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    Speaking into the Abyss: An Exploratory Study of Academics’ Use of Educational Technology and its Impact on Practice.

    McSweeney, Daniel (2021) Speaking into the Abyss: An Exploratory Study of Academics’ Use of Educational Technology and its Impact on Practice. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This is a study of educational technology use in academic practice undertaken in an Irish Higher Education setting. Based on interviews with fifteen academics, the enquiry attempts to respond to Selwyn’s (2010) call for an increase in social scientific accounts of technology use which pay heed to the ‘state-of-the-actual’, examining the actuality and consequences of technology use on academic practice and identity. Efforts to understand the socially constructed nature of technology use draw upon the researcher’s own varied experiences as an educational technologist, academic, and academic manager. The development of understanding is also guided by a theoretical framework drawn from Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice (Bourdieu, 1977) and its interlocking concepts of habitus, field, and capital. The key research questions addressed in the study highlight a varied and meaningful integration of technology into academic practice. Academic use of technology is shown to be strongly influenced by implicitly held knowledge of teaching and underlying belief systems which are shaped by assumptions, technological truisms, pseudo theories, and folk pedagogies. Technology use is also shown to be shaped by the surrounding organisational culture and the normative technological practices carried out within the academic disciplines. In examining the consequences of technology adoption for the academic, the research highlights impact on wellbeing, relationships, emotional state, and sense of place. Technology is exposed as a site of tension as academics struggle with fears, questions of ideology, discourse, challenges to identity and destabilising shifts in practice. Most importantly, the research exposes educational technology as a site of struggle. In an effort to mediate between agency and structure, these academics seek to hold autonomy over their own practices while also attempting to align their practice with the broader organisational culture of technology use. Tensions arise between academics, students, and academic management, as each group seeks power over what forms of technology are used, how they are used, and by whom they are used.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Exploratory Study; Academics’ Use; Educational Technology; Impact; Practice;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 15682
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2022 12:07
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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