Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

Teachers' Changing Practices with Information and Communication Technologies: An Up-Close, Longitudinal Analysis

Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

Teachers' Changing Practices with Information and Communication Technologies: An Up-Close, Longitudinal Analysis

Article excerpt


Teachers' changing practices with information and communication technologies: an up-close, longitudinal analysis

Joanne Orlando*

School of Education, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, Australia

(Received 8 May 2013; final version received 20 June 2014; Published 8 August 2014)


While digital technology has become a significant resource for contemporary schooling, we still have little understanding of how these resources shape teachers' scholarly practices and what support is needed to improve and move forward. This paper reports on a 5-year qualitative, longitudinal study on the scholarly practices of a small number of Australian primary and secondary school teachers in their use of digital technology. The study aimed to understand the complexity of their changing practices. Four categories of change were evident in the teachers' practice with digital technology over time: knowledge, learning organisation, pedagogy and core approaches to teaching. The changes each teacher demonstrated reflected their distinct knowledge sets and beliefs. Tracing their changes longitudinally showed that some teachers demonstrated faster and more consistent change in their practices with digital technology than others and that visible change in their practices was not evident over the short term. This study highlights that change in digital scholarship is a personal and complex process and worthy changes are those that meaningfully respond to the context and also contribute to the teachers' commitment to reflection and renewal of practice. Significant support is therefore that which provides the space and opportunity for teachers' individualised professional understandings and aspirations to be acknowledged and built on.

Keywords: digital technology; teachers; change; longitudinal; digital scholarship


Research in Learning Technology 2014. © 2014 J. Orlando. Research in Learning Technology is the journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), a UK-based professional and scholarly society and membership organisation. ALT is registered charity number 1063519. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2014, 22 : 21354 -


This paper contributes to developing an understanding of teachers' changing scholarly practices with digital technology. In recent years, educational and governmental stakeholders have regarded digital technology as the holy grail for revolutionising teaching and learning (Buabeng-Andoh 2012). As a result, we have seen the physical presence of technological devices and programmes increase at an extraordinary rate in schools. As with all major school initiatives, teachers' scholarly practices are vital to capitalising on the pedagogical potential of these resources; however, there remains limited understanding of how teachers' practices are changing with the adoption of digital technology in schools and what support is needed to move forward.

An analytical framework has been used to track the teaching practice that digital technology is expected to afford and promote (Drenoyianni 2006; OECD 2006). However, this framework limits deep understanding of change because it simplifies digital scholarship as three discrete, observable behaviours: (1) how often teachers use digital technology (Bauer and Kenton 2005; OECD 2006); (2) whether digital technology is used to teach curriculum content rather than information and communication technologies (ICT) skills (Watson 2001) and (3) whether teachers use a constructivist style of teaching when using digital technology (Wong, Li, Choi, and Lee 2008). …

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