Bangalore's Challenge: The Social Construction of Educational Technology in India’s Silicon Valley

By Erik Byker.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As India aspires to become the information and communication technology (ICT) leader in the world, the education of its children is a primary concern. While India’s policymakers expect ICT to usher in promising education changes, there is a limited understanding of how computers are used and negotiated even at the basic level of schooling in India: the elementary school. This paper is an ethnographic study of the meanings and uses for computer technology in elementary schools in Bangalore, India. The purpose is to describe and examine how computer technology is socially constructed in Bangalore’s fifth grade classrooms. Using case study research design, the study investigates and compares the social shaping of computer technology in a socioeconomic cross-section of four elementary schools. The research questions and methodological approach are framed by the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) theory. The paper’s data are comprised of field notes from extensive field observations, student and teacher questionnaires, teacher interviews, student focus group interviews, and artifacts, like digital pictures, of each elementary school setting. The whole notion of how computer technology is socially constructed in Bangalore’s elementary schools is a complex phenomenon. The study thickly describes and offers various interpretations to clarify this complexity. This study illustrates how students and teachers assign meanings to computer technology in relationship to the school’s curriculum and pedagogical practices. The paper's findings enhance the understandings of the way that social groups, in Bangalore’s elementary schools, use and assign meaning to computer technology.

Keywords: Computer Use And India’s Schools, Elementary Schooling And Bangalore, Educational Technology’s Meanings And Uses, Ict, The Social Construction Of Technology Theory,

Global Studies Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.25-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 410.683KB).

Dr. Erik Byker

Assistant Professor, Department of Elementary Education, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, USA

Dr. Erik Jon Byker is an assistant professor in the Department of Elementary Education at Stephen F. Austin State University. He has a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University and holds a M.Ed. Degree from the University of Virginia. Erik's research is international and comparative in scope as he has conducted ethnographic field studies in England, Cuba, India, South Korea, and across the United States on how students and teachers use and construct meaning for computer technology. Over the 2010-2011 academic year, he lived in Bangalore, India, and collected his dissertation data on how an economic cross-section of Bangalore's elementary schools were using computer technology in their schools. Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, Erik taught for over a decade at the middle and high school level in Arlington County, VA, and Washington, DC. Those experiences included teaching for the Close Up Foundation, the Global Young Leaders Congress, and in a multi-aged classroom of Grades 5 and 6.


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