SIG Webinar: DiP Spotlight Session: Martin Oliver “What am I talking about when I am talking about Educational Technology?”


DiP Spotlight Session: Martin Oliver “What am I talking about when I am talking about Educational Technology?”

Date: January 29, 2024 - 14.30-16.00 CET

Venue: Online via Zoom (link to join will be sent out on the day)

Fee: Free

Webinar Chair: Rikke Toft Nørgård

Deadline: January 27, 2024 - 12:00 CET

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The SIG-webinar is open to all.

DiP Speaker
Professor in Education Technology Martin Oliver, UCL Institute of Education, University College London

About the speaker
Following a PhD in Educational Technology, Martin worked as a researcher and a learning technologist, combining pragmatic support for course development with an interest in the theory and philosophy of technology. Over the last 25 years, his research has covered curriculum design, student experience and teacher identity, with a focus on the use of technology in Higher Education. He is a past president of the UK’s Association for Learning Technology, and has edited journals including Research in Learning Technology and Learning, Media and Technology.

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Abstract for DiP webinar
Research exploring the use of technology in education is often criticised for being instrumental and atheoretical. While I would agree that our conversations about ideas of ‘education’ or ‘learning’ are more explicit and better developed, I would suggest that the field has also engaged with several theories of ‘technology’.

In this webinar, I will review some of the ways in which technology has been discussed, using my own research journey to illustrate the way that the field has engaged with ideas from disciplines including cognitive science, design and sociology, leading to more recent conversations about political economies and postdigital science. In doing so, I also hope to open up discussions about relevance, and about the motivations and mess involved with this kind of interdisciplinary borrowing, which may not be visible in finished, published research.

This discussion will offer participants the opportunity to engage with, and develop, a repertoire of theories of technology that may have relevance to their work. Time will be set aside for participants to discuss how these might relate to their own work and research. There will also be time to discuss specific issues and ideas arising from the background papers shared in advance of the webinar.

Resources for the Spotlight Session
An, T. & Oliver, M. (2021) What in the world is educational technology? Rethinking the field from the perspective of the philosophy of technology, Learning, Media and Technology, 46 (1), 6-19,

Oliver, M. (2016) What is Technology? In Rushby, N. & Surry, D. (Eds), The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology, 35-57. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell.

Oliver, M. (2012) Learning Technology: theorising the tools we study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44 (1), 31-43.

Oliver, M. (2005) The problem with affordance. The E-Learning Journal, 2 (4), 402‑413.

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