Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 15, No. 1, 25–41. (February 2009)
Whilst researching a teacher’s use of miniature ‘handheld’ computers (PDAs) with
students, it became apparent that the related research literature implied
unwarranted benefits arose from using this technology in the classroom setting.
Focusing closely upon one exemplar UK government-commissioned research
study, this article attempts to illustrate how such technological rhetoric is created
and sustained. It also illustrates how voices which promote the adoption of technology become privileged and established. These rhetorical claims espousing technology appealed to readers’ ‘vision’ and consistently emphasized innovation at the expense of reflection on teachers’ thinking and practices. Such studies appear to find a receptive audience from policy-makers whose own statements about educational technology display a similar foundation of faith and conjecture. However, these unrealistic expectations inhibit teachers’ pragmatic attempts to integrate technology in classroom contexts. Furthermore, the teachers subsequently become blamed for the failure of technology to fulfill its promise. The article attempts to illustrate how dominant technological claims can be interrogated from a perspective that represents teachers’ interests.