This article is a review of international research on the uptake and use of digital technologies in primary and secondary schools. The aim was to provide a credible and clear picture of current research, together with some well-informed suggestions as to how future research could develop. Two strategies were used: (1) identify themes within current research that indicate important lessons to be learned in relation to the uptake and use of digital technologies in primary and secondary schools, and (2) based on these lessons, identify which knowledge-gaps need to be closed and in the light of this suggest directions for further research. It is concluded that a rather complex and fragmented picture of the uptake and use of digital technologies emerges from the literature review. Three specific suggestions for research on the uptake and use of digital technologies in primary and secondary school are provided: (1) the outcomes of technology use in relation to different levels in the educational system, e.g. arenas of implementation and realization, (2) digital practices that are longitudinal and information-rich and that go beyond existing knowledge, and (3) initiatives for a renewal of theoretical and methodological approaches when designing and analyzing studies within the field.
This article aims to shed light on the processes by which student teachers change and shape their understanding of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) as a tool for learning. Two types of processes are investigated. One is the process by which student teachers gain a technical proficiency, i.e. how student teachers benefit from their technical skills in a school context. The other process is concerned with how student teachers are able to integrate or combine a technical proficiency with a broader view on how teaching and learning should be conducted. The research reviewed indicates that an isolated technical proficiency is not sufficient for providing new teaching opportunities, and there seems to be a gap between technical knowledge and knowledge on how to employ technology in a learning context. In this light, student teachers need to develop a view on ICT that goes beyond the mere technical aspects. The concepts “mastery” and “appropriation” from Wertsch (1998) are employed to structure the discussion. These two concepts from Wertsch can inform us about the way in which student teachers approach ICT as a tool for learning and can help characterize this approach.
This article draws attention to the basic reflections related to new technologies as they are presented in key policy documents in Norway. One of the primary aims is to throw light on some of the dilemmas associated with the pedagogical use of technological innovations. This applies not least to the substantial discrepancy between expectations and results that has also been shown internationally. The most important conclusion in the article is that the investment in new technologies seems to have been founded on misleading premises. The documents analysed are characterized by one-sided pupil and learning perspectives in which teachers and pedagogical craftsmanship have been sidelined. Pedagogical reflections have come to be replaced by diffuse political visions that have left the field almost wide open to the technological enthusiast. Computers have increasingly been perceived as a contribution to efficiency and simplification. The industrial society’s view of technology has thus been perpetuated. The prevailing descriptions have failed to assimilate the changed role of technology in our society. New technological solutions can help to simplify both teaching and learning but at the same time they lead to increased complexity. The latter point is not mentioned in the planning documents. The difficult, challenging and often contradictory factors are afforded no place. As a result, the plans have shortcomings and are incapable of meeting the challenges of the new school day.
In this paper we argue that the notion of design is conducive to analyzing and developing learning and teaching in technology rich environments. Our argument is inspired by Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). From a CHAT perspective we briefly discuss the term design, especially in connection with the advent of digital networks, increased complexity of learning environments, and Web 2.0 applications. We also draw on the German/Nordic concept of didactics as well as the Russian/Vygotskyan concept of obuchenie, often understood to possess the dialectical relationship between learning and teaching, in order to refine our notion of design. Finally, we discuss two empirical cases from our design perspective.
The articles in this special issue address different perspectives on the use of digital technologies in schools, and education more generally. Together these articles highlight the complexity that digital technologies have for teachers, teacher trainees, students and indeed researchers. To understand the role digital technology holds for education requires us to look at the range of pressures: to use technology; the ways in which technology can be used for learning and teaching activities; the impacts of and the potential for digital technologies; and importantly how the use of technologies fits within our understanding of what learning is and how it happens. In this commentary I wish to explore some of these complexities in more detail and suggest possible areas for further research and reflection.