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Digital Futures for Education

Module titleDigital Futures for Education
Module codeEFPM316
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Judith Kleine Staarman (Convenor)

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will explore the trajectory and possible future implications of digital technology for education. You will engage with some of the key concepts in learning and technology, such as creativity, ubiquity and sharing; and will use these ideas to critically consider emerging educational practice and new technologies and pedagogy. Using a variety of digital tools, face-to-face seminars (for campus students) and online activities, and drawing on a range of literature from educational technology, e-learning and psychology, you will not only develop your critical understanding of issues around technology in education, you will also discuss, debate and theorise with other students what the digital future of education may look like.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Through an exploration and discussion of theoretical, professional and practical applications of new technology in education, the module aims to develop your critical understanding of how technology shapes education, both now and in the future.  There is a strong focus on the social nature of learning with new technology and you will familiarize yourself with a range of digital tools for education, such as twitter, blogging and wikis as well as asynchronous discussions and digital games. You will be strongly encouraged to reflect on and link back your ideas to your own practice and experiences.

Specifically the module will enable you to:

develop a conceptual, critical and experiential understanding of the social nature of learning with new technology;

identify possible affordances of technological tools for teaching and learning;

identify and interpret educational theory and research and relate this to educational practice with new technology;

identify and interpret evidence and discuss this in the context of academic and professional reading work independently and with originality;

develop a critical understanding of ethical issues involved in teaching and learning with new technology

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate a systematic understanding of theoretical perspectives and practical concerns in the area of educational technology;
  • 2. demonstrate a critical understanding of the nature of learning processes around new technology, with a specific focus on social aspects of teaching and learning;
  • 3. demonstrate an ability to critically reflect on the affordances of technological tools for teaching and learning;
  • 4. demonstrate an ability to synthesise relevant theoretical perspectives and arguments in current debates about core dilemmas in educational technology;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. identify systematically and evaluate insightfully current research and advanced scholarship relevant to the field of educational technology, creativity and thinking;
  • 6. explore critically the multiple lenses through which educational technology can be interpreted and developed;
  • 7. evaluate and critique ideas and concepts encountered on the pathway in the light of different theoretical approaches;
  • 8. apply theoretical insights, through critical reflection, to your study of the pathway;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. demonstrate the ability to identify and critically discuss current issues in educational technology;
  • 10. demonstrate the ability to construct organised, structured, critically reflective and analytic writing;
  • 11. demonstrate the ability to manage time and engagement in the context of masters level study that has a high level of independent study;
  • 12. demonstrate the ability to take the initiative in contributing collaboratively in interactive learning contexts; and
  • 13. demonstrate communication skills both oral and written and in on-line contexts.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The precise structure of the module varies year by year, but in general, the first cluster of sessions will focus on some of the key concepts of digital education, such as computer-supported collaborative learning, communities of inquiry and affordance theory. We will engage with these theoretical ideas through engagement with a range of digital tools such as wikis, blogs, twitter and/ or games.

 In the second cluster of sessions, we will reflect on some of the core dilemmas for technology in education, such as the promise of openness versus the threat of surveillance and cyber bullying, the promise of democracy versus the danger of control and the loss of literature versus new literacies. There will be further opportunity to discuss experiences and ideas with fellow students through digital media.

In addition, there will be some practical experiences, for instance through a school visit and a session on multi-touch technology, which will further enhance your understanding of the links between digital technology, practice and pedagogy.

Throughout the module, you will participate in online activities, and a host of online material and digital tools will be made available for both campus and distance students. You will be required to write and develop a blog, which will enable you to present your developing ideas to peers and to critically reflect on the module content in relation to educational practice and the wider literature. You will also need to comment on other students’ blogs and the feedback you receive will form the basis of a reflective and critical re-drafting of your own blog for the main assessment of the module.

Your final submission will be a referenced, theorized and critical reflective blog, containing various sections and topics, which will be explained in the module. The blog will be submitted near the end of the second term, to allow you to develop your blog in depth and to widen the scope of your blog as a result of experiences in other modules on the course.

