Student Independent Projects Social Cultural Studies 2015: The dark side of an educational collective: Interviews with student cyborgs

Park, Stephanie (2015) Student Independent Projects Social Cultural Studies 2015: The dark side of an educational collective: Interviews with student cyborgs. Research Report. Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In my independent research project, I theorise the emergence of the “student cyborg,” as a new kind of actant in an educational collective of humans and technology by drawing on the theoretical insights of Bruno Latour. The educational collective, in which this research is based, is specific to Grenfell Campus of Memorial University in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. I conducted seven semi-structured interviews with undergraduate university students who had experience with educational technology (e.g. D2L). There are four major findings of my research: 1) There were two advantages associated with using technology that were identified by students in my interviews. The first advantage, was the email service to contact their professors. Email was seen as a mediator in student’s interactions with professors which could ease anxiety of face to face communication. The second advantage that emerged through my interviews was the convenience of using technology in the classroom for taking notes or when it came to looking things up online. My interviewees felt that it made the process of taking notes down faster, while also enabling them to look up topics online without having to ask a question in class. Also, student liked having technology on them at all times as it allowed them to stay in contact with others where ever they were. 2) Students also expressed three disadvantages during my interviews. The first disadvantage was that technology can be a distraction in the classroom, especially when students are texting rather than taking notes. The second disadvantage was that programs like D2L (Distance learning) can create a barrier between students and professors. My interviewees felt that D2L had less quality because there was no face-to-face communication at all. The third disadvantage is that technology can cause some students anxiety. Depending on the courses that my informants were taking, they had to learn how to use new programs which can evoked anxiety. 3) There is an unequal access to different technologies for students. The students that I interviewed came from different class backgrounds which gave them access to different types of technology, but also produced differences in knowledge’s about the technology. The students from more advantaged economic backgrounds considered themselves to be more tech-savvy. 4) Finally, students described that the technology with which they interacted with operates more as an “actant” than as a “tool”. Most of my participants could not imagine leaving their homes without their laptop.

Item Type: Report (Research Report)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11837
Item ID: 11837
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > Division of Social Science > Social/Cultural Studies
Date: 2015
Date Type: Submission

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