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Re:design for Learning: A study of the co-construction of a technological tool for mathematical learning

Författare Thomas Hillman
Datum för examination 2011-04-18
Opponent at public defense David Pimm
Förlag University of Ottawa
Förlagsort Ottawa, Canada
Publiceringsår 2011
Publicerad vid
Språk en
Ämnesord education, technology, design, mathematics, actor-network theory, sociocultural
Ämneskategorier Pedagogik


This dissertation examines the development and use of an educational technology with the aim of enriching our understanding of the relationships among technology, teachers, students and mathematical activity. Drawing inspiration from the premise articulated in the genetic analysis research of Vygotsky (1978, 1986) that to understand a learning situation we must study it in situ and, in addition, investigate its history, I propose that examining the development of an educational technology can help us to better understand how and why it comes to be used the ways it does in classrooms. Starting with the development of a technology, I follow it into mathematics classrooms and examine the ways teachers and students work with it. For this investigation, I draw on a growing body of research in the field of Science and Technology Studies that examines the development and use of technology and the relationships between humans and their tools (Akrich, 1992; Bijker, 1997; Latour, 2007; Suchman, 2006). This research offers approaches to understanding the complex non-linear nature of the interactions between a technology’s development and the ways it is used. In addition, I draw on the sociocultural approach of Activity-Theory (Vygotsky, 1978; Leont’ev, 1978) to help me conceptualize learning as tool-mediated activity. I present the findings of this study in three journal articles that show that the development of educational technology is not necessarily a linear process, that teachers and students find innovative ways to shape the tools they use, and that their innovations may become formalized as part of new versions of a technology. The findings also illustrate that the introduction of new educational technology has wide-ranging meditational effects on the human and material relationships within classroom networks of activity and that the development and use of technologies designed for mathematical learning reflexively mediate and are mediated by mathematical activity.

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