Posted by: MandyS | June 27, 2013


Block 2, Weeks 3 & 4 Activity 4a: Selwyn (2008)

I enjoyed this article because it took quite a critical stance. Selwyn  suggests that studies about internet usage are based largely on assumptions about ‘education effectiveness’ of the internet and its ‘universal appeal to students’, whereas the real driver for integration is actually ‘political pressure’. I would agree. Education is consistently seen as failing in the UK and it is envisaged that technology is a means of turning that around. Selwyn highlights that there are ‘few studies of student use of technology in situ’, which would ‘evaluate good practice’ and those that there are, ‘are subject specific’.

The real issue is the fact that internet usage for education is ‘heavily entwined with leisure use’. So Selwyn suggests that actual use and social issues need to be considered.

A thought that occurred to me about the gender divide was Selwyn’s observation of male domination in the 1980’s and 90’s. Could this be something to do with the fact that male domination was still prevalent in many areas, especially progression to Higher Education. I was in sixth form in the early 80’s and remember that there were distinctly more boys than girls. It was also the time computers were just coming into general use with the Spectrum X5 and computer studies was the in subject, but mainly for boys. It would be interesting to see some data on gender domination in higher education today. For the last few years I have only had three or four males in my groups, which is surprising given that Law was always a male dominated subject. Conversely, I talk to many a female would be engineer or computer programmer. Could the increase in female use of the internet for assignments simply be because there are more female students than male? Just a thought…

Another thought about subject differences is that some subjects perhaps don’t demand internet usage as much as others and I was not at all suprised that those are creative arts and architecture. I can understand computer usage for design maybe as these subjects have probably been using computers longer than anyone, but I doubt they rely heavily on internet usage even today.


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