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Title: A sociomaterial account of assignment writing in Further Education classrooms
Author: Bhatt, Ibrar
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 8471
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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This PhD research explores assignment writing tasks in three separate Further Education classroom contexts. I approach the assignments as practical controversies as learners navigate their way through a course of study. Specifically, I attend to the ecology of digital literacy practices which emerge through the completion of the assignments by problematising the impact of cyberspace on classroom activities, as the learners undertake their work assisted by whatever digital media are to hand. I argue that connectivity of the Internet and deployment of digital media in classrooms contribute to emergent sociomaterial assemblages, or ‘actor-networks’, exploration and elucidation of which are key to understanding the literacy practices which instantiate them. This research addresses what these new sociomaterial assemblages look like, and the types of digital literacy practices arising from them. Drawing on recent work in Literacy Studies and actor-network theory, I uncover the complex and close relationship between the personal/informal literacy practices of learners and the digital demands imposed by normative classroom culture and policies. More broadly, I show that an assignment is an ‘assemblage’ which is tied together by political and managerial decisions, economic imperatives, teachers’ aims and practices, learner habits of use, material artefacts and their properties, etc. All of these agencies shape a certain choreography of digital literacy practices arising during classroom tasks; practices which can instantiate a tension between a normative classroom dramaturgy and a more anarchic learner bricolage. Findings of this research will inform policies on digital learning and benefit educational practice through in depth accounts of the digital habits and practices of learners’ life worlds, and how they align with classroom assignment tasks. By understanding learner practices it is possible to better understand digital innovations in education, the extent to which learners embrace or avoid imposed technologies, and how such practices re-shape assignments as evolving pedagogic forms.
Supervisor: Simpson, James ; Baynham, Mike Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available