is that the design is conceived not just to meet local needs, but to advance a theoretical agenda, to uncover, explore, and confirm theoretical relationships. Although providing credible evidence for local gains as a result of a particular design may be necessary, it is not sufficient. Design-based research requires more than simply showing a particular design works but demands that the researcher (move beyond a particular design exemplar to) generate evidence-based claims about learning that address contemporary theoretical issues and further the theoretical knowledge of the field.(Barab & Squire, 2004: 5-6)
  33. 33. • Technology as something that embodies theory• Embodied theory as something that can cause learning (or at the least, shape it)• Associated with a moral obligation to undertake applied, instrumental research
  34. 34. SOFT DETERMINISM?
  35. 35. SOCIAL DETERMINISM
  36. 36. • Around each problem, several variants of solution can be identified (figure 10). In the case of the bicycle […] This way of describing the developmental process brings out clearly all kinds of conflicts: conflicting technical requirements by different social groups (for example, the speed requirement and the safety requirement); conflicting solutions to the same problem (for example, the safety low- wheelers and the safety ordinaries); and moral conflicts (for example, women wearing skirts or trousers on high wheelers; figure 12). Within this scheme, various solutions to these conflicts and problems are possible – not only technological ones but also judicial or even moral ones (for example, changing attitudes towards women wearing trousers).(Pinch & Bijker, 1987: 38-9)
  37. 37. • ―Configuring the user‖• The ‗black box‘ of the desktop PC‘s casing• Manuals, training, conventions – and different standards for those on the inside of the company• Not what the technology can do, but what users need to do to make the technology work as designers hoped(Grint & Woolgar, 1997)
  38. 38. • Collis et al’s 19 dimensions of flexibility, covering: • Time (starting, finishing, assessment, pace) • Content (topics, sequence, resources) • Entry requirements (prior knowledge, experience, qualifications) • Pedagogy (approach, social interaction, language, design) • Delivery logistics (schedule, location, interactions, communication, support)(Collis et al, 1997)
  39. 39. • The flexible student is not a spontaneous occurrence. Students (including full-time students) have been engineered to become more ‗flexible‘ as a result of policies, which have put more financial pressures on them to work in particular ways. It has also the created conditions under which the only way for many adults to access higher education is via ‗flexible‘ modes of delivery. In this sense, students are forced to become ‗flexible‘ and the flexibility to which they are supposed to conform is a particular pre-determined set of learning practices or process.(Clegg & Steel, 2002)
  40. 40. • Those with social advantage find it easier to take advantage of new opportunities; advantage can be perpetuated, not eroded, by introducing new forms of learning and teaching.(Holley & Oliver, 2010)
  41. 41. • ‗The university‘ is a highly heterogeneous institutional ensemble, which exists primarily in the heads of people who constituted it, and in a myriad of locally negotiated practices and interactions. This university, as an institution, often only appears to exist ‗virtually‘. The very notion of information, which sits at the root of the notion of a virtual university and its ability to abstract from the place – the specific, the parochial – contains within it a powerful incentive to formalise, to standardise, to make explicit, to make concrete.(Cornford, 2000)
  42. 42. • Once faculty and courses go online, administrators gain much greater direct control over faculty performance and course content than ever before and the potential for administrative scrutiny, supervision, regimentation, discipline and even censorship increase dramatically. At the same time, the use of the technology entails an inevitable extension of working time and an intensification of work […] It also allows the administration, which claims ownership of this commodity, to peddle the course elsewhere without the original designers involvement or even knowledge.(Noble, 1998)
  43. 43. • Too often instructional designers leave these important what-to- teach decisions to so-called subject-matter-experts (SMEs). Often a SME knows how to perform the task that is the goal of instruction but is unaware of the knowledge components that are required to acquire this knowledge and skill. A primary role of the instructional designer is to determine these granular knowledge components and their sequence.(Merrill, 2001, p293)
  44. 44. • It is hard to read such accounts without recalling the alarmist predictions of Noble (1997) in which academics are systematically marginalised in the interests of economic efficiency. Requiring academics to produce metadata becomes an interesting exercise of power. This might be interpreted as a beneficent act, empowering lecturers to describe their own practice without reliance on information specialists such as librarians. However, the way in which academics are allowed to describe their materials is telling: it must follow set rules and use a controlled vocabulary, which (by virtue of being ‗generic‘) cannot precisely reflect their practice.(Oliver, 2004)
  45. 45. • What this reveals is how the move to teaching online renders the role of the teacher both the same and different simultaneously. The purpose and strategic direction may remain unchanged, but the methods of achieving this alter in significant ways.(Price & Oliver, 2007: 24)
  46. 46. • Social shaping of technology • The engineering of values and practices • Sometimes, also their preservation• Does it explain everything?• What‘s social about being shot? (Grint & Woolgar, 1997) • Classification as a shooting, production of the tools (gun, bullet, etc), determination of cause of death, understanding of what death means, etc. • Does there remain an asocial core for the person being shot?
