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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The influence of ubiquitous computing on teacher-student relationships Jones, William


The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of independent school teachers’ perceptions of how a one-to-one computing program influenced various dimensions of the teacher-student relationship and the roles of teachers and students within that relationship. In particular, it examined the impact of ubiquitous computing on the pedagogical role of the teacher and the balance of power and control within the teacher-student relationship. It also investigated how the use of laptops influenced communication patterns between teachers and students and affected the closeness of their relationships. This qualitative study employed a single-site, descriptive case study design. Interviews were conducted with 15 teachers with varying ICT experience across a range of subjects in a suburban, K-12 independent school. The school provided all students in grades 5 – 12 with a personal laptop computer and networked wireless access to the Internet. A variety of theoretical perspectives drawn from the literature on relationship variables and learning theories shaped the context for analysis. Three major findings emerged from the data analysis. Teachers perceived that: 1) the integration of technology altered their pedagogical roles and relationships with respect to the focus and approach of instruction, the subsequent motivation and engagement of students, and the overall classroom dynamics, 2) open access to knowledge enabled by ubiquitous computing served as a catalyst in shifting the balance of power within the teacher-student relationship, 3) online communication helped them to build and maintain closer bonds and stronger relationships with students. Overall, teachers perceived that the use of technology in this setting enhanced teacher-student relationships. This is significant because high quality teacher-student relationships correlate positively with a variety of academic outcomes (Davis, 2006). The findings from this study have implications for teacher education, instructional design, and policy development with respect to technology integration and its potential to support 21st Century learning. Further research in a broader range of educational settings and inclusive of student perspectives would complement this research and assist in further shaping and informing teaching practice in technology-rich learning environments.

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