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The social construction of educational technology through the use of authentic software tools

Jones, Allan and Bissell, Christopher (2011). The social construction of educational technology through the use of authentic software tools. Research in Learning Technology, 19(3) pp. 285–297.

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A major strand of science and technology studies (STS) in recent decades has related to the ‘social construction of technology’ (SCOT) movement, whose adherents maintain that technological systems are determined just as much by social forces as by technological ones. Taking this SCOT notion as a starting point, and putting a focus on the user, this paper looks at some examples of the educational use of software tools which exploit the functionality of the software in ways far removed from the original design. Examples include the use of spreadsheets, graphics editors and audio editors, and online translation software. Connections are made between the social construction of technology and constructivist pedagogy, particularly in relation to authentic learning.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2011 Association for Learning Technology
ISSN: 2156-7077
Extra Information: Full text freely available from
Keywords: social construction of technology; learner empowerment; spreadsheets; educational technology; proprietary software
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Computing & Communications
Mathematics, Computing and Technology
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Item ID: 29855
Depositing User: Allan Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2011 11:05
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2016 11:19
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