Technology educational affordance: Bringing the gap between patterns of interaction and technology usage
This paper reports on an empirical and descriptive investigation into how teachers and learners use technology in three prototypical learning activities in a higher educational online learning environment. Additionally, the relationship between the educational uses of technology and the overall educational patterns of interaction between teachers and learners, and among learners themselves was analysed. Detailed teacher and learner self-reports about their teaching and learning activity; the asynchronous written messages teachers and learners sent as educational interaction in the online learning environment; and documents produced by students were all obtained. The results from the three learning activities indicated six overall educational uses of technology in an online learning environment. Moreover, the results also indicated differences in technology usage in some different patterns of educational interaction in each learning activity. In conclusion, we argue that the notion of technology educational affordance is useful as an effective bridge between the real use of technology and instructional aims. Therefore the distribution of educational uses of technology is not only related to some attributes of both technology and instruction but also to its interaction.
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