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More than tools? Critical perspectives and alternative visions of technology in higher education

Digital Technology has been promoted as a crucial element for the improvement of contemporary education, and one of the key challenges to face Higher Education all over the world.  Universities are now awash with digital systems and devices, with the promise of improving the performance of students and educators by enhancing learning, boosting enrolment, retention and completion rates. Individuals everywhere increasingly engage in higher education along digital lines.  In parallel, educational technology is now a multi-billion dollar industry – involving global technology corporations in local educational provision and practice. The need to ask critical questions of the relationship higher education and technology is more pressing than ever.

Against this background, this thematic series looks at the impact of digital technology on higher education through a deliberately critical lens. We are interested in moving beyond notions of technology as an instrumental issue that is neutrally implemented, and instead develop more nuanced analyses by problematizing the claims and assumptions surrounding higher education in a digital age.

Recent critical scholarship of technology has encompassed many study area and research topics. These include the understanding of new literacies and personal competencies under the view of media and arts education, philosophy of education, community education, critical pedagogy and activist education. There are also burgeoning critiques of technology within feminist and gender studies literatures, policy studies, and emerging interest in critical realist, socio-material and post-humanist directions.

The aim of this article collection to foreground these approaches in terms of discussions of higher education and technology.

Edited by:  Linda Castañeda and Neil Selwyn

Research article

Magnetic and multistable: reinterpreting the affordances of educational technology

The concept of affordances has become a popular analytical tool in educational technology. The present article, however, argues that the current understanding of affordances does not adequately address the use...

Jesper Aagaard

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 2018 15:4
Published on: 1 March 2018

Research article 

The hidden architecture of higher education: building a big data infrastructure for the ‘smarter university’

Universities are increasingly organized and managed through digital data. The collection, processing and dissemination of Higher Education data is enabled by complex new data infrastructures that include both ...

Ben Williamson

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 2018 15:12
Published on: 8 March 2018

Review article 

A critical review of mobile learning integration in formal educational contexts

The use of digital technology in the learning process and teaching practices in formal teaching is highly dependent on the ability of teachers of introducing it without jeopardizing the richness of the classro...

Luís Francisco Mendes Gabriel Pedro, Cláudia Marina Mónica de Oliveira Barbosa and Carlos Manuel das Neves Santos

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 2018 15:10
Published on: 15 March 2018