• Not just about gadgets: habit, innovation and change in the design of learning technologies

      Carmichael, Patrick (SAGE Publications, 2015-02-26)
      While elements of Deleuze’s theory, notably the ‘geophilosophical’ concepts of ‘rhizomes’, ‘smoothness’ and ‘striation’ have been applied to educational technologies, his work on time has, to date, been comparatively neglected by educational theorists. This article explores prac- tices and outcomes of educational technology design in terms of Deleuze’s dimensions of time in which habitual practices, trajectories of change and concerns about identities in flux are synthe- sised into a ‘present-becoming’. The article draws on empirical work carried out during a large, funded research project during which teachers, students, technologists and researchers were able to work together for extended periods in order to explore the potential of emerging ‘semantic web’ and ‘linked data’ technologies and approaches in higher educational settings (Ensemble: Semantic Technologies for the Enhancement of Case Based Learning). Doing learning technology design and development in a way informed by ‘Deleuzian’ syntheses of time involves conversations not just about creating a technology-rich educational utopia or constantly specifying new ‘gadgets’, but the troubling of existing pedagogical practices and the multiplication of perspectives and subjectivities. By going beyond notions of ‘feature sets’, ‘use cases’ and ‘affordances’ it provides a richer conceptual framework that helps us understand why some educational technologies are adopted and abandoned, some are creatively appropriated and used in unexpected ways, and others sink without trace. The article concludes with suggestions as to how current conditions in higher education, rather than constraining the development of educational technologies, might provide opportunities for these broader explorations to be initiated. 
    • Semantic web learning technology design: addressing pedagogical challenges and precarious futures

      Carmichael, Patrick; Lancaster University (Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, 2016-05-09)
      Semantic web technologies have the potential to extend and transform teaching and learning, particularly in those educational settings in which learners are encouraged to engage with ‘authentic’ data from multiple sources. In the course of the ‘Ensemble’ project, teachers and learners in different disciplinary contexts in UK Higher Education worked with educational researchers and technologists to explore the potential of such technologies through participatory design and rapid prototyping. These activities exposed some of the barriers to the development and adoption of emergent learning technologies, but also highlighted the wide range of factors, not all of them technological or pedagogical, that might contribute to enthusiasm for and adoption of such technologies. This suggests that the scope and purpose of research and design activities may need to be broadened and the paper concludes with a discussion of how the tradition of operaismo or ‘workers’ enquiry’ may help to frame such activities. This is particularly relevant in a period when the both educational institutions and the working environments for which learners are being prepared are becoming increasingly fractured, and some measure of ‘precarity’ is increasingly the norm.