Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘bourdieu and technology’

How does the Digital Dimension of Cultural Capital influence student achievement?

Maria Paino and Linda A. Renzulli (2012)  Digital Dimension of Cultural Capital: The (In)Visible Advantages for Students Who Exhibit Computer Skills, Sociology of Education 2013 86: 124 

In this article we draw on insights from the study of information technology and teacher expectations to examine how computer usage may influence student achievement both directly and indirectly. Specifically, we suggest that Bourdieu’s theoretically robust idea of cultural capital may include a digital dimension. Computer proficiency may influence academic achievement directly because of the skills it develops, but it may also influence achievement indirectly through teachers’ evaluation. We explore the following questions: How does computer proficiency affect academic achievement? How does computer proficiency affect teachers’ evaluations of students? And finally, to what extent do teachers’ evaluations mediate the relationship between computer proficiency and academic achievement?

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What are parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home? Habitus and social class.

S. Hollingworth, A. Mansaray, K. Allen, A. Rose, (2011) “Parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home: social class and the role of the habitus”, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 347–360, August 2011

Sociologists of education highlight that parent’s ability to engage with their children’s education and learning is not a straightforward issue. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, this paper attempts to open up a space for examination of the differential experiences of parents from different social class backgrounds, of technology in the home, and how this informs the potential they see for family learning using technology. We use Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘cultural and economic capital’ and ‘habitus’ to explore several themes. Firstly, the paper explores the impact of material inequalities of access on families and how this structures parental engagement with technology in relation to their children’s schooling; secondly, how the harms and risks of technology are differentially experienced, negotiated and managed by parents from different social class backgrounds – with varying amounts of social and cultural resources available to them; thirdly, through discussion of the ‘generation gap’, we examine the significance of the parents’ working lives (in terms of the privileged forms of engagement with technology, which professional employment increasingly requires and facilitates) in shaping parents’ own relationships to education and learning.

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How are learners’ ICT literacy skills influenced by their economic, social and cultural capital?

Tiffani Cameron, Sue Bennett & Shirley Agostinho (2011) ICT literacy and the second digital divide: Understanding students’ experiences with technology, AACE, Edmedia 2011

This work in progress paper reports on a doctoral research study investigating the ICT literacy skills of contemporary learners across primary and high school settings, in order to understand the influence of their economic, social and cultural capital to explain their relationship with and use of ICTs. Data collection will comprise a background questionnaire, an ICT proficiency test followed by semi structured interviews and series of in-class activities that will focus on exploring students’ technology use and background. This paper is structured as follows: firstly a review of the related research is presented to describe the context for the study; the research design for the study is then explained, followed by a brief discussion of the studies significance and expected outcomes.

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How is the explosion of online social media a new opportunity to measure social capital?

Matthew S. Smith (2011) A Computational Framework for Social Capital in Online Communities, A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Brigham Young University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The explosion of online social media means that it is now possible to collect rich data about people’s connections and interactions, in a completely ubiquitous, non-intrusive manner. Such dynamic social data opens the door to the more accurate measuring and tracking of social capital. Similarly, online data is replete with additional personal data, such as topics discussed in blogs or hobbies listed in personal profiles, that is difficult to obtain through standard surveys. Such information can be used to discover similarities, or implicit affinities, among individuals, which in turn leads to finer measures of social capital, including the often useful distinction between bonding and bridging social capital.

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How can information literacy impact social capital?

Stuart Ferguson (2010) Social capital, lifelong learning, information literacy and the role of libraries, ANZCA Conference

The role of libraries in lifelong learning is examined, with specific reference to information literacy. The paper discusses the concept of social capital and the significance of lifelong learning to theories of social capital, which address issues of democratic health and civic participation, as distinct from economic issues such as the need to reskill the workforce. It argues that information literacy is a strong component of the learning process and that, if lifelong learning is to be fostered, so too must information literacy, which is part of the mission of many libraries, especially in the educational sector. The paper examines some of the most relevant issues facing libraries, such as the increasing reliance of many clients on Google, the relative lack of information literacy skills, even among younger clients with strong digital literacies, and the uptake of Web 2.0 for information literacy instruction. It concludes with a discussion of areas of research, such as evaluation of information literacy programs and questions about the transferability of information literacy skills from one context to another.

