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Affirming emergent practices in educational technology: the politics of usage

conference contribution
posted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Julianne LynchJulianne Lynch
Drawing on de Certeau's characterisation of everyday practice as reuse, this paper focuses on the micropolitics of mobile touch-screen devices (MTSD) usage, and how emergent practices - appropriations and (re)deployments - interface with institutionalised notions of learning. The recontextualisation of technological artefacts into formal education settings can (and often does) result in a 'domestication' or 'schooling' of technology, bringing with it familiar power relations and patterns of success. However, the indeterminacy of technology allows for potentially subversive practices, for surreptitious appropriation and re-deployment of devices, processes and texts, and for 'counterplay' that challenges the ways that schooling is traditionally done. This paper discusses three examples of MTSD usage that highlight the productive role of users as creators of their own contexts for learning. The examples include young children's home usage of iPads, an early year teacher's use of iPads in her classroom, and a young child's account of his use of an iPad app at school. The paper is framed by a discussion of the possibilities opened up by practice-based approaches (such as that of de Certeau) for change-oriented research that seeks to affirm emergent and/or marginalised practices; to trouble tacit assumptions about schooling; and, to understand the relation between everyday practices and the institutionalised ground that they transform.



The Australian Association for Research in Education and the New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Joint Conference (2014: Brisbane, Qld.)




Brisbane, Qld.

Place of publication

Deakin, A.C.T.

Start date


End date





Reviewed abstract. This paper was subsequently published as a book chapter in Bulfin, Johnson & Bigum (eds), 2015, 'Critical perspectives on technology and education'. Palgrave MacMillan.

Publication classification

E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

Copyright notice

2014, AARE

Title of proceedings

AARE 2014: Joint Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education and the New Zealand Association for Research in Education: Speaking back through research