Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 7. Contact Points: The Challenges


← 150 | 151 →

· 7 ·


The second half of the typology, the Challenges, introduces contact points that appeared when teachers resisted project-based, making-infused practices, or pushed back against the integration of digital making and learning. As with the Ways (Table 4), the Challenges (Table 5) are arranged in order of descending prevalence, which implies but does not necessarily correlate with an assessment of any individual point’s effectiveness. To reiterate, I am not claiming that contact points have fixed values, or that any acted as de facto stabilizers or destabilizers of practice. Rather, holding them loosely, I’m arguing that the contact points invite us to trace the emergence of making-infused pedagogies in practice.

Challenges: Contact Points that Weakened Digital Making and Learning

As with the Ways (Table 4), I will expand on and discuss the first several Challenges (Table 5). Contact points at the bottom of the list will be explored with an example, but discussion will be limited. ← 151 | 152 →

Content versus Making

The most prevalent challenge to project-based, making-infused teaching was a concern that making would conflict with content. This surfaced in interviews and in private conversations in teachers’ classrooms, and in comments overheard in the lunchroom, hallways, entry foyers, on the sidewalks, and on field trips. Skepticism and doubt about making in the curriculum, and even outright resistance to it, was everywhere: Transcripts and field notes contained more lines of text for...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.