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Mutual capabilities: digital platforms in unpredictable pedagogical encounters
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5079-3067
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper takes on the rise and implications of platforms as a repertoire for knowing, doing, and relating the intensities of pandemic restrictions on teaching and schoolwork. Building on critical work on platformisation in education, the paper investigates what work platforms do and how in the unpredictable everyday of pedagogical encounters. To do so, the paper explores a methodological potential with platforms’ capabilities to pull some things together while supressing others. Drawing on ethnographic interviews with teachers and students in upper secondary education in Sweden in 2021, everyday platform practices are analysed such as dealing with assignments, requests to ‘connect online’, strategies with web cameras, and coping with repetitive notifications. Working with actor-network theory and sensibilities towards tensions of discomforts, resistance, trust and intimacy, the paper unfolds acknowledgements of digital platforms as relationally enacted and more complex objects than shaping pedagogical encounters from the outside or prior to their practices. Instead, capabilities emerge as mutually rendered. The analysis shows that platforming well-bounded domains for clearer and more flexible teaching and schoolwork incoherently make educational practices less so. At the same time, the platform becomes weak and unreasonable. Incoherence and unpredictability stress critical openings to surprise and curiosity of pedagogical encounters.

Keywords [en]
digital platforms, actor-network theory, upper secondary education, Covid-19, material semiotics
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-224627OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-224627DiVA, id: diva2:1859312
Available from: 2024-05-21 Created: 2024-05-21 Last updated: 2024-05-21
In thesis
1. Maintaining teaching: exploring te(a)ch-abilities with actor-network theory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Maintaining teaching: exploring te(a)ch-abilities with actor-network theory
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Att ta hand om undervisning : en aktörnätverksstudie av digital teknik i pandemins skolvardag
Abstract [en]

The thesis investigates everyday teaching with digital technology during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The pandemic was one of the world’s largest disruptions to everyday education with both health and education at stake. With the pandemic control measures affecting upper secondary education in Sweden, gathering in the classroom cannot be taken for granted and digital technologies accelerated and intensified everyday practices. The aim is to explore the relation of teaching and digital technology. How can we understand the ways in which digital technology and teaching become jointly experimented with to cope with pandemic uncertainty?

With an Actor-Network theory (ANT) approach, the thesis puts emphasis on how everyday teaching holds together at the pandemic intersection of routine and breakdown. The everyday teaching practices during the pandemic is an empirical focal point for inquiry into how they become enacted and, secondly, what the implications are for knowledge production when examining this novel educational practice with ANT’s relational materialism. To answer these questions, ethnographic methods are used with an upper secondary school in Sweden from May 2020 to June 2021. The fieldwork consists of empirical engagements in school visits, interviews, and online observations. In line with recent ANT scholarship, the methodological approach is articulated as a care-ful methodology. It implies tracing vulnerable and stable relations that enact sociomaterial practice and acknowledging cuts and becoming.

The results show how a manifold of more-than-digital practices enact everyday teaching. The included studies in the thesis examine attendability and mundane rituals, lesson enactments of scheduling practices, and digital platforms that co-produce specific practices while obscuring others. Teaching in the pandemic challenges taken-for-granted notions of a rapid transition to distance and online teaching. By surfacing neglected aspects of everyday teaching with digital technology the thesis discusses how ‘digitalisation of teaching’ erases the local work of everyday teaching as an equipped practice. In conclusion, the proposal is made that maintaining teaching takes into account the materiality, abilities, care, and vulnerabilities that enact everyday teaching.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2024. p. 107
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 135
Keywords
teaching, Covid-19, digital technology, ethnography, digital platforms, upper secondary education, attendance, maintenance, actor-network theory, care, science and technology studies
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-224628 (URN)978-91-8070-415-1 (ISBN)978-91-8070-414-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-06-14, Stora Jadwiga, Gävle, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-05-24 Created: 2024-05-21 Last updated: 2024-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Mörtsell, Sara

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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Language
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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