  47. 47. SOCIAL DETERMINISM?
  48. 48. MUTUAL DETERMINATION
  49. 49. • If you can, with a straight face, maintain that hitting a nail with and without a hammer, boiling water with and without a kettle [...] are exactly the same activities, that the introduction of these mundane implements change nothing important to the realisation of tasks, then you are ready to transmigrate to the Far Land of the Social and disappear from this lowly one.(Latour 2005: 71)
  50. 50. • Humans, and what they take to be their learning and social process, do not float, distinct, in container-like contexts of education, such a classrooms or community sits, that can be conceptualised and dismissed as simply a wash of material stuff and spaces. The things that assemble these contexts, and incidentally the actions and bodies including human ones that are part of these assemblages, are continuously acting upon each other to bring forth and distribute, as well as to obscure and deny, knowledge.(Fenwick et al 2011)
  51. 51. • Third-generation cultural-historical activity theory• Expansive learning(Engestrom, 2001)
  52. 52. Tool Subject Object Outcome Rules Community Division of Labour52
  53. 53. Tool ToolSubject Object O1 O2 Object SubjectRules Community Division Division Community Rules of of Labour Labour (Engestrom, 2001) “Object 3” 53
  54. 54. • Participation: ‗complex process that combines doing, talking, thinking, feeling, and belonging. It involves our whole person including our bodies, minds, emotions, and social relations‘ (p56)• Reification: ‗giving form to our experience by producing objects that congeal this experience into thingness‘ (p58)(Wenger, 1998)• From a theoretical point of view to talk about artifacts in terms of reification is precisely viewing the artifact not just as a physical object but as a process of attributing meaning through time and through space. If an artifact travels across boundaries from one community to another, the process of reification by which it becomes part of a practice changes substantially across those boundaries.(Wenger, in Binder, 1996: 101)
  55. 55. • What we have learned is that even if no totalizing approach makes sense, the tensions in the industrial system can be grasped from ‗within‘, by individuals immediately engaged in technically mediated activities and able to actualize ambivalent potentialities suppressed by the prevailing technological rationality. I call this ‗democratic rationalization‘. It starts out from the consequences of technology itself, from the ways in which it mobilizes the population around technological mediations. In the new technical politics, the social groups so constituted turn back reflexively on the framework that defines and organizes them: ‗we‘ as patients, users of a domestic computer system, participants in a division of labor, neighbors of a polluting plant, are the actors. It is this sort of agency that holds the promise of a democritization of technology. Technical politics foreshadows a world in which technology, as a kind of ‗legislation‘ affecting every aspect of our lives, will emerge from these new types of public consultation.(Feenberg, 1999: 105)
  56. 56. • A politics-of-what explores the differences, not between doctors and patients, but between various enactments of a particular disease. This books has tried to argue that different enactments of a disease entail different ontologies. They each do the body differently. But they also come with different ways of doing the good. […] These questions are not answered here. Investigating the body multiple merely helps to open them up. […] Like ontology, the good is inevitably multiple: there is more than one of it.• (Mol, 2002)
  57. 57. • Historically situated accounts; particular and specific• In some cases, also explicitly inconsistent …but what can we then say about anything?
  58. 58. MUTUALLY DETERMINING?
  59. 59. RESEARCHING TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNINGANYWAY
  60. 60. • Digital Literacies as a Postgraduate Attribute?• JISC Developing Digital Literacies Programme• http://diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org/• Institute of Education, University of London• iGraduate / Focus groups / multimodal journalling in year 1• Case studies across four areas in year 2: • Academic Writing Centre • Learning Technologies Unit • Library • Institution-wide
  61. 61. • Yuki‘s journal• Japanese, female in her 40s, MA student• ‗I think I was not – how can I say? – like… I wasn‘t interested in the kind of things girls like: dolls and some kind of pretty things. Instead I was interested in computer and camera and the cars, everything boys tended to like. That is because, that is why I was interested, I became interested in the technology, and for the practical use‘• What kinds of conception is she invoking?
  62. 62. • Faith: a digitally illiterate teacher?• ‗This technology thing can occupy most of your lesson planning because back then we only had black boards and all the kids had their own text book, and just do everything from the board. Now, it has changed the way that I teach as well because I need to apply a lot of software and use the ICT into my lesson as well, yes, and I think that‘s going to be an essential thing in the future, especially I think the government here are trying to promote that as well. Also all the kids are very computer literate, so they know all the things about but as a teacher you don‘t really know it. Kids can teach you in the beginning but then later on they probably will think if we can do it, how come you can‘t do it.‘• Again, what are her ways of framing this?
