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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Portals, practitioners, and public knowledge : a socio-technical analysis of digital teacher education Korteweg, Lisa Maria


This study of professional development portals developed by the UBC research consortium, the Public Knowledge Project, analyzes the research, design and implementation of these PD portals from a social as well as technological perspective. The PKP teacher education portals are examined as socio-technical systems: networks of technology, information artifacts, and people and practices interacting with the larger world of teacher education, professional knowledge practices, and educational technologies. For a teacher education portal to be accessible and usable, the users, the knowledge documents, the portal infrastructure, and the social context must be in a continuous process of enrollment and translation, aligning each other into chains of association, moving towards the goal of stabilization or realizing the portal's network. The thesis asks how we can move towards a socio-technical analysis of professional development portals in order to stave off a techno-determinist evaluation of technological artifacts that result in accounts of either doomsday failure or hypothetical success. I turn instead to an analysis of how two PKP portals made empirical differences in practitioners' professional lives and their knowledge practices, and what studying portals might tell us about information, knowledge, and social processes in teacher education. The chapters, using both empirical and analytical methods, examine the social impact of the PKP portals and the web of social and material relations in which the portals were embedded; two social worlds of teaching -pre-service and in-service- where both groups were grappling with the issues of knowledge and computer practices flooding into teaching via the Internet.

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