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How can Bourdieu’s concepts help overcome the binary division of technology and society?

Jonathan Sterne (2003) Bourdieu, Technique and Technology, Cultural Studies 17(3/4) 2003, 367–389

This paper examines the place of technology in Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory, and argues for the relevance of Bourdieu’s thought to the study of technology. In moving from an examination of the status of technology in Bourdieu’s work through to his broad approach to social practice and his widely cited concept of habitus, it is argued that technologies are crystallizations of socially organized action. As such, they should be considered not as exceptional or special phenomena in a social theory, but rather as very much like other kinds of social practices that recur over time. Ultimately, through the use of Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field, and capital, we are able to overcome the binary divisions such as technology/society and subject/object that have plagued technology studies.

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How does IT support Social Capital?

Huysman, M.; Wulf, V. (2004): Social Capital and Information Technology, MIT-Press, Cambridge, MA 2004, pp. 1- 16

The growth in attention in networks within and between organizations makes research into the relationship between IT and Social Capital even more important. Since social capital is about connected people, the question needs to be posed if and how social capital is influenced when these connections are supported by IT. Referring to the development of IT, one has to ask how to design specific functionality to support social capital and how to set up a design processes appropriately. Research is also needed into the other direction of the relationship, namely into the question whether and to what extent social capital is needed in order to develop, to customize and to appropriate IT?

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How can Social Capital inform the actual and potential use of IT?

Marleen Huysman, Volker Wulf (2005) The role of Information Technology in building and sustaining the relational base of communities, The Information Society (TIS), Vol. 21, No. 2, 2005, pp. 81 – 89

One of the most important potential fallacies of the debate on IT enabled communities, is the over-enthusiasm towards technological possibilities. The trap lurks particularly in the assumption that IT can positively support and improve knowledge sharing while ignoring the social conditions that trigger or hinder people to share knowledge. As many scholars have already argued, the tendency to perceive IT as independent from the social environment of which it is part, has caused disappointing acceptance rates (e.g. Ciborra 1996, McDermott 1999). It is not the technology itself but the way people use it that influence whether or not and how IT will be used. Moreover, in case of communities of practice, it is not the technology itself that enables connecting people, it is the motivation for people to relate to each other (Lesser 2000). We postulated that social capital analysis of communities informs us better about the actual and potential use of IT. Based on theory we proposed that the higher the level of social capital, the more members are stimulated to connect and share knowledge. This implies that communities with high social capital will be more inclined to use – or continue using – ICT to share knowledge than in case of low social capital.

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What is modern about technology?

Thomas J Misa (2003) The Compelling Tangle of Modernity and Technology, Publisher: MIT Press, Modernity and technology (2003) Pages: 1-30

