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Pedagogical Ethnotechnography: A bifocal lens to understand technology in Education.

, North Carolina State University, United States

Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


Pedagogical Ethnotechnography In an attempt to understand curriculum as a technological text, I developed the concept of pedagogical ethnotechnography as a research method. Ethnotechnography has its root words in Greek origins; ethnos from the nouns nation, tribe or people, "techne" is translated as art, craft or skill and "graphy" from the verb to write. Aristotle defines "techne" as the systematic knowledge for intelligent human action. Ely (1983) defines technology as " any systematized practical knowledge, based on experimentation and/or scientific theory, which enhances the capacity of society to produce goods and services, and which is embodied in productive skills, organization, or machinery." The term ethnotechnography simply means writing about technology as experience by people within a defined boundary. Understanding Curriculum as an Ethnotechnography Text Ethnotechnography as envisaged has several branches from which lived technological experiences can be study. Ethnotechnography can be viewed as "cultural ethnotechnography", "business ethnotechnography," "medical ethnotechnography," and "Pedagogical ethnotechnography." Cultural ethnotechnography can be viewed on how members of a given group or community use or perceive technology within their culture. One major area that this may cover is the study of the "digital divide" from a cultural diversity perspective. One can also study cultural ethnotechnography from an ethnic perspective within society. Business ethnotechnography would focus on how technology is used in the business world. Medical ethnotechnography would focus on the use of technology in the medical field. Pedagogical ethnotechnography is a study of technology as a pedagogical tool as experienced by stakeholders- students, teachers, or school administrators - within an educational realm with an empirical analytic paradigm within a defined boundary set by the empirical analytic paradigm. The educational realm of pedagogical ethnotechnography spans the spectrum of educational delivery from preschool to higher education to educational policy makers. The emphasis in pedagogical ethnotechnography is the rich description of the lived experience as experienced by the participants- teachers, students, parents, administrators and policy makers. Boundaries within pedagogical Ethnotechnography The boundary that is set in pedagogical ethnotechnography is not a physical or geographical one, rather it is a scientific boundary to determine entry points in terms of skill level, perception or attitude, or usage before the lived experience and the exit point in terms of skill level, attitudes and usage after the lived experience. Procedures to conduct a pedagogical ethnotechnography 1. Identify a pedagogical ethnotechnographical issue as it is lived by participants. 2. Prior to investigation, design an empirical- analytic paradigm to determine the boundary of the lived experience. By boundary I mean, entry and exit points or pre and posttests of the experiences as lived within defined parameters. 3. Investigate the pedagogical ethnotechnographical issue as it is lived by participants 4. Reflect upon the issues, essential themes or structures that occurred within the defined boundary physically or virtually. 5. Describe the lived pedagogical ethnotechnographical issue using the art of writing supported by empirical analytic paradigm. Pedagogical Ethnotechnography and Collaborative Autobiography Ethnotechnography can be studied using collaborative autobiography of participants lived experiences with technology. Richard Butt and Danielle Raymond advocate the use of shared autobiographical works to help teachers understand their 'lived experiences'. The concept of "collective biography" is formulated to point to the appropriateness of reporting and analyzing teachers shared or common experiences. Butt and Richard gives credence to the ethnotechnographical research methodology when they state that in the process of interpreting individual and collective biographies, one might blend qualitative and quantitative aspects of educational experiences. Pedagogical Ethnotechnography and Phenomenology Phenomenology is that form of inquiry, which focuses on human perception and experience. As one can see from the definitions, phenomenology and pedagogical ethnotechnography share similarities but there are stark differences between the two. · Both theories study the world as it is lived. Phenomenology seeks to produce knowledge of what it means to be human. Ethnotechnography seeks to understand what it means to be human in using technology as a pedagogical tool. Also, with ethnotechnography, lived experience means both physical and virtual. Virtual in the sense of what is observed via e-mail, listserv, forums, teleconferencing and e-chat databases. · Phenomenology theory seeks to ask the "what" instead of "how" questions. Pedagogical ethnotechnography asks both the "what" and the "how" questions. · Van Manen states that phenomenology is a conscious practice of thoughtfulness and always embodies a poetic quality. I also envisage ethnotechnography as a conscious practice of thoughtfulness but not limited to poetic quality. I envisage a blissful harmony between empirical- analytic paradigm and poetic quality. One in which poetic articulation becomes the lead singer and empirical-analysis the backup singer. · Phenomenology theory begins with a single case, moves to the universal, and returns to the single instance. Once ethnotechnographical theory takes off with a single case, it simultaneously develops universal and single tentacles to support both single and universal instances. Some Benefits of Pedagogical Ethnotechnography 1. The qualitative and quantitative aspects compliment and validate each other in terms of the data collected and analyzed. 2. The disparities between qualitative and quantitative issues, if apparent are easily identified within the same study rather than in future studies. 3. The findings of pedagogical ethnotechnography are easily generalized to the target population.


Bull, P.H. (2002). Pedagogical Ethnotechnography: A bifocal lens to understand technology in Education. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2483-2484). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved October 19, 2020 from .