Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 205–217 | Cite as

What is an affordance and can it help us understand the use of ICT in education?

  • Michael Hammond


This paper revisits the concept of affordance and explores its contribution to an understanding of the use of ICT for teaching and learning. It looks at Gibson’s original idea of affordance and at some of the difficulties long associated with the use of the word. It goes on to describe the translation of the concept of affordance into the field of design through the work, in particular, of Norman. The concept has since been translated into research concerning ICT and further opportunities and difficulties emerge. The paper locates key points of divergence within the usage of ‘affordance’, as involving direct perception, invariant properties and complementarity. It concludes by arguing that affordance offers a distinctive perspective on the use of ICT in education because of its focus on possibilities for action.


Affordances Perception of ICT Ecological psychology Uses of ICT 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for New Technologies Research in EducationInstitute of Education University of WarwickCoventryUK

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