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Information and Communication Technologies and the Culture of Schooling: Understanding Innovation and Designing Research for Radical Reform

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This article draws on research in England into the use of interactive whiteboards and other information and communication technologies in education. It uses socio-cultural theories to analyse the barriers and enablers to creative and transformative use of ICT in primary schools, secondary schools and young people’s homes. The contrasting practices observable in these three activity systems illuminate the power of these theories in understanding how social practices, including pedagogy, are enacted and sustained through established traditions and structures; and how ICT tools do not of themselves mediate transformation, but depend on the development of new social practices that make creative use of their affordances. The article suggests that the current ‘crisis’ in the education system in England has brought it to the tipping point for transformation. It calls on researchers to engage in a new kind of dialogue with policy makers and teachers, and to use the models and tools provided by socio-cultural theories to design research interventions to transform pedagogical practice in collaboration with teachers.

Keywords: culture of schooling; educational transformation; information and communication technologies; social practices; socio-cultural and activity theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • Information Technology, Education and Society is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal which focuses on major and current issues in information technology and their relation to education and society. It seeks original articles which analyse and explore sociological and educational issues relating to new and changing technologies.
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