A developing realist model of the pedagogical affordances of ICTs





This article sets out the eWits model of the pedagogical affordances of ICTs. These are inherent properties of computer technology that constitute possibilities for teachers to act to enable learning in classroom contexts. The model is informed by Gibson’s realist theory of the psychological affordances of objects. We challenge interpretivist notions of affordance: while teachers recognise ICT affordances and activate them in pedagogical practices, these acts of recognition do not constitute them. Affordances are powers and potentials in the technology, and exist whether or not they are recognised and actualised by a teacher. On this understanding, we put forward a typology of ICT affordances that can be read in contrasting directions. First, it models a hierarchy of technological potentials, sourced initially in the capability of tools themselves, which afford a succession of action possibilities for teachers, from technological literacy, to the representation and recontextualisation of knowledge, to pedagogical engagement with learners. Second, it reveals how recognition of these affordances by teachers is manifest in pedagogical decision-making in the ongoing knowledge construction that characterises classroom activities. Our consolidation of the model is described, as we have developed it in the course of our own research work.



2022-12-05 — Updated on 2022-12-06




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