News media coverage

Our first wave of data analysis from the student survey (initially focusing on students’ experiences of school rules and regulations) was featured in a piece in The Age newspaper this weekend (15th August). These headlines are taken from a paper that we will be presenting at the 2016 AERA conference in Washington DC. The online […]

3D printers in the classroom

Digital fabrication and ‘3D Making’ technologies are a prominent recent addition to many secondary schools, hastened by the increased affordability of Computer Assisted Design software and devices such as 3D printers, e-textiles and microprocessors. One of the digital devices that we have been coming across in our study schools is the ‘UP Plus’ 3D printer […]

What it means to conduct a critical study of technology and schools

INTRODUCTION Ours is a deliberately critical study of schools and technology. But what does this mean in practice? Here are three aspects of our research approach that might not be obvious … and that we need to keep reminding ourselves of as our fieldwork progresses.   #1. Thinking otherwise (rather than against) Being critical of […]

Digital youth in brick & mortar schools

‘Real-life’ studies of school technology use in situ are few and far between. Education researchers tend mostly to focus on case studies of classrooms where noteworthy forms of technology use are being enacted. Such studies are interesting enough, but tell us little of how these situations might be replicated in other classrooms, in different schools, […]

Schools, technology and commercial agendas …

Digital technologies have extended the commercialization of schools into new realms. From Microsoft and Google, through to News Corporation and thousands of far smaller ‘Ed-Tech’ start-ups, digital technologies have positioned for-profit interests at the center of how public schooling is now funded, organized and delivered. This variety of enterprise reflects the fact that schools and […]

Desktop configuration

  As part of many schools’ ‘one-to-one’ programs, students are loaned their ‘own’ devices during their time at school. Various aspects of these devices can be configured by the student – such as screensavers, backgrounds and other ‘personal system preferences’. At the same time, these devices are also used to configure the students, with standardized […]

Hunting for the ghosts of dead media

<file under dead-tech>   Schools are haunted by ghosts of old technologies – such as the chalkboard, text-book, overhead projector, attendance register and report card. The technical principles of these ‘dead media’ remain even though the technological artefacts might not. As Eugene Thacker (2014, p.129) puts it: “with dead media, the object is no longer in use, but […]

What use is sociology?

As he moves into his nineties, the work of Zygmunt Bauman remains as prescient as ever. Bauman’s long view on societal shifts in late (or, as he prefers, liquid) modernity has always merited close attention. The succession of slim volumes of edited interviews and conversations with Bauman – such as the recent ‘What Use is […]

Digging the dirt

We tend to think of digital technologies in pristine, clean, idealized terms. Much of the immediate allure of any newly purchased digital device stems from the shiny surfaces and smooth contours – an assemblage of tempered glass, brushed aluminum and toughened plastics. The fact that we continue to imagine digital devices in these ‘box fresh’ terms means that it […]