Making It Your Own: Understanding Teachers’ Orientations to Technology in Practice
MetadataShow full item record
CitationBlum-Smith, Sarah. 2020. Making It Your Own: Understanding Teachers’ Orientations to Technology in Practice. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractToo often, teachers are not given meaningful opportunities to participate in discussions about the purposes of education and the interaction of purposes and practices, key conversations about the means and ends of teachers’ work (Ingersoll, 2003; Johnson, 1990). This problem has particular manifestation in the area of educational technology, where discussions about what to do and why are frequently dominated by actors other than teachers, such as administration or designers and producers of the technology itself (Bowers, 1988; Buckingham, 2007; Cuban, 2001). Consequently, the categories for understanding how teachers relate to educational technology have been largely binary: compliance with or resistance to the plans and visions of integration formulated by others. This project, based on qualitative interviewing with teachers about the terms in which they understood and thought about their own practice, intervenes in these conversations in two ways. The first is by offering an alternative framing to resistance/compliance as a way to talk about teachers and technology, that of teachers as both open and critical in their orientation to technology in classroom practice. This is an orientation to technology characterized by selective use of technological tools and practices in the service of teachers’ own sense of purpose for themselves, their students, and their classrooms. Secondly, rather than focusing on the perception of teacher resistance as the central problem in efforts at meaningful technology integration, I argue that we should be concerned with what some teachers described as the anxiety-provoking pressure to “keep up” with technology, an idea reflected in dominant discourse that positions technology as the driver of necessary educational change and equates lack of use with bad teaching. In considering the implications of this study I argue that the orientation of being both open and critical towards educational technology, while contrasting with dominant discourse, is resonant with existing research on how people (and teachers) learn and how meaningful educational change takes place.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364531