This article-based thesis examines students’ learning with digital tools in Science and English writing classes and teachers’ facilitating the learning process. The thesis also provides an insight into the implications of learning with digital technology for the development of students’ understanding of what it means to learn and the design of digital tools.
Two case studies have been conducted to examine students’ learning: i) with digital animations in Science in the Norwegian lower secondary school and ii) in the writing process in English in the upper secondary school in Norway with the feedback from the computer-based program EssayCritic. The data consist of video recordings of observations of students’ learning in groups with digital tools. The qualitative analyses of student-student and teacher-student interactions are complimented by the quantitative analyses of the pre- and posttests and the number of teachers’ interventions in students’ learning at different times of the learning process.
Cultural-historical theory and, in particular Galperin’s conceptualisation of learning, inform the theoretical perspective and the analytical framework. Three aspects of the learning process are examined: 1) the complexity of learning with technology: how material and social resources interplay in supporting and guiding students’ learning; 2) how students learn in the writing process in English with the feedback from EssayCritic and collaborating peers and 3) how teachers facilitate students’ writing process in English with and without technology.
The thesis contributes to the research on learning with digital tools in three ways: i) by examining students’ learning with digital resources and relating students’ interactions with technology to broader questions about how students may enhance their capacity to learn when engaging with digital tools; ii) by conceptualising the role of the teacher facilitating students’ learning and iii) by employing the cultural-historical perspective and, in particular the contributions of Galperin as an analytical tool to understand what students do at different times in the learning process.
The contributions of this study may also have implications for the design of digital tools to enhance students’ capacity to learn in becoming life-long learners in the 21st century.