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Technologies for learning?: an actor-network theory critique of ‘affordances’ in research on mobile learning

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2011
JournalResearch in Learning Technology
Journal number3
Volume19
Number of pages12
Pages247-258
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

How are learners and technologies connected, and how is this connection used to position devices as ‘technologies for learning’?
In mobile learning the two are inextricably linked, and the way this link is conceptualised fundamentally influences the way they are understood and researched.
This literature review used both unstructured and structured search samples of published research on mobile learning to critically evaluate the prevalence and influence of the concept of affordances with mobile technologies. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is drawn on as a theoretical lens through which to critically
consider how this concept is articulated and in particular explore the similarity in contemporary accounts of mobile learning to previous discourses around the introduction of computers into schools. By considering the intersection of ANT with Communities of Practice Theory, an alternative agenda for mobile learning
research is suggested with a focus on authentic and informal contexts rather than controlled experiments.