The approach to compare Research topic/Aim:
The aim of this round table is to discuss methodological and theoretical approaches for comparative analysis. In particular, the focus concerns three aspects: 1) approaches to make comparisons of teachers’ teaching with digital technologies (e.g. one-to-one computing) in Swedish and Finnish compulsory school, and 2) what are the possibilities and challenges of making comparative analysis based on qualitative data?, and 3) what is the needs and reasons for making comparative analysis of teachers’ teaching with digital technologies?
The quantitative Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) has showed great impact in comparative studies between countries. PISA compares pupil skills in applying knowledge in new situations. Finland has shown great success in such comparisons while in Sweden an educational crisis in media was reported. A growing body of research argue for a need of both qualitative and quantitative studies between countries. Comparative studies are afflicted with a several difficulties based on unclear purposes regarding what it is that shall be compared (Alexander, 2000). In qualitative comparative research there seems to be an emphasis of policy studies that sometimes are complemented with teacher interviews (e.g. Carlgren & Klette, 2008). One problem with interviews concern that the teachers’ narratives demonstrate the teachers’ wish in contrast to how they actually teach. Against this backdrop, in the comparative studies there is a need for systematically analysis of how teachers really teach based on classroom observations as a complement to policy studies and teacher interviews (Alexander, 2000; Phillips & Schweisfurth, 2014).
The session starts with a presentation of two projects about teachers’ didactical design in one-to-one computing classrooms in Sweden and Finland. The Swedish project took place during 2014-2016 and the Finnish project took place during 2015-2016. A possible next step is to make comparative study on the empirical material. The empirical material consists of qualitative data based on 60 classroom observations and 60 teacher interviews and 10 principal interviews collected in compulsory schools in Sweden and Finland. During this session a theoretical framework is presented that possibly can support comparative analysis. Briefly, the theoretical approach is based on Bernstein’s (1990, 2000) concepts for symbolic power (classification) and control (framing). This framework constructs the possibility of a two dimensional analysis. Firstly, the spatial dimension highlights the precondition of the classroom based on the symbolic boarders between different categories such as the relationship between desks, or the symbolic boarders between ICT and other resources. The relative concept of classification indicates privileging features of classroom spatiality, or on whom power is conferred upon. Secondly, the teachers’ teaching is analysed based on the principle of who controls what. The concept of framing indicates who has the right to select content, sequence, pacing, and how assessment is communicated. In the results, an attempt was made to illustrate the relationship between the one-to-one computing classroom spaces in relation to the one-to-one computing teaching practices based on the concepts of classification and framing. After the presentation the floor is open for discussion among the participants.
The 45th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), 23-25 March 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark