An Entangled Pedagogy: Views of the relationship between technology and pedagogy

Digital image of light trails against a sunset background

Three diagrams of the entangled relationship of technology and pedagogy by Tim Fawns, Edinburgh Medical School.

These 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 tfawns@ed.ac.uk.

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).

Please feel free to use these diagrams in your work, with attribution (and adhering to the terms of the CC BY SA licence). My aim is to write a journal article around the most up-to-date version which will make citation easier. For now, though, this is the best source to cite if you wish to use any of these diagrams (my preference is for you to use the current version). The suggested citation is:

Fawns (2021). An Entangled Pedagogy: Views of the relationship between technology and pedagogy. Retrieved [date] from https://open.ed.ac.uk/an-entangled-pedagogy-views-of-the-relationship-between-technology-and-pedagogy/. CC BY SA, Tim Fawns, University of Edinburgh.

Version 3 (current version)

Diagram of an entangled relationship of technology and pedagogy

An entangled relationship of technology and pedagogy (v3), CC BY SA, Tim Fawns, University of Edinburgh.

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.

Version 2

Diagram of an entangled relationship of technology and pedagogy

An entangled relationship of technology and pedagogy (v2), CC BY SA, Tim Fawns, University of Edinburgh.

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.

Version 1

Diagram of a model of technology and pedagogy.

A model of technology and pedagogy (v1), CC BY SA, Tim Fawns, University of Edinburgh.

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.