The goals of this volume are: 1. To examine modernist icons such as clocks, railways and airports in the light of social theory 2. To understand technology as an embodiments of human needs and desires, the interactions of networks and systems. Modernity is charactarized following Weber by rationalization and following Marx, by concious change. Airports are brought as examplary complexes embodying modernity and technology. Modernity is bound with technology and every human experience in the modern world is mediated by technology.As much as we may desire to escape this nexus, we must confront it as humans and scholars and this is the task of this volume. What is the relation between modernity and technology? Proposal 1: The concepts “technology and “modeniry” have a complex and tengled history. So what is modern? In popular use it means the latest and necessarily the best, phase of an ongoing parade towards a better future. It is indeed bound with the idea of progress. This tie between modern technology and social progress was central to early 20th century thinkers. Modernist artists, influenced by American technology and managerial models, emphasized too, regularity, order and rationality. More recent recent traced the origins of the modern world to earlier revolutions, such as the sientific or industrial ones, or even to economic changes in the late middle ages. Others pointed to enlightenment as the touchstone of modernity due to its concern with rationality and social progress. To conclude, modernity as a multifaceted process is very hard to capture and define.It is the same with technology. The meanings of the term changed over time, assuming their contemporary meaning only after the mid 19th century. Proposal 2: Technology may be the truely distinctive feature of modernity There is a gap between social theories and empirical studies od technology, which this volume tries to bridge. Social theorists have described modern society as subjegated to technology, which was usually presented abstracly, without any reference to the messy, disorganized way by which problem solving technolgies are born and diffused. Technology in this writing is a unitary totalizing entity which is usually contrasted with “traditional” concepts such as the “self”, “lifeworld” etc.

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How can the diffusion of ICT in Schools be better Understood Using the Concept of Social Capital?

Kenneth A Frank, Yong Zhao, Kathryn Borman (2004) Social Capital and the Diffusion of Innovations Within Organizations: The Case of Computer Technology in Schools, Sociology of Education Volume: 77, Issue: 2, Publisher: American Sociological Association, Pages: 148-171

Although the educational community has learned much about better educational practices, less is known about processes for implementing new practices. The standard model of diffusion suggests that people change perceptions about the value of an innovation through communication, and these perceptions then drive implementation. But implementation can be affected by more instrumental forces. In particular, members of a school share the common fate of the organization and affiliate with the common social system of the organization. Thus, they are more able to gain access to each others’ expertise informally and are more likely to respond to social pressure to implement an innovation, regardless of their own perceptions of the value of the innovation. This article characterizes informal access to expertise and responses to social pressure as manifestations of social capital. Using longitudinal and network data in a study of the implementation of computer technology in six schools, the authors found that the effects of perceived social pressure and access to expertise through help and talk were at least as important as the effects of traditional constructs. By implication, change agents should attend to local social capital processes that are related to the implementation of educational innovations or reforms.

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How can the symbolic power of ICT be negotiated?

S Rye (2009) Negotiating the symbolic power of information and communication technologies: The spread of Interent-supported distance education, Information Technology for Development (2009) Volume: 15, Issue: 1, Pages: 17-31

The Internet may be, as typically suggested, important in distance education for facilitating connections between groups of students, educational institutions, and external learning resources. This article, however, reveals why this is not the only reason for applying information and communication technologies (ICT) in higher education in a remote area in a developing country. In addition, the Internet seems to be of great importance in symbolizing modernization and progress, thereby adding symbolic power to such education. Empirical sources originate from an explorative case study of an Internet-supported distance education program in the province of Bangka Belitung in Indonesia. Based on a translation perspective on the spread of pheromones, the analyses of empirical sources show how the Internet has contributed to the spread of distance education, but paradoxically this has not had much effect on the use of Internet by students in peripheral areas, at least not in the short term.

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What can Social Capital and ICT do for Inclusion?

Dieter Zinnbauer (2007) What can Social Capital and ICT do for Inclusion? Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

Social capital facilitates learning and the acquisition of skills. Learning is a social process and social networks and communities of practices are indispensable spaces for informal learning, providing opportunities for individuals to seek advice, discuss ideas and upgrade their work-related and other skills. A social capital approach aligns itself very closely with the European eInclusion agenda, which aims not only to combat social exclusion in its various dimensions with the help of ICT but also seeks to prevent new generations of ICT from generating new socio-economic disparities.

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How is ICT changing the field of education?

