Technology comprehension – a new subject in Danish Teacher Education

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This study examines technology comprehension as a new subject area and an emerging learning culture at a Danish Teacher Education (University College Copenhagen). The aim of the paper is to present and analyze different technological learning processes with a focus on how students engage with computational thinking and technological agency, which are two out of four competence areas in technology comprehension (the other two being and ‘digital work processes’ and ‘digital empowerment‘. The article is guided by the following research questions: How does the students’ technological learning processes unfold in the subject Technological comprehension? And how does the specific competence areas of computational thinking and technological agency manifest themselves in these learning processes?

Our theoretical point of view is a socio-material understanding of technology and learning processes (Sørensen, 2009). Such an approach calls for an entangled pedagogy (Fawns, 2020), which also involves negotiation of methods and technologies in relation to purpose and values in the concrete context. Similarly, our theoretical approach to computational thinking and technological agency goes beyond a skills-based or functional approach to practices such as programming and program modelling, which often dominates education in computing, and encompasses cognitive, social, and material aspects (DiSessa, 2001).

The study builds upon ethnographic methods and the empirical data consists of video observations and focus group interviews produced in the beginning and end of each term. The article builds upon video observations of the student’ technological learning processes in smaller groups, which all together amounts to 5 hours and 30 minutes of video and the analysis uses three selected cases, where the students solve different design tasks with technology.

Our analysis shows that computational thinking and technological agency appears in different ways, which we present in three cases. Case 1 shows how a group of students divides their work process in an analog and a digital approach to computational thinking, which are difficult to unite in a shared work and learning process. Case 2 shows how a group of students struggle with a challenging design task, which demands a high level of technological agency as well as a high level of reflection on their own learning process through CT-concepts, which again demands a lot of didactical scaffolding from their teacher. Case 3 shows how the digitally programmable is both difficult to integrate in a united design process and is also perceived as a “gold standard” of professionalism in the students’ emerging professional culture. The case studies point out that students are willing to experiment and fail and use language, materiality and social roles as stepstones when they meet academic challenges in the subject’s more computer science oriented subject areas.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date16 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2023
EventNERA 2023: Digitalization and Technologies in Education – Opportunities and Challenges - Oslo, Norway
Duration: 15 Mar 202317 Mar 2023


ConferenceNERA 2023
Internet address

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