Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 11, Issue 3–4, pp 293–303 | Cite as

Educational transformation: Is it, like ‘beauty’, in the eye of the beholder, or will we know it when we see it?

  • Tony FisherEmail author


The word ‘transformation’ is frequently used in connection with modern educational change, particularly when such change involves new technologies and ‘education for the information society’. Closer examination reveals that ‘transformation’ as a descriptor of change is used in a number of ways. In this paper I argue that, though the term ‘transformation’ suggests fundamental changes to structures for learning and teaching, some of what we see is little more than the same thing done somewhat differently. The rhetoric around the role of ICT in the process frequently carries overtones of technological determinism, with agency being ascribed to the technology. Some of these issues are examined in relation to the introduction into schools of interactive whiteboards. Whilst the notion of transformation often carries positive overtones of change ‘for the better’, this implication is open to critical examination. I problematise the notion of transformation itself and draw on activity theory to offer a better understanding of what it may mean. This necessarily includes emphasis on the roles of teachers and researchers as social agents in the process of true ‘educational transformation’.


Activity theory Interactive whiteboards Teachers Technological determinism Transformation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Sciences Research InstituteUniversity of Nottingham School of EducationNottinghamUK

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