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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Interactive Education: Teaching and Learning in the Information Age

Grant reference: L139251060

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Conference paper/presentation details

TLRP: Affordances and the pedagogical implications of ICT
In recent years the emergence of new digital technologies has offered up the possibility of extending and deepening classroom learning in ways hitherto unimagined. Much of this optimism is predicated on the idea that digital tools will extend children’s capabilities as their affordances are used to transform learning outcomes. However, we need to be cautious when we speak of the affordances of new technologies and even more cautious about assuming that a given medium or technology will automatically afford particular learning outcomes. In reality, learning is always distributed in some form between the technology, the learner and the context and there is nothing inherent in technology that automatically guarantees learning. This introductory paper considers an elaborated concept of affordance that emerged from the ESRC’s InterActive Education project. It can help researchers and teachers to begin to understand the learning potential of a new technology. This learning potential will emerge in the classroom as a complex interrelationship of the designer’s and teacher’s intentions, the teacher and students’ perceptions and constructions of how the technology can be used, and the cultural context into which the new technology has been placed (including the subject domain and its culture). Teachers bring a much needed perspective to the process of understanding this complexity. But more importantly we suggest that unless teachers are offered theoretical tools to support their use of ICT in the classroom, they are unlikely to develop approaches to teaching and learning which harness the potential of ICT for enhancing learning.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author P John

Additional details