Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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’.

Keywords

Activity theory Interactive whiteboards Teachers Technological determinism Transformation 

References

  1. Apple, M. (1992). Is the new technology part of the solution or part of the problem in education? In J. Beynon & H. Mackay (Eds.), Technological literacy and the curriculum (pp. 105–124). London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  2. Apple, M. W., & Jungck, S (1992). You don’t have to be a teacher to teach this unit: Teaching, technology and control in the classroom. In A. Hargreaves & M. G. Fullan (Eds.), Understanding teacher development (pp. 20–42). London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  3. Baron, G. L., & Harrari, M. (2005). ICT in French primary education, twenty years later: Infusion or transformation. Education and Information Technologies, 10(3), 147–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becta (2001). Joining up local government: The role of education in the local authority ICT strategy. Coventry: Becta.Google Scholar
  5. Beynon, J., & Mackay, H. (Eds.) (1992). Technological literacy and the curriculum. London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  6. Beynon, J., & Mackay, H., (Eds.) (1993). Computers into classrooms: More questions than answers. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bromley, H. (1997). The social chicken and the technological egg: Educational computing and the technology society divide. Educational Theory, 47(1), 51–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bromley, H., & Apple, M. W. (Eds.) (1998). Education/technology/power: Educational computing as a social practice. Frontiers in Education. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  9. Castells, M. (2001). Information technology and global capitalism. In W. Hutton & A. Giddens (Eds.), On the edge: Living with global capitalism (pp. 52–74). London: Vintage.Google Scholar
  10. Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in classrooms. Retrieved April 26, 2003 from http://www.hup.harvard.edu/pdf/CUBOVE.pdf.
  11. Davydov, V. V. (1999). The content and unsolved problems of activity theory. In Y. Engeström, R. Miettinen, & R.-L. Punamäki (Eds.), Perspectives on activity theory (pp. 39–52). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. DfEE (1998). Circular 4/98 ‘Teaching: High status, high standards’. London: DfEE.Google Scholar
  13. DfES (2002). Transforming the way we learn: A vision for the future of ICT in schools. London: DfES.Google Scholar
  14. DfES (2003). Fulfilling the potential: Transforming teaching and learning through ICT in schools. London: DfES.Google Scholar
  15. DfES (2005). Harnessing the potential: Transforming learning and children’s services. London: DfES.Google Scholar
  16. Engeström, Y. (1999). Activity theory and individual and social transformation. In Y. Engeström, R. Miettinen, & R.-L. Punamäki (Eds.), Perspectives on activity theory (pp. 19–38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Engeström, Y., Engeström, R., & Suntio, A. (2002). Can a school community learn to master its own future? An activity–theoretical study of expansive learning among middle school teachers. In G. Wells & G. Claxton (Eds.), Learning for life in the 21st century: Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education (pp. 211–224). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  18. Esteve, J. M. (2000). The transformation of the teachers’ role at the end of the twentieth century: New challenges for the future. Educational Review, 52(2), 197–207.Google Scholar
  19. Garson, G. D. (2000). Social dimensions of information technology: Issues for the new millennium. Hershey, Pennsylvania: Idea Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  20. Gleick, J. (1999). Faster: The acceleration of just about everything. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  21. Goodson, I. F. E. (1991). Curriculum and context in the use of computers for classroom learning. Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Dept. of Education.Google Scholar
  22. Goodson, I. F., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C., & Mangan, J. M. (2002). Cyber spaces/social spaces: Culture clash in computerized classrooms. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Greiffenhagen, C. (2002). Out of the office and into the school: Interactive whiteboards for education. Oxford: University of Oxford Programming Research Group.Google Scholar
  24. Hargreaves, A. (1994). Changing teachers, changing times: Teachers’ work and culture in the postmodern age. London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  25. Hargreaves, A. (2003a). Teaching in the knowledge society: Education in the age of insecurity. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hargreaves, D. (2003b). From improvement to transformation (Keynote lecture). International congress for schooling and school improvement: Schooling the knowledge society. Sydney, Australia.Google Scholar
  27. Harrison, C., Fisher, T., Haw, K., Lewin, C., Lunzer, E., Mavers, D., et al. (2002). ImpaCT2: The impact of information and communication technologies on pupils’ learning and attainment. Coventry: DfES/Becta.Google Scholar
  28. Held, D., & McGrew, A. (undated). The Polity global transformations text-site. Retrieved June 13, 2006 from http://www.polity.co.uk/global/summary.htm#conclusion.
  29. Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D., & Perraton, J. (1999). Global transformations: Politics, economics and culture. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  30. Kezar, A., & Eckel, P. (2002). Examining the institutional transformation process: The importance of sensemaking, interrelated strategies, and balance. Research in Higher Education, 43(3), 295–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kling, R. (1999). What is social informatics and why does it matter? D-Lib Magazine, 5(1).Google Scholar
  32. Kling, R. (2000). Learning about information technologies and social change: The contribution of social informatics. The Information Society, 16, 217–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2003). New literacies: Changing knowledge and classroom learning. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Lyon, D. (1991). The information society: Ideology or utopia? In H. Mackay, M. Young, & J. Beynon (Eds.), Understanding technology in education (pp. 93–108). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  35. Mackay, H., Young, M., & Beynon, J. (Eds.) (1991). Understanding technology in education. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  36. MacKenzie, D., & Wajcman, J. (Eds.) (1999). The social shaping of technology. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Martin, W. J. (1995). The global information society. Aldershot: Aslib Gower.Google Scholar
  38. Morrison, K. (2002). School leadership and complexity theory. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  39. Muffoletto, R. (2001). The need for critical theory and reflective practices in educational technology. In R. Muffoletto (Ed.), Educational technology: Critical and reflective practices (pp. 285–299). Cresskill, New Jersey: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  40. Muffoletto, R., & Knupfer, N. N. (Eds.) (1993). Computers in education. Media education culture technology. Cresskill, New Jersey: Hampton Press Inc.Google Scholar
  41. Olivero, F., Sutherland, R., & John, P. (2004). Seeing is believing: Using videopapers to transform teachers’ professional knowledge and practice. Cambridge Journal of Education, 34(2).Google Scholar
  42. Richardson, T. (2004). ICT in schools: Improving but a long way to go before the technology is really effectively used. CSCS Journal, 15(3), 20–27.Google Scholar
  43. Selwyn, N., Dawes, L., & Mercer, N. (2001). Promoting Mr. ‘Chips’: The construction of the teacher/computer relationship in educational advertising. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sloan, D., (Ed.) (1984). The computer in education: A critical perspective. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  45. Smith, H. J., Higgins, S., Wall, K., & Miller, J. (2005). Interactive whiteboards: Boon or bandwagon? A critical review of the literature. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(2), 91–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Somekh, B. (2001). Methodological issues in identifying and describing the way knowledge is constructed with and without information and communications technology. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 10(1 & 2), 157–178.Google Scholar
  47. Stones, E. (1992). Quality teaching: A sample of cases. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  48. Triggs, P., & John, P. (2004). From transaction to transformation: ICT, professional development and the formation of communities of practice. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(6), 426–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Valli, L., & Rennert-Ariev, P. (2002). New standards and assessments? Curriculum transformation in teacher education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 34(2), 201–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Watson, D. (1997). A dichotomy of purpose: The effect on teachers of government initiatives in information technology. In D. Passey & B. Samways (Eds.), Information technology: Supporting change through teacher education. London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  51. Webster, F., & Robins, K. (1991). The selling of the new technology. In H. Mackay, M. Young, & J. Beynon (Eds.), Understanding technology in education (pp. 66–92). London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  52. Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations