Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module EDUC59330: 21st Century Technology: Implications for Teaching and Learning

Department: Education

EDUC59330: 21st Century Technology: Implications for Teaching and Learning

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To have a critical understanding of the contemporary uses of digital technology with regard to the implications for teaching and learning.


  • It is perhaps unsurprising that the relatively recent development of sophisticated and powerful forms of computer-mediated communication has been viewed with a mixture of both alarm and excitement. To some it holds out the promise of a more democratic and liberated way of life serving the development and interests of the individual above those of political and economic systems. Others anticipate that educational improvements and associated economic advantage will flow naturally from its use. Others express anxieties that it will provide the state with enhanced means of surveillance and control. Yet others fear that it threatens the destruction of established national cultures by exposing them to external, possibly encontrollable, conflicting value systems. Some anticipate that the technology will digitally divide even further the haves and the have-nots of the world.
  • Parents often feel under pressure to acquire this technology in the interests of their children's education. Governments and commercial enterprises in many countries have embraced the technology for educational pruposes, have invested in it very significantly and therefore expect 'results'. Educators have often felt coerced into applying the technology within their institutions either by moral or direct pressure to do so.
  • Modern digital technology, therefore, is both a product and a (re)producer of its time. Knowledge of its development is important in understanding the reasons for its enthusiastic take-up in some areas and for the way it is resisted or absent in others. Moreover, it is not enough to argue that educators should or should not embrace this technology since this is likely to be influenced by the expectations of their employers, the culture or climate of their organisation or Department and by wider cultural factors as well as by their own previous history, training and experience.
  • This Unit explores different ways of understanding the origins, limitations and possible consequences of the educational uses of technology. It does so by focusing on four main themes:
  • - Theme One: Understanding the Educational use of Technology:
  • 1. The Post Industrial Legacy
  • -Theme Two: Understanding the Educational use of technology:
  • 2. Problems and Possibilities in Educational Settings
  • -Theme Three: Lessons from Experience and Research
  • - Analysis of Selected Case Studies
  • -Theme Four:Tachnology and the Future of Education.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • critical understanding of the contemporary uses of digital technology;
  • critical understanding of the implications for teaching and learning.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will be able to:
  • Identify and critique theoretical approaches to understanding the origins and social and political contexts of the use of digital technology in educational settings;
  • Review and evaluate contextual influences on the use of digital technology in educational settings;
  • Develop an understanding of the limitations and implications for the educational use of digital technology through in-depth analysis and discussion of selected case studies and research;
  • Critically reflect upon the relationship between theory and practice.
Key Skills:
  • Demonstrate the ability to research literature, including for example: searching, synthesising, summarising and critiquing literatures;
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate educational research;
  • Use ICT when presenting assignments;
  • Organise and plan;
  • Formulate, analyse and solve problems;
  • Learn independently.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Through lectures and seminar teaching supported by Study Guide resources. The Study Guide includes preperation for and follow up on teaching activities. This directed independent work is an important part of the module. Lectures enable the ideas of the module to be considered. Seminar work enables students to develop their understanding of the ideas and consider them in a range of professionally relevant contexts. Activities in seminars include a variety of active learning approaches including discussion, group work, presentations, question and answer sessions, individual tasks. Preparation for the assignment involves students in wide reading and critical reflection on ideas of the module

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 1.5 hours 10.5
Seminars 7 2.5 hours 17.5
Preparation & Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Verbal feedback is given to students' contribution during class teaching sessions. Staff can be contacted for individual help. Written formative feedback is provided for the academic outline of the assignment (as appropriate).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University