Critical reflection practices of educators implementing one-to-one digital device schemes

Although there have been calls for critical approaches to studying education technology and practice, few studies have addressed the nature of teachers’ and leaders’ critical reflection in relation to technology practices. This study aimed to understand the normative nature of educators critical reflection related to the implementation of one-to-one digital device schemes in secondary schools. One-to-one digital device socio-technical regimes extend ubiquitous, continuously networked and digitally socialised communication practices into the school and thus re-articulate and compound political and cultural pedagogical conditioning of teachers, leaders and students.
The methodology was based on a multiple comparative case study of four secondary UK schools and one USA school and informed by tenets of constructivist Grounded Theory. This approach included iterative and simultaneous data collection, literature review, and analysis. Current literature was drawn on for sensitising concepts. Qualitative data collection methods were used, including semi-structured interviews with teachers and leaders. Lessons were observed across core and non-core subjects in each year group.
According to theories of reflective practice, critical reflection involves interrogating context, assumptions and taken-for-granted aspects of the situation in order to draw conclusions and inform future actions. Practices informed by the critical theory tradition aim to understand how experience and practice are shaped by power relations, ideological manipulation and hegemony rather than focusing on technical and procedural elements of practice Drawing on these theories, I will discuss the emergent typology of critical reflection and examine the ways in which educators critically reflect on present situations and practices. Most educators regularly reflected on the pedagogical utility of one-to-one practices and acknowledged the pedagogical and curriculum implications of wider political and social implications of ubiquitous computing and increased use of social media. These concerns reflected mainstream education and technology industry discourse emphasising opportunity, issues and risks regarding pedagogy, mental health and critical information and media literacies. These findings offer a theoretical contribution to other models that conceive of technology as a knowledge system pertaining to classroom instructional practice and considers educators’ role as critical public intellectuals.