Educating the posthuman: Changing concepts of nature, knowledge and human progress
Budd, Y, Educating the posthuman: Changing concepts of nature, knowledge and human progress, Proceedings of the 2011 Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, 27 November - 1 December 2011, Hobart, Tasmania, pp. 1-35. ISSN 1324-9320 (2011) [Refereed Conference Paper]
This paper presents research data that demonstrate how computer metaphors shape teachers' literacy pedagogy and their understanding of the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. Although literacy and ICT are currently promoted as key elements of educational reform, and the number of studies connecting the two fields of ICT and literacy are increasing, the majority of such research continues to be informed by positivist, quantitative or descriptive research paradigms. Consequently, the broader cultural, political and philosophical implications of ICT in education and the effect of new technologies on teacher pedagogy remain undefined, unexamined and, therefore, uncontested. This paper begins by examining and problematising determinist and instrumentalist research approaches to ICT in education, and then presents an alternative methodological framework for exploring the mechanisms of, and for, educational change.
The research methodology is informed by feminist and poststructuralist theories that challenge the presumed neutrality of language practices. These theories are used to provide a new lens through which issues of agency, identity, access and equity in education can be more critically examined. A qualitative, combined methods approach incorporating Constructivist Grounded Theory and a Foucauldian approach to Critical Discourse Analysis enables connections to be made across seemingly disparate data sources and research paradigms. Analysis focuses predominantly on sixty pre-service teachers' discussions of their experiences with computers in the classroom and their reflections on an ICT case study.
Pre-service teachers' responses are examined in close detail for their connections to the language practices of the computer industry. In particular, digital metaphors, such 'the brain is wired', or 'reality is just another window', are examined for the ways in which they facilitate conceptual shifts, drawing together what might otherwise be incommensurable realities, by overlooking the qualitative difference between knowledge and information. Key words such as interactivity, literacy and creativity, for example, can mean very different things depending on the knowledge frameworks within which these terms are used and understood. The findings explain how pre-service teachers' participation in ostensibly natural and neutral language practices can contribute to the marginalisation of teachers who resist taking up the language practices of the computer industry.
Refereed Conference Paper
Teacher education, information and communications technology, literacy.