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H809: Activities 8.6 & 8.7: Comparing Perspectives and Methodologies

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Tolmie, A. (2001) 'Examining learning in relation to the contexts of use of ICT', Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 235-41.

Crook, C. and Dymott, R. (2005) 'ICT and the literacy practices of student writing' in Monteith, M. (ed.) Teaching Secondary School Literacies with ICT, Maidenhead, Open University Press.

Table 8.1: Comparing perspectives and methodologies



Crook and Dymott

Key features of the theory

1. Outcomes effected by interplay between technology and context so this effects research

2. difficult to manage context effects through design; need to focus on whole implementation event

3. Context -sensitive approach to evaluation required p.236

4. Socio-cognitive conflict is part of  context p.236

5. Context effects will be the norm  p.237

6. data should be collected from real contexts p.237

7. context primes learner to notice certain aspects p.240

Learning is mediated, situated and distributed

Use of the 5 types of writing as a cognitive framework to allow analysis of the practices involved.

Defining context

"conditions under which given resources are used" p.237

Gender norms

Past history p.238

Pre-existing activity p.239

The social environment of a group of tutors, students etc. who can be connected f2f or via technology


Aspects of learning foregrounded

Cooperative learning

Collaborative learning

How technology has changed the work environment as students can study in their rooms but stay in contact with their peers


Attempts to situate technology in context for analysis

Framework assists more focused analysis of writing process in different contexts


Subtle cues overlooked by researchers p.240

Range of possible contexts surrounding any resource may be impossible to manage within any single software design p.240

Unable to generalise as the context is always different

Not convinced gender differences are that simple. Not all men are the same!

Analysis of writing using ICT seems outdated in that students tend to use widescreens divided for easy viewing and/or multiple screens or devices.

Does not analyse students reasons for working the way that they do - just looks at surface process

Application and uses

Studying group interactions with technology and the effect on learning

Studying individual interactions with different tools

Appropriate data collection methods to use

Observation / video recording

Log of contact and activity in group work p.238



Analysis of interactions

Appropriate data analyses to use

Qualitative: conversation analysis of different types

Quantitative: time spent on activities

Qualitative: conversation analysis of different types


  1. Does learning happen within the head of an individual, or is it mediated, situated and distributed?

I believe that learning is mediated by tools and that, by using these tools, we alter our learning experiences. To that extent I concur with distributed learning but I also believe that learning is situated in a historical and social context and affected by our past experiences with similar activities and tools.

  1. What does a test or exam measure?

The ability to memorise facts and apply them under time pressure.


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