Online discussions and contributions to the blogs as comments will also form part of the work that will be assessed. Formative assessment includes video blog (vlog) post in which you are asked to review an educational app. This video blog post will be peer reviewed. Moreover, there will be a variety of activities throughout the module, in which you will be asked to reflect, discuss and debate with other students, which will be formatively assessed by the course tutors.



Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities30The teaching sessions will take on a variety of forms, including 9 weekly online and face to face seminars (1-3 hours) and pre-recorded lectures, additional online sessions via a range of collaboration tools (i.e. Adobe Connect, ELE), one practice based session (either in Exeter, or local to student)
Guided independent study120Engagement with specific online materials, readings and tasks, set each week in the seminars and on ELE
Guided independent study90Preparation for assignments
Guided independent study60Self-directed study related to module (additional guided readings and online discussions with staff and fellow students)


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Create a video blog post in which you critically review an educational app (for iOS/ Android) .2,500 words equivalent1-13Oral and written peer assessment and tutor feedback
Critically reflect on the various topics that are presented in the module and discuss your ideas with other students in the online discussion forum, blogs and other social media that will be utilisedThroughout the module1-13Written peer assessment and tutor feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Theorised learning blog907,000 words 1-13Written summative feedback
Contributions to online discussions10500 words1-13Written summative feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Theorised learning blogRe-submission of blog (90%)1-136 weeks
Contributions to online discussionsEssay (500 words) about one of the topics discussed in the module (10%)1-136 weeks

Re-assessment notes

The assessment of contributions to online discussions will be re-assessed by the submission of a 500 word essay on a topic set by the tutor, capped at the mark of 50.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Buckingham, D. (2007) Beyond Technology: Children’s Learning in the Digital Age. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Crook, C. & Lewthwaite, S. (2010) Technologies for formal and informal learning, in K. Littleton, C. Wood & J. Kleine Staarman, The International Handbook of Psychology in Education. Bingly, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Gee, J. P. (2003). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hakkarainen, K. (2010) Learning communities in the classroom, in K. Littleton, C. Wood & J. Kleine Staarman, The

International Handbook of Psychology in Education. Bingly, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Heppel, S., Chapman, C., Millward, R., Constable, M. & Furness, J. (2004). Building Learning Futures. London: CABE/RIBA. Retrieved 30th May 2005 from: (accessed 21/01/2009)

Hutchby, I and Moran-Ellis, J. (2001) Children, Technology and Culture: The Impacts of Technologies in Children's

Everyday Lives. London: Routledge .

Jewett, C. (2010) Technology and learning: A multimodal approach, in K. Littleton, C. Wood & J. Kleine Staarman, The International Handbook of Psychology in Education. Bingly, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Kirriemuir, J & McFarlane, A. (2004). Literature Review in Games and Learning. London: Nesta FutureLab. Retrieved on 30th May 2005 from:

Loveless, A. (2003) Creating Spaces in the Primary Curriculum: ICT in creative subjects. The Curriculum Journal, 14:1, 5-21.

Marsh, J. (2004) Popular Culture, Media and Digital Literacies in Early Childhood. London: Routledge .

Rasmussen, I. & Ludvigsen, S. (2010) Learning with computer tools and environments: A sociocultural perspective, in K. Littleton, C. Wood & J. Kleine Staarman, The International Handbook of Psychology in Education. Bingly, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Shaffer, D. (2007) How computer games help children to learn. New York: Palgrave/MacMillan

Veen, W. and Vrakking, B. (2006). Homo Zappiens: Reshaping learning in the digital age. London: Network Continuum Press.

Wegerif. R. (2007) Dialogic, Educational and Technology: Resourcing the Space of Learning. New York: Springer-Verlag

Wegerif, R. (2012) Dialogic: Education for the Internet Age. London, Routledge


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

ICT, Educational Technology, Futures, Dialogic

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date