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Unit information: ICT and Society: Contexts, Policies and Practices in 2016/17

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Unit name ICT and Society: Contexts, Policies and Practices
Unit code EDUCM5803
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Manchester
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit will provide a critical introduction to debates about the relationship between ICT and Society. It assumes that we cannot understand ICT without reference to the concept of 'society', a term that requires careful theoretical reflection. The unit therefore explores economic, social and cultural theories about ICT, and encourages students to analyse debates about ICT from a variety of perspectives. The unit explores these in a variety of contexts, policies and practices. This allows for case studies at a variety of scales, involves the discussion and analysis of policy documents, and the study of the practices surrounding the use and management of ICT in specific sites. The underlying assumption is that the meaning of all of the terms in the unit title cannot be taken for granted and that they should be subject to critical inquiry using a wide-ranging literature.

Aims:

  • To introduce the main economic, social and cultural theories relating to ICT;
  • To provide students with an understanding of the economic and social contexts in which ICT is used in society;
  • To provide students with conceptual and methodological tools to understand policies surrounding ICT and their use in education and other settings;
  • To enable students to analyse specific uses of ICT practices in education and other settings in the light of the perspectives introduced in the unit.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to use relevant economic, social and cultural theories to understand the relationship between ICT and social change and social relations
  • demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which ICT is used in societies to construct new social practices and meanings;
  • show an awareness of the different economic and social contexts in which ICT is used in society and the implications of this for individuals, communities and societies;
  • use relevant conceptual and methodological tools to understand policies surrounding ICT and their use in education and other settings;
  • demonstrate the ability to analyse specific uses of ICT practices in education and other settings in the light of the perspectives introduced in the unit
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of approaches to ICT and society

Teaching details

The course will be taught face-to-face, but will be supported by a virtual online learning environment. All students will be required to use the VLE as standard, to communicate with fellow students, with the lecturing staff, to obtain administrative details about the course, to access course materials and, in some instances, for submission of coursework. Students will be encouraged to work in groups to investigate specific contemporary ICT practices (e.g eBay, ‘blogging’, search engines). The principle teaching and learning methods will include the following:

  • Lectures: to present the main concepts of the syllabus.
  • Case studies: to ground the work within the professional context and provide real life examples
  • Group work and class presentations
  • Engagement with online resources: to reiterate face-to-face activities, to supplement and support, to provide revision or associated materials and resources, and to offer extension activities.

Assessment Details

A 2000 word reflective critique - a summary of the learning journal - demonstrating critical engagement with the theories, concepts and methods introduced on the course and their application in a range of settings. Students will be given guidelines on keeping a journal throughout the course and it will be made clear that students must go beyond description to critically reflect on their own learning processes throughout the course unit.

A 2000 word academic essay theoretically examining one example of an ‘educational technology’ as a set of socio-technical arrangements.

Reading and References

  • Selwyn, N. (2011) Education and Technology: Key Issues and Debates. London: Continuum
  • Facer, K. (2011) Learning Futures: Education, technology and social change. London: Routledge
  • Castells, M. (2000 2nd Edn) The network society Vol. III, End of Millenium, Oxford: Blackwells.
  • MacKenzie, D. and Wajcman, J (Eds.) (1999) The social shaping of technology (2nd Edition), Buckingham: Open University Press
  • Webster, F. (2002 2nd Edn) Theories of the information society, London: Routledge. In addition the third edition available as an ebook (2006)
  • Valentine, G. and Holloway, S. (2002). Cyberkinds? Exploring children’s identities and social networks in on-line and off-line worlds, Annals of the American Geographers 92 (2), pp. 302-319.

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