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Speculative method in digital education research

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-229
JournalLearning, Media and Technology
Volume42
Issue number2
Early online date28 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Abstract

The question of ‘what works’ is currently dominating educational research, often to the exclusion of other kinds of inquiries, and without enough recognition of its limitations. At the same time, digital education practice, policy and research over-emphasises control, efficiency and enhancement, neglecting the ‘not-yetness’ of technologies and practices which are uncertain and risky. As a result, digital education researchers require many more kinds of questions, and methods, in order to engage appropriately with the rapidly shifting terrain of digital education, to aim beyond determining ‘what works’, and to participate in ‘intelligent problem solving’ (Biesta 2010) and ‘inventive problem-making’ (Michael 2012). This paper introduces speculative methods as they are currently used in a range of social science and art and design disciplines, and argues for the relevance of these approaches to digital education. It synthesises critiques of education’s over-reliance on evidence-based research, and explores speculative methods in terms of epistemology, temporality and audience. Practice-based examples of the ‘teacherbot’, ‘artcasting’, and the ‘tweeting book’ illustrate speculative method in action, and highlight some of the tensions such approaches can generate, as well as their value and importance in the current educational research climate.

    Research areas

  • digital education research, methodology, speculative method, inventive approaches, not-yetness

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