  63. 63. • Sally: it‘s out to get me…• The only thing I struggle with, like I just mentioned it earlier before, is the issue of like keeping your private life separate from your work life because I think increasingly the two, youre being forced to kind of mush the two together. Because like [college name] used to have its own email server and it would provide you with an email. Now it‘s provided by Gmail and it‘s like everybody knows that Gmail is the nosiest thing in the world and tracks absolutely everything you do. And […] Im a little bit uncomfortable with the idea that my work email knows what shopping I do and, you know what I mean? I just find the whole thing is starting to get a little bit scary.• Again, what conceptions here? And why?
  64. 64. • Yuki‘s library • Materiality, ephemerality, digitisation, inscription, mobilit y • ‗Curation‘ of multimodal texts… for example when I attend a lecture or a session I alwaysrecord the session, and it‘s after the session, but sometimes Ilisten to the lecture again to confirm my knowledge or reflectthe session...when I, for example we‘re writing an essay and Ihave to...confirm what the lecturer said, I could confirm withthe recording data.
  65. 65. • Yuki‘s books• Remaking contexts of study
  66. 66. • ―The bathroom is a good place to read‖
  67. 67. • What does it take for our students to learn, with technology? • What assemblages of people, things, technologies etc do they create, and why? • Do they feel that they can use technology to do what they need? • Is technology associated with new struggles?• What should we learn from this, if we want to understand or even intervene in learning?
  68. 68. • Project claims: • Academic practices are overwhelming textual • These are situated in social and disciplinary contexts • Textual practices are increasingly digitally mediated • These practices take place across a range of domains • Students create complex assemblages enrolling a range of digital, material, spatial and temporal resources.
  69. 69. …AND IS THIS USEFUL?
  70. 70. • A new IT Strategy was proposed • Staff response was mixed • A response was generated • Changes were made to committee structures• What was the role of the project in this?• How did we effect particular changes?
  71. 71. • The point of departure: the review document as stable network• ―The report […] pulls together the outcomes of stakeholder and […] staff meetings. The proposed programme of change has also been informed by discussions with third party organisations and advice from the UCISA IT Directors group.‖ • Problematization: the author as obligatory passage point, framing the problem and people • Staff, students, consultants, external experts enrolled• What happens when enrolled actors ‗rebel‘?
  72. 72. • Staff expressed concerns, de-stabilising the network • Technical staff and academic staff • Questions about some of the evidence, implications and recommendations• ―Un-enrolling‖: re-problematizing the situation • Specifically, who had been consulted, and how their views shaped the report? (Had this been productive interessement? Was it something else?)
  73. 73. • Competing problematizations • Old framing challenged • A new framing emerged: problem raised with a senior member of staff, with responsibility for aspects of learning and teaching strategy; no longer about the systems per se but their fitness for a wider purpose• Competing translations • Old framing: people as spoken for, on the basis of expert experience • New framing: people need to go on speaking, since their needs develop as situations change
  74. 74. • Competing interessement • ―Service users‖ as recipients of a better service (with ‗better‘ appearing to be defined by experts) • ―Service users‖ as determinants of what counts as a better service (to then be implemented by experts) – power of strategic decision-making moved from within the service to a joint responsibility with actors outside• Competing enrolment • ―stakeholder and […] staff meetings‖ • Project research and consultation by the SU
  75. 75. WHO WAS ENROLLED AND HOW? • Successful stabilisation required enrolment of students • Our project formed part of this process • Student experience(s) inscribed and mobilised in different ways • Analysis of institutional survey data, with a specific focus on experiences of technology • Students already enrolled in this process • Students translated as sources of evidence • Evidence translated into survey responses (inscription) • Survey responses translated into a report identifying issues (further inscription) • Survey report mobilised through comparison with strategy document that identified inconsistencies
  76. 76. • A series of focus groups with students • Students translated to represent areas of teaching (PGCE, taught masters, distance masters, PhD) • Invited to shared experiences in return for vouchers (interessement) • Experiences shared and recorded, then transcribed (inscription) • Transcripts analysed to produce report (further inscription), including recommendations – in particular, that student needs were not homogenous but diverse• Students therefore enrolled behind recommendations, with project team as obligatory passage point, and mobilized via report that could be circulated
  77. 77. • What did the new problematization look like? • An undermining of the old problematization by reframing the situation (from: is the service like others, to: is it fit for purpose for our users?) • A way of framing the specific report as historical, to focus on ongoing interessement via systematic consultation: the establishment of a User Group in the committee structure, to include representation from the four groups of students we worked with• What did the project achieve? • A shift of power: mobilizing students in support of the new problematization, rather than the old
  78. 78. CONCLUSIONS
  79. 79. • The many metaphors relating technology and learning • Driver • Residue, or even ossification of practice • Tsunami • Reification • Closed circuit • Technical code/legislation • Distributed system • Network (which could be • Envelope or space heterogeneous) • Market • Generation of multiple realities• Which, if any, help us? How? And with what limits?
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