Conference proceedings article

Selections of Digital Learning Resources : One Teacher’s Approaches to a New Technological Environment with Laptops : Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, (ECER), Berlin, 12-16th September, 2011


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Subtitle: Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, (ECER), Berlin, 12-16th September, 2011

Author list: Perselli, Ann-Katrin

Publication year: 2011


From a European viewpoint, during the last decade it has become increasingly common to see one-to-one laptops in upper secondary schools. With expectations of effective learning, and in particular of increasing motivation among students, schools provide their students with laptops, also hoping to contend with the outcomes of the PISA-evaluation (Fredriksson, Gajek, & Jedeskog, 2009; Solhaug, 2009). Similarly, there are one-to-one laptop initiatives in Sweden, and ongoing projects in upper secondary schools to provide students with laptops for daily use (Tallvid, Björn, Lindström, & Lundin, 2010). More seldom, research considers teachers’ own thoughts and beliefs in teaching in a new technology environment (Ertmer, 2005). The aim of this paper is to illuminate different approaches of an upper secondary school in the selection of digital resources in a changing educational environment.

The paper is part of an ongoing PhD project. The PhD project has the purpose of providing an understanding of how Swedish teachers may think when they select between different digital resources. The informants are teachers in the social studies programmes of two public upper secondary schools. During the autumn of 2010, all students in this programme were provided with free laptops, which led to a new technological teaching environment for the teachers. This paper discusses one of the teachers and is thus to be understood as a case study. The aim is to obtain a holistic and deep understanding of the teacher in a complex school context (Stake, 1995). In this paper, the analysis was conducted with a phenomenological life-world perspective as aspects of teachers’ approaches to teaching and digital learning resources. The main points of departure are theories of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. The combination of Heidegger’s (1993) theory of the human and the human relations to the world—the Dasein[1]and the Being—together with Merleau-Ponty’s (1999) theory of the lived body opens a possibility for understanding the teacher’s life-world. Together, the theories makes it possible to understand the digital competence of the teacher as embodied knowledge and also how embodied knowledge and experiences are part of the teacher’s way of thinking and of making didactical considerations. The preliminary interpretation indicates a few things. For instance, the teacher talks about learning to recognize in what instances there is a need for computers in teaching. In an era defined by constant shortages of time, she found her selection process ultimately rested more on her professional and personal experiences than on striving for information, communication and technology development and renewal in her teaching. There really is no time to seek new resources on the Internet; instead this teacher often gets to know new resources by reading her students’ essays. One of her major problems is to compete with Facebook and Google. She responds to this by teaching on criticism of the sources. She is also concerned about what abilities the students may lose as a result of the one-to-one laptop system.


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