Victoria University

Using Digital Devices in Classroom Learning: A Complexity Theory Perspective

ResearchArchive/Manakin Repository

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Starkey, Louise
dc.contributor.advisor McRae, Hiria Daoud, Rana 2020-12-15T03:51:10Z 2020-12-15T03:51:10Z 2020 2020
dc.description.abstract Using digital devices in primary classrooms has become a common practice in many schools around the world. A considerable amount of research has explored this phenomenon. However, the majority of studies published in highly ranked educational technology journals have focused on the effectiveness of interventions related to using digital devices in primary classrooms and few studies examine students’ use of digital devices during learning which reflects a dominance of the reductionist approach in studying classroom environments. While there is rich literature addressing the outcomes of using devices, much is still unknown about the use itself. The present study aimed to understand how students use digital devices in classroom learning activities. It explored the ways of use, the factors that shaped these uses, and how the uses contributed to the purposes of learning activities. Approaches used to study phenomena in open recursive systems, such as classrooms, should be different from approaches used to study phenomena in closed systems under controlled conditions. Therefore, Complexity Theory provided a framework to understand the socio-materiality of digital devices in classrooms learning. In addition, Actor-Network Theory was used to study the phenomenon in action and Biesta’s (2009) framework of the functions of education to understand the contribution of the uses to educational purposes. This multiple case study was conducted in New Zealand within two schools where two teachers and seven upper-primary students participated in the study. Data were collected across six months through observations, semi-structured interviews, group interviews, informal conversations, student think-aloud interviews and artefacts from learning including video screen-captures. Data were coded and analysed using the thematic analysis and an abductive strategy. From a synthesis of the findings a ‘Using Devices for Classroom Learning’ model was developed in which seven patterns of use were identified. The children used their devices as a source of information, means of communication, production medium, external personal memory, collective memory coordinator, trial-and-error learning space, and as a research tool. Interconnected factors shaped these uses which were related to the educational system, school and classroom environment, teachers, students, and digital technologies. The findings showed how the seven uses contributed to the educational purposes of classroom learning which were classified into students’ qualifications, socialisation, and subjectification. However, some of these uses led to undesirable influence on students’ learning. This study provides theoretical and practical contributions to the field of using digital technologies in education. Complexity thinking, as a holistic approach, sheds light on blind spots of the educational process and acknowledges the complexity and uncertainty when using devices for learning in social complex systems such as classrooms. What emerges in classrooms does not result from separate factors but from a network of relationships and interactions of interconnected factors. The model developed provides an analysis tool for researchers and assists educators and policymakers to understand and anticipate the role of digital devices in classroom learning. en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Digital devices en_NZ
dc.subject Complexity Theory en_NZ
dc.subject Classroom learning en_NZ
dc.title Using Digital Devices in Classroom Learning: A Complexity Theory Perspective en_NZ
dc.type text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of Education en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ Education en_NZ Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ Doctoral en_NZ Doctor of Education en_NZ
dc.rights.license Author Retains Copyright en_NZ 2020-12-15T01:20:55Z
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 130105 Primary Education (excl. Māori) en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcseo 930102 Learner and Learning Processes en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrctoa 1 PURE BASIC RESEARCH en_NZ

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search ResearchArchive

Advanced Search


My Account