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A comparative investigation of the use of digital technologies to facilitate school collaboration within the framework of the eTwinning programme

Gouseti, Anastasia (2012) A comparative investigation of the use of digital technologies to facilitate school collaboration within the framework of the eTwinning programme. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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This thesis looks at how digital technologies can create opportunities for online collaboration across schools within the framework of the eTwinning programme, an EU initiative that seeks to promote web-based learning and collaboration between schools across Europe. A socio-technical approach was employed, focusing on the role of social context in shaping the technology use surrounding the eTwinning activities. This 'social shaping of technology' approach allowed exploration of the range of social actors and factors that influence the implementation of digital technologies for school collaboration at micro, meso and macro levels of analysis. Through a comparative, qualitative case study of four different eTwinning projects in the UK and Greece, this thesis investigates how digital technologies such as wikis, blogs and discussion forums were used as online collaborative environments. Data collection took place during the course of the academic year 2009-2010, consisting of semi-structured individual and group interviews alongside classroom observations and online documentary analysis. The findings suggest that students' and teachers' use of digital technologies and, in particular web 2.0 tools, was influenced by a range of social issues relating to the wider school context. As such the tools per se did not lead to noticeable changes in practice - especially regarding collaborative activity. Specifically, all four case study projects were bounded by wider settings and factors such as time, resourcing, assessment regimes and 'fit' with curriculum. This thesis argues that amidst the enthusiasm that surrounds digital technologies in education, there is a pressing need for more critical consideration of the socially and institutionally shaped realities of use. The thesis concludes with a range of suggestions for the future improvement of such web-based collaborative initiatives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2014 12:52
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