An interpretivist approach to understanding technology policy in education: Sociocultural differences between official tales of technology and local practices of early childhood educators
Arzu Arikan, The Ohio State University, United States
The Ohio State University . Awarded
This ethnographic case study examines the technology policy practices in the context of a federal technology initiative, the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to use Technology Program, and describes this policy process at three levels of social construction, interpretation and reconstruction. The study traces the policy expectations of technology integration in multiple layers of sociocultural practice, including the federal government layer, the teacher education layer, and the early childhood education layer. The purpose of the study was to understand the ways educators responded to the technology policy and the ways they translated technology goals of the PT3 Initiative into local practices in multiple contexts.
The social construction of technology policy across three layers of policy practices did not simply entail policy engagement in predetermined or preplanned ways; rather, it revealed complex and evolving technology policy practices, interwoven in communicative exchanges, mediations, tensions, interactions, negotiations, and learning through participation. Those practices connected through three overlapping dynamics of social construction: social agency, social capital, and sense making. The complexity also included disconnected visions, promoted by political advocates in positions of power and privilege, and many versions of those visions, reconstructed by professional advocates. The study suggests that policymakers should view technology as a social construct and possess culturally relevant and realistic visions that resonate with the cultural realities of the educational community they serve. Federal policies should be cognizant of early childhood educators' needs to access to technology and information, and supportive leadership structures that stimulate teachers' motivation to learn and use technology.
Arikan, A. An interpretivist approach to understanding technology policy in education: Sociocultural differences between official tales of technology and local practices of early childhood educators. Ph.D. thesis, The Ohio State University.
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