Purposing digital media for education: critically exploring values and expectations in applying digital media for children’s learning and development.
Authors: Wilkinson, P.
Conference: Bournemouth University, Faculty of Media and CommunicationAbstract:
This thesis explores the impact of expectations of technology on educational practices and the challenges in researching these impacts. Expec tations of technology are not universal, but there is a prevalent solutionist perspective that provides a simplistic account of technology. The critical issue that will be explored within this thesis is the way in which underlying ideological values inform constructions of what does, or does not, constitute legitimate educational practices with technology. Further, it will also highlight the impact of these constructions of legitimate practices on parents and educators. Overall, it will present an account o f technology in education that is influenced by powerful forces of legitimation that lead to presumptions of deficiency. This is a portfolio thesis that explores the role of technology in children’s learning and development across three research settings. To begin, in Mediating Family Play I investigate the perceived impact of digital technology on parents’ presumed role in cultivating developmentally appropriate forms of play. In Game Makers I discuss the production of digital games for social change as a constructionist pedagogy and the ways in which different systems of meaning intersect in the classroom. Finally, Digital Families explores the imbalanced influence of school-based educational practices on the home. In presenting this thesis I draw heavily on my professional experience through a reflective account of my research trajectory. In doing so I document and highlight the uncovering of these underlying critical issues, and the subsequent development of a reflexive, critical stance. In presenting the thesis in this way, along with the content covered, the contribution made is two-fold. First, it contributes to existing critical discussions of educational technology. Second, it presents a transparent account of researching educational technology in practice that will be of use for other early career researchers, or researchers and practitioners transitioning from technical backgrounds.