The first article “Unfitting, uncomfortable, unacademic: a sociological reading of an interactive mobile phone app in university lectures” considers the problem of using phone applications in university lectures from the sociological perspective. The study explores students’ designs of a mobile learning app that was introduced into lectures during a university course (Drew & Mann, 2018). Students mostly rejected the app, considering it a socially awkward experience and a non-academic way of learning. The article highlights the limitations of using technology for education and states that the technology needs to be implemented with the required feedback from the students.
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The sociological implications of educational technologies highlighted through this research are mostly negative. They are inequality, integration, and tradition. The inequality is created by the digital divide. Students experienced social anxiety because their questions and answers were publicly visible to their peers (Drew & Mann, 2018). They resisted using these technologies out of fear that their answers would be scrutinized by both the teacher and colleagues.
The second implication of educational technology is integration. It is important to not only introduce the technology but also integrate it into the workflow. The researchers stated that integrating technology is not as easy as adapting technology to the existing classroom environment (Drew & Mann, 2018). The integration becomes a process of collaboration and negotiation to meet the contextualized learning needs of students.
The third implication is traditional education. Introducing applications should not replace the traditional education system entirely. The researchers made a conclusion that there is a need to approach app integration in a way that does not merely supplement traditional education, but rather develops an educational ecosystem in which the app is integral to how learning takes place (Drew & Mann, 2018).
All in all, for me as a student it was interesting to see how other students perceive the educational system and what changes they feel are needed to be made. I personally do not think using applications in learning is very uncomfortable and unfitting, but I do agree that it is crucial to implement the new technology gradually and thoughtfully.
The second article “Digital Learning in the UK: Sociological Reflections on an Unequal Marketplace” focuses on digital learning in the UK. The article focuses online learning market in the UK. It is very segmented as it ranges from “premium” offers at the high to a medium level that are aimed at socially privileged student consumers to the lower region of low-rated institutions aimed at middle-and low-income groups (Perrotta, 2018). Thus, the educational terrain becomes highly fragmented and hinders students’ progress.
The sociological implications stated in the research are globalization, segmentation, and socialization. Digital learning was framed as a solution to the current crisis in higher education as institutions compete for local and international students and engage in a frenzy of cross-national expansion while experiencing rapid technological change (Perrotta, 2018, p. 170). However, in the global landscape more research on different socio-economic backgrounds is needed to create successful online education platforms without fragmentation.
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This article highlighted many issues that less advantaged groups in the UK may face in the process of digital education. I liked how the article explains the demographical tendencies from the marketing perspective in the online learning market. I also agree with the conclusion that the socio-economic background of students needs to be taken into the account to create healthy educational terrain.
Drew, C., & Mann, A. (2018). Unfitting, uncomfortable, unacademic: a sociological reading of an interactive mobile phone app in university lectures. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 15, 43. Web.
Perrotta C. (2018). Digital learning in the uk: sociological reflections on an unequal marketplace. Social Sciences, 7(10), 170. Web.