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Learning to Teach in the Digital Age

New Materialities and Maker Paradigms in Schools


Sean Justice

Learning to Teach in the Digital Age tells the story of a group of K–12 teachers as they began to connect with digital making and learning pedagogies. Guiding questions at the heart of this qualitative case study asked how teaching practices engaged with and responded to the maker movement and digital making and learning tools and materials. Over the course of one school year, Sean Justice attended to the ebb and flow of teaching and learning at an independent K–12 girls school the northeastern United States. Teachers and administrators from across grade levels and academic domains participated in interviews and casual conversations, and opened their classrooms to ad hoc observations. In conducting the study, Justice interwove a sociomaterial disposition with new materialism, posthumanism, and new media theory. Methods were inspired by narrative inquiry and actor-network theory. Findings suggested that digital making and learning pedagogies were stabilizing at the school, but not in a linear way. Further, Justice suggests that the teaching practices that most engaged the ethos of twenty-first-century learning enacted a kind of learning we hear about from artists, writers, scientists, and mathematicians when they talk about what innovation feels like, leading to the proposition that a different kind of language is needed to describe the effects of digital materialities on teaching practice.
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Chapter 10. The Feeling of Knowing


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· 10 ·


Asking for a Response

In October 2014, I emailed Amanda to ask if she would read the narrative of her practice that I had constructed (Chapter 9) and discuss it with me. I explained that her continued participation in the study was important because, as a test against validity, her collaboration in constructing the vignette would help assure its accuracy. I also told her that after many months of living with the accumulated artifacts, field notes, memos, and transcripts collected during the on-site period of the study, I kept returning to the stories, metaphors, and experiences she had shared with me. Consequently, certain aspects of the study had been derived from her practice, as when a mist consolidates in rain, and a methodological problem had arisen. That is, while she had given me her permission to quote her in this report (by signing the Informed Consent), I had not foreseen this emergent emphasis on her experience when I had asked her to participate in the study. On that point, from the perspective of narrative inquiry methodology (Chase, 2011), the density of minute personal details required me to ask for her further consent, because what I was writing and the way I was writing it went beyond the scope of a signature on a piece of paper. But more important ← 209 | 210 → than this methodological requirement, in terms of the study itself, I had a different...

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