Primary student-teachers' perceptions of the role of digital literacy in their lives

BURNETT, Cathy (2008). Primary student-teachers' perceptions of the role of digital literacy in their lives. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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In considering the potential for new student-teachers to draw from personal experience to arrive at transformative uses of technology in classrooms, this study investigates the nature of student-teachers’ ‘digital insidership’. It explores seven primary studentteachers’ perceptions of the role of digital literacy in their lives both within and beyond primary classrooms. Adopting a methodology influenced by phenomenology, it draws primarily from interviews, exploring participants’ experience of digital texts as social practice whilst adopting a reflexive approach to interpretation. The study draws on Gee’s concepts of ‘Big D’ Discourses and ‘borderland discourses’ to focus on how student-teachers’ perceptions of their digital practices interacted with different identity positions as they moved between personal and professional discourses. Exploring the varied feelings and levels of empowerment associated with digital practices, the study argues that these student-teachers’ sense of their own digital insidership was uneven and highly contingent on context. It describes both the new kinds of possibilities associated with their digital practices and the tensions they experienced when entering environments patterned by unfamiliar discourses. Highlighting what is termed ‘borderland activity’, it explores how personal and professional practices merged or contrasted as student-teachers found different ways of crossing, avoiding or spanning the borderlands between discourses. In particular, student-teachers’ stories of the accommodation of technology-use within teaching identities suggested that, whilst they may see technology-use as an important part of enacting a teacher identity, opportunities for transformation were limited as technology seemed chiefly to be accommodated, albeit in different ways, within discourses of standardisation and teacher control. Whilst some student-teachers may therefore see new opportunities for using technologies in innovative ways, they may receive most affirmation when using them in ways that are aligned to existing discourses. The study concludes by suggesting a series of strategies through which policy makers, researchers and initial teacher educators may investigate further student-teachers’ experiences of digital practices and,through promoting critical reflection on the discourses which frame technology use,encourage student-teachers to engage with technology in innovative and possibly transformative ways.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Barrett, Elizabeth
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2018 17:19
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:11

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