Alison Hudson (2009) New Professionals and New Technologies in New Higher Education? Conceptualising struggles in the field, Umeå University, Department of Interactive Media and Learning (IML)

This thesis explores the practices and positionings of two groupings of professionals in UK higher education, ‘educational developers’ and ‘learning technologists’. It investigates the emergence of the groupings, and their professional paths and respective approaches to supporting teaching and learning. It also explores the use of information and communication technology within what is seen as a changing university context. These two ‘new’ professional groupings are most associated with a shift of focus in universities from teaching towards learning, heightened emphasis on the quality of teaching and learning, the increased impact of learning technologies on practice, organisational transformation, and increased numbers of students attending universities, i.e. massification of higher education world-wide. Thus, equivalent exemplars and variations can also be found throughout Europe and in other international settings. The social structure and practices that govern the two groupings have been analysed by means of a wide range of theories, concepts and methods which include Bourdieu’s (1988) concepts of habitus, field, position and capital, Boyer’s (1990) ideas about new scholarship, Palmer’s (1998) conceptualisation of the university teacher and Clark’s (2003) identification of the entrepreneurial university. The work of others, in particular Schön (1967) and Ball (2003), also provides an insight into the powerful relationship between technology, society, education and change.

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Does ICT contribute to powerful learning environments in primary education?

Smeets, E. (2005)  Does ICT contribute to powerful learning environments in primary education? Computers & Education  Volume: 44, Issue: 3, Pages: 343-355

In powerful learning environments, rich contexts and authentic tasks are presented to pupils. Active, autonomous and co-operative learning is stimulated, and the curriculum is adapted to the needs and capabilities of individual pupils. In this study, the characteristics of learning environments and the contribution of ICT to learning environments were investigated. A questionnaire was completed by 331 teachers in the highest grade of primary education. Results show that many teachers apply several elements of powerful learning environments in their classes. This especially goes for the presentation of authentic tasks and the fostering of active and autonomous learning. However, the methods employed by teachers to adapt education to the needs and abilities of individual pupils proved quite limited. The use of ICT in general merely showed characteristics of traditional approaches to learning. Chances of using open-ended ICT applications, which are expected to contribute to the power of learning environments, were greater with teachers who created powerful learning environments for their pupils, and when there were more computers available to pupils. In addition, teachers’ views with regard to the contribution of ICT to active and autonomous learning, teachers’ skills in using ICT, and the teacher’s gender appeared to be relevant background variables in this respect.

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What do pianos tell us about computers and cultural capital?

Seiter, E. (2008). Practicing at Home: Computers, Pianos, and Cultural Capital. Digital youth innovation and the unexpected (pp. 27-52). The MIT Press.

Bourdieu focused attention on the role of education and the influence of status distinctions on the selection and valorization of particular forms of cultural capital. Although Bourdieu did not write about digital media, he was a keen observer of status distinctions in education and how these translate into job markets. Through an extended analogy between learning the piano and learning the computer, I demonstrate Bourdieu’s relevance for an expanded vision of digital literacy one that would forefront the material and social inequalities in U.S. domestic Internet access and in public education. High Tech High School, supported by the Gates Foundation, provides a case of why it is important to examine current digital pedagogy in terms of unarticulated and implicit models of entrepreneurial labor, both because these set up unrealistic expectations and because they can express corporate norms rather than critical pedagogy.

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Are structures located in organizations and technology or enacted by the users?

Orlikowski, W. J. (2000). Using Technology and Constituting Structures: A Practice Lens for Studying Technology in Organizations. Organization Science,11(4), 404-428.

As both technologies and organizations undergo dramatic changes in form and function, organizational researchers are increasingly turning to concepts of innovation, emergence, and improvisation to help explain the new ways of organizing and using technology evident in practice. With a similar intent, I propose an extension to the structurational perspective on technology that develops a practice lens to examine how people, as they interact with a technology in their ongoing practices, enact structures which shape their emergent and situated use of that technology. Viewing the use of technology as a process of enactment enables a deeper understanding of the constitutive role of social practices in the ongoing use and change of technologies in the workplace. After developing this lens, I offer an example of its use in research, and then suggest some implications for the study of technology in organizations.

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