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Images of educational practice: how school websites represent digital learning

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

Published
Publication date2016
Host publicationHandbook on digital learning for K-12 schools
EditorsAnn Marcus-Quinn, Triona Hourigan
PublisherSpringer
Pages75-90
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319338088
ISBN (Print)9783319338064
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

What does school life and learning look like? One way of addressing this question would be to consider the images that educational institutions employ to represent the activity of their students. In this chapter, we report the results of applying such an approach to 151 websites of English primary schools. They were randomly selected from a government database of such schools. Photographic images found on these sites were then classified into 18 base categories according to their principle content. Images of the school ‘environment’ (the building, classroom), ‘sport’ activities and ‘personality’ images of children (presenting individual or groups of children) dominated this corpus. The principle themes tended to show children variously involved in exercise, performance, visits to external sites or different forms of active inquiry. Involvement with any type of digital resources was found to be a very infrequently represented form of student activity. This low profile of digital engagements was reinforced by an audit of after-school clubs advertised on the websites which showed that less than 5 % of the clubs were technology-related. These findings are discussed in terms of a tension between the rhetoric and investment associated with technology-enhanced learning and the extent to which it is publically and visually celebrated by educational institutions.