Technology in L1: A Review of Empirical Research Projects in Scandinavia 1992-2014
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Original versionElf, N.F., Hanghøj, T., Skaar, H. (2015) L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 15(Special Issue):1-89 10.17239/L1ESLL-2015.15.01.03
In recent decades, several Scandinavian research projects have had an explicit focus on how technology intervenes in L1 (or so-called Mother Tongue Education) practices in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish educational contexts, and how this may impact on understanding of the subject. There is currently no systematic overview of the documented possibilities and challenges related to the use of technology in L1. At the same time, there is terminological confusion in use of ‘technology’ and related concepts in L1. Finally, there is a general lack of critical reflection on the relation between technological developments, political rhetoric, and the development of L1 teaching and learning as a social practice related to specific contexts and actors. Thus, the paper attempts to answer three interrelated research questions: 1) what do we mean when we talk about ‘technology’ in L1?; 2) based on a systematic review of empirical studies, what characterizes the research field?; and 3) for discussion, which broader implications does the review suggest for a rethinking of L1 in terms of practice and research? Introducing the notion of educational boundary objects, a theoretical framework is developed, which suggests four metaphors for understanding technology within L1: as a tool, as media, as socialization, and as literacy practices. These are found useful for analyzing and comparing both theoretical perspectives and empirical research on L1. A key finding of the study is that, although the included research is characterized by a large degree of diversity, the conceptualization of technology as media is a dominating approach which downplays aesthetic, critical and tool-oriented perspectives. Another finding is the large number of studies that focus on student practices within L1 and the relationship to out-of-school literacy practices. A final finding is the emphasis on teacher uncertainty regarding how and why to integrate technology within existing paradigms of the subject. This calls for further research on how technology may be justified in L1 practice, including various forms of teacher education.
This is an open access article originally published in the journal L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature , 2015. See http://dx.doi.org/ 10.17239 / L1ESLL - 2015.15.01.03