An Entangled Pedagogy: Views of the relationship between technology and pedagogy
Four diagrams of the entangled relationship of technology and pedagogy by Tim Fawns, Edinburgh Medical School.
Fawns, T. (2022). An entangled pedagogy: Looking beyond the pedagogy – technology dichotomy. Postdigital Science and Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-022-00302-7.
These diagrams were developed in an open process through which each draft was posted on Twitter and the resulting dialogue informed subsequent iterations. The various threads can be accessed at https://twitter.com/timbocop/status/1425360334039179270. If you would like to comment on this work, please DM or tag me on Twitter (@timbocop), or email me at email@example.com.
Thank you to the many contributors to this process, including: Gill Aitken, Derek Jones, Mario Veen, Virna Rossi, David Rubeli, Leo Havemann, Dom Pates, Joyce Seitzinger, Mary Jacob, Simon Horrocks, Maha Bali, Steph Moore, Hans Tilstra, Frances Bell, Esther de Groot, David Jones, Jon Dron, Tim Drysdale and more (sorry to those I’ve neglected to mention).
In response to peer review comments on a paper that has now been accepted by Postdigital Science and Education, version 4 contrasts technological determinism with pedagogical determinism (where humans, e.g. teachers, have autonomy and drive social change, using methods and technology to achieve their objectives). It associates a “technology first” view with either essentialism (technology is embedded with ideology, values or abstract principles that are independent of human activity) or instrumentalism (technology is seen as neutral, but this apparent neutrality can mask values of efficiency). The other change is that technology is seen as multiple: as always an assembly of other technologies.
Fawns, T. (2022). An entangled pedagogy: Looking beyond the pedagogy – technology dichotomy. Postdigital Science and Education.
This version clarifies the position that columns 1 and 2 are illusions whereas column 3 represents the actual, complex relationship. While people may implicitly or explicitly take up a view that aligns with column 1 or 2, their practice cannot avoid the entanglements of column 3. As Esther de Groot pointed out, this removes the need to choose column 3 – it simply and inevitably is. While I believe that foregrounding purpose, values and context is a good aspiration to hold, this latest version recognises that these too can be shaped by the ways that methods and technology play out in a given situation. This version helps to differentiate between aspirations and actualities.
This version repositions the columns to begin with “tech drives pedagogy”, then “pedagogy drives tech”, and then finally the mutual shaping of elements. This represents the kind of progression of understanding that I have noted amongst educational professionals. It also clarifies that columns 1 and 2 are not actual relationships that can be chosen but illusions of the relationship between technology and pedagogy (thanks Mario Veen). Column 3 represents the complex reality of this relationship (rather than the “sweet spot” of version 1 which implies that there is choice involved). Values has also been added, alongside purpose and context, as one of the three most important drivers of pedagogy (thanks Virna Rossi). “Control” is replaced by “agency”, following a suggestion by David Rubeli.
The original and very tentative draft, constructed primarily to see how the educational community on Twitter would react (mostly very favourably but with some helpful suggestions and comments).
Header image: by Federico Beccari on Unsplash.