Is technology enhancing education? Analyzing discourse and practices of Brazilian teachers through a sociomaterial perspective

Magda Pischetola

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Technology adoption in teaching practices has been at the core of debates concerning educational innovation for the last two decades (Retalis et al., 2010; Weller, 2018). However, despite extensive investments in edtech solutions, with software and devices saturation in schools, there is little evidence of an effective transformation of pedagogy, and teachers are mostly held responsible for limited didactical innovation (Brasilino et al., 2018; King et al., 2016; Pischetola et al., 2019). A growing body of literature has pointed at the need to adopt a more critical perspective on the use of technologies in education (Hamilton & Friesen, 2013; Selwyn, 2017), one that would be able to avoid pre-determined interpretations of ICT in schools and make teachers less vulnerable. By showing sociomaterial entanglements that take place in a school classroom, contributions from Science and Technology Studies are shaping a new frame for research (Fenwick et al., 2011; Lenz Taguchi, 2010). In this perspective, day-to-day teaching practices are both relational and emergent (Law, 2009), as teacher’s agency is enabled by the sociomateriality of spaces, artefacts and technologies (Sørensen, 2009; Viteritti & Landriscina, 2016). On these grounds, the paper presents an ethnographic research undertaken in two public primary schools of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, between 2015 and 2018. The schools were chosen based on their public visibility around edtech projects. Participant observation in the classrooms, in-depth interviews with teachers and principals, and focus groups with selected teachers were used as tools for data collection. Findings show that the way teachers ally with technologies in their work is never neutral or predictable. Their situated actions emerge from sociomaterial interactions, often detached from their initial intentions. Furthermore, shared spaces, such as the teachers’ room or the school corridors, represent the material expression of networked meaning-making processes and common understanding of technology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventSTS Italia Conference: Dis/Entangling Technoscience: Vulnerability, Responsibility and Justice - University of Trieste / online, Trieste, Italy
Duration: 17 Jun 202119 Jun 2021
Conference number: 8th


ConferenceSTS Italia Conference
LocationUniversity of Trieste / online
Internet address


  • STS
  • sociomateriality
  • educational research


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