Exploring Pedagogy And Digital Technology In Physical Education Through Appreciative Inquiry

Sargent, Julia (2018). Exploring Pedagogy And Digital Technology In Physical Education Through Appreciative Inquiry. PhD thesis Loughborough University.

URL: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/33127


Digital technology has not become commonplace in teaching and learning despite the considerable growth, availability and use in society. Moreover, when digital technology is used in education, the digital technology itself seems to take precedence over pedagogy. In physical education (PE), research shows that there is little knowledge as to how and why teachers in the UK use digital technology in their teaching. Subsequently, the purpose of this thesis is to explore PE teachers’ understanding and experiences regarding how and why they use digital technology in their practice.

Guided by an appreciative inquiry (AI) philosophy, this thesis employs a case study methodology in order to explore how and why PE teachers use digital technology. This study pays particular attention to the teachers’ perspective and the previously under-considered factors that enable, develop and influence their use of DigiTech, rather than the often-reported barriers and constraints. Data were gathered over a 12-month period, involving four teachers from schools across England. Methods of data gathering include AI interviews, interviews with headteachers, senior leadership team members, PE staff, heads of department and IT Managers, and lesson observations, document analysis and field notes.

The collected data were analysed using a constructivist approach to grounded theory and the findings collated into four chapters; each of which explores the views, experiences and uses of digital technology by one of the four teachers. These chapters are structured by the three themes constructed from the data analysis. The first theme, ‘developing an embedded culture’, explores the teachers’ perceptions of developing an individual, department and whole school approach towards how digital technology is used. This theme explores the factors promoting the teachers’ use of DigiTech and the role of the school in shaping their digital technology use. The second theme, ‘keeping tasks simple’, details the simple techniques and practices the teachers used to aid their teaching with digital technology. The third theme, ‘establishing routines’, describes the ways in which the teachers sought to develop and sustain their use of digital technology, to ensure regularity of use and confidence with digital technology.

Drawing on the work of Casey et al. (2017a), this thesis concludes by suggesting that the three-dimensional categorisation of pedagogy (in the form of teachers and teaching, learners and learning and knowledge in context - Armour, 2011) should be used as a lens for further discussion about digital technology use in PE. By using pedagogy as the starting point, we can begin to unpick and formulate future ways in which digital technology can support teachers’ delivery of PE.

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