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Entangled Pedagogy

See also: [[entangle-pedagogy-and-learning-design]]

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

Conceptual work that critiques to illusionary views of the relationship between pedagogy and technology: technological and pedagogical determinism. Two views very evident in higher education practice. Describes the “actual view” as entangled. Where there is mutual shaping of purpose, context, values, methods and tech (see figure below). Each view comes with its own view of the “skill” required. The actual view sees this skill as involving “configuration, design, orchestration and practices”.

Develops and describes an aspirational fourth view where the focus is on purpose, context and values.

Fawns' (2022, p. 9) aspirational view of entangled pedagogy

Work to follow up

Abstract

‘Pedagogy first’ has become a mantra for educators, supported by the metaphor of the ‘pedagogical horse’ driving the ‘technological cart’. Yet putting technology first or last separates it from pedagogy, making us susceptible to technological or pedagogical determinism (i.e. where technology is seen either as the driving force of change or as a set of neutral tools). In this paper, I present a model of entangled pedagogy that encapsulates the mutual shaping of technology, teaching methods, purposes, values and context. Entangled pedagogy is collective, and agency is negotiated between teachers, students and other stakeholders. Outcomes are contingent on complex relations and cannot be determined in advance. I then outline an aspirational view of how teachers, students and others can collaborate whilst embracing uncertainty, imperfection, openness and honesty, and developing pedagogical knowledge that is collective, responsive and ethical. Finally, I discuss implications for evaluation and research, arguing that we must look beyond isolated ideas of technologies or teaching methods, to the situated, entangled combinations of diverse elements involved in educational activity.

Annotations

“I present a model of entangled pedagogy that encapsulates the mutual shaping of technology, teaching methods, purposes, values and context. Entangled pedagogy is collective, and agency is negotiated between teachers, students and other stakeholders. Outcomes are contingent on complex relations and cannot be determined in advance” (Fawns, 2022, p. 1)

“we must look beyond isolated ideas of technologies or teaching methods, to the situated, entangled combinations of diverse elements involved in educational activity” (Fawns, 2022, p. 1)

“Being ‘pedagogically driven’ (Anderson and Dron 2011) offers reassurance that ‘nothing is changing in a context in which rather a lot is changing’ (Brett and Cousin 2010: 610).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 1)

“attempting to put technology last leaves educators susceptible to an inadequate appreciation of complexity relating to how it is entangled in educational activity.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“Both technology-led and pedagogy-led positions decontextualise technology and make us vulnerable to different forms of determinism (see Oliver 2011 for a review).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“In pedagogical determinism, pedagogy is attributed with unassailable, decontextualised characteristics (Berg 1998) and technology’s influence on thinking and practising is neglected (Chandler 1995; Kanuka 2008)” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“the greater problem may be where teachers themselves start with a method before sufficiently considering their own or their students’ purposes, values and contexts” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“Choices about technology, tasks, social configurations and resources are then restricted by what is possible within an alreadyconstrained conception of teaching.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“Determinism is appealing because it suggests simple possibilities for solving complex problems” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“Determinism is appealing because it suggests simple possibilities for solving complex problems” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“A general conclusion from the philosophy of technology literature is that extremes of any of these views are problematic” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“we should consider the influence of technology” (Fawns, 2022, p. 2)

“as part of a complex set of wider relations (Chandler 1995). Technology, users and social context all matter, and all partially determine activity (Winner 1980).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 3)

“Avoiding determinism requires a holistic view of situated, purposeful uses of technology (Berg 1998; Oliver 2011)” (Fawns, 2022, p. 3)

“Taking neither individual teachers nor technology, as the unit of analysis, but a holistic view of entangled elements, provides a stronger basis for taking complexity into account (Edwards 2010; Fenwick 2015). The entangled pedagogy model, presented next, draws from sociomaterial and postdigital perspectives to outline the key relations within educational practice” (Fawns, 2022, p. 3)

“Columns 1 and 2 are labelled as illusions because they portray what follows these choices as independent of other factors.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 4)

“Actual educational activity is always a complex entanglement of factors, iteratively and mutually shaping each other” (Fawns, 2022, p. 4)

“Recognising that technology and pedagogy are, inevitably, entangled, opens up possibilities for more meaningful analyses of educational activity (Cousin 2005).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 4)

“Methods and technology are just part” (Fawns, 2022, p. 4)

“of the constituent components of any situated enactment of education” (Fawns, 2022, p. 5)

“Learning technologists and information technology staff procure and configure platforms that enable and constrain local teaching. Administrators influence processes and relationships between teachers and students. Policymakers shape culture and practice.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 5)

“Education is always enacted through technology, and teachers cannot avoid learning to use it (Dron 2021)” (Fawns, 2022, p. 5)

“things with generalisable characteristics or consequences (Chandler 1995).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 5)

“Two problematic understandings of technology, essentialism and instrumentalism,” (Fawns, 2022, p. 5)

“In practice, technology is always an assembly of multiple other technologies (Dron 2021), and always more than the sum of its parts (Chandler 1995).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 6)

“Rather than focusing on particular objects or devices, it is the combination of technologies in use, and its relations to the systems in which it is embedded, that matters (Kanuka 2008)” (Fawns, 2022, p. 6)

“Methods are structured templates for how teachers and students should proceed in the facilitation of learning.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 6)

“Making educational purposes explicit helps teachers and students to know not just what they will do but why (Kanuka 2008).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 6)

“Learning outcomes are insufficient because much learning is emergent and, therefore, unpredictable (Fawns et al. 2021d), and there are always multiple purposes for any educational activity (Biesta 2009).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 7)

“Biesta argues that educational purposes can be located within three broad categories: qualification, socialisation and subjectification.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 7)

“Being sensitive to context means taking account of information beyond what is in immediate focus, when making sense of complex activity (Korica and Nicolini 2019).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 8)

“Yet, ‘context’ is a dangerous shorthand. It can include almost anything, potentially substituting for detailed analysis, and obscuring, rather than illuminating, important parts of the ‘wider picture’ that influence situated activity (Nicolini 2013: 234).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 8)

“It suggests a need to intentionally and regularly revisit purposes, values and contexts, to ensure that they meaningfully and iteratively inform choices around methods and technology,” (Fawns, 2022, p. 9)

“A meaningful account of these interdependent factors requires a complex analysis that produces actionable knowledge (Markauskaite et al. 2020). This analysis should be based on observation, evidence and dialogue that focus on relations rather than individual elements (Goodyear and Carvalho 2019).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 9)

“The negotiation of agency and the emergent outcomes produced through such complex entanglements suggest a need for trusting partnerships through which teachers, students and others can collaborate in educational activity.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 10) And yet in the context of “development” non-IT folk can’t be trusted to do it

“The combination of multiple technologies within an educational context always produces intended and unintended, predictable and unpredictable consequences and ‘side effects’ (Adams 2020; Chandler 1995; Dron 2021).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 11)

“Research based on views represented by Columns 1 or 2 of the entangled model is potentially misleading.” (Fawns, 2022, p. 12)

“Technologies and methods are always emergent assemblages of material, social and digital activity (Fawns 2019; Fenwick 2015), albeit with features and patterns of commonality (Goodyear 2021).” (Fawns, 2022, p. 13)

“At the same time, teachers collaborate with students and others to collectively negotiate these factors, and pedagogical knowledge is distributed across stakeholders at different levels of the institution (Dron 2021)”