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ERIC Number: ED546068
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 254
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-8510-3
The Bangalore Challenge: Case Studies of the Social Construction of Technology in Elementary Schools
Byker, Erik Jon
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
As India aspires to become the information and communication technology (ICT) leader in the world, the education of its children is a primary concern. While India's policymakers expect ICT to usher in promising education changes, there is a limited understanding of how computers are used and negotiated in India's schools. This dissertation is an ethnographic study of the meanings and uses for computer technology in elementary schools settings in Bangalore, India. The dissertation's purpose is to describe and report on how computer technology is socially constructed in Bangalore's fifth grade classrooms. Using case study research design, the dissertation investigates and compares the social shaping of computer technology in a socioeconomic cross-section of four elementary schools. The dissertation's research questions and methodological approach are framed by the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) theory. SCOT maintains that social groups, like students and teachers, construct the meanings and purposes for technology based on their social context and interactions. In schools, the social shaping of technology happens in a context of use and negotiation among students and teachers. The dissertation's data are comprised of field notes from extensive field observations, student and teacher questionnaires, teacher interviews, student focus group interviews, and artifacts, like digital pictures, of each elementary school setting. How computer technology is socially constructed in Bangalore's elementary schools is a complex phenomenon. The dissertation thickly describes and offers various interpretations to clarify this complexity. This study illustrates how students and teachers assign meanings to computer technology in relationship to the school's curriculum and pedagogical practices. The dissertation also examines how the diverse meanings for computer technology relate to contextual factors like the school's mission statement and the predominant socio-economic status (SES) of the student body. At the dissertation's two lower SES schools, both of which were located in villages, the students used the school's computer technology primarily to practice and learn English. Both school's teachers and students interpreted that computer technology was empowering and provided the opportunity for a better life. At the dissertation's middle SES school, the students used the school's computer technology as part of a scripted computer science curriculum based on coding skills. Additionally, the computer science teachers at this school stated that the computer's primary purpose was for the development of logic skills needed for programming and engineering software. At the dissertation's upper SES school, the students used the school's computer technology to develop their research and presentation skills. At this school, the teachers and students agreed that the computer's most important purpose was to foster original thinking and the ownership of ideas. The dissertation concludes that accessory social groups, like non-governmental organizations and the school administrators, have significant influence in stabilizing the meanings assigned to technology. The dissertation's findings enhance the understandings of the way that social groups, in Bangalore's elementary schools, use and assign meaning to computer technology. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India