Research approaches to the study of literacy, learning, and technology

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    Since desktop computers were introduced into educational settings in the late 1970s, researchers have been trying to find ways to explain the meaning-making processes involved when digital technologies are used that might inform curriculum and pedagogy. Much important work has been done to devise effective ways to investigate the complex connections across literacy, learning, and technology. This chapter provides an international perspective on how researchers in universities and schools, working either independently or collaboratively with teachers, have studied the changes to social and cultural practices associated with the use of technology for educational purposes. As evident here, the history of the approaches to research parallels the trajectory of the wider area of educational studies. The first investigations were most often quantitative; there was a gradual shift to qualitative methods and then multiple perspectives were adopted that drew on methods from both traditions. However, it would be a mistake to represent the history as a process of evolution. Each of the earlier waves is still operating in the present as a set of practices that researchers follow or argue against. An array of choices now characterizes the field with no single approach privileged. Faced by the still largely uncharted landscape of the Internet in which young people are often the navigators, messier, less certain, more reflexive, multi-voiced research is seen as the best way to respond. However, it is likely that making meaning in digital settings will continue to be complicated by the fluid, metamorphosing, unpredictable nature of online worlds.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationResearch methods in language and education
    EditorsKendall King, Yi-Ju Lai, Stephen May
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319023298
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Publication series

    NameEncyclopedia of Language and Education


    • Literacy
    • Learning
    • Technology
    • Research Practices

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