Teachers and iPads in the first three years of school: Using a teacher activity system to explore factors influencing the use of tablet technology in the classroom


Clyne, Nyree 2020. Teachers and iPads in the first three years of school: Using a teacher activity system to explore factors influencing the use of tablet technology in the classroom. Thesis https://doi.org/10.26199/rafp-qn81
AuthorsClyne, Nyree
Qualification nameMaster of Education (MEd)

This thesis seeks to examine the nature of the activity system experienced by primary teachers using tablet technology in junior primary classrooms. A qualitative research project, this study was conducted as a case study with four participant teachers of students in Prep to Year Two classes (the first three years of formal schooling in the state of Victoria). Activity theory provided the framework for understanding how elements of the teacher activity system mediate use of tablet technology in their classrooms. These elements are the artefact (iPads), the subjects (teachers), rules, community and the division of labour. The object of the teacher activity system is the integration of tablet technology into junior primary classrooms. Much of the literature on technology integration in educational settings involves studies of intrinsic and extrinsic barriers and enablers facing individual teachers. Recognised barriers have included teacher skills and knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the place of technology in the classroom, along with factors such as the type and quantity of technological resources available, including hardware, software and technology support. The main finding of this study enhances thinking about barriers from the perspective of a system, rather than the individual teacher. This study found that there is a contradiction in the teacher activity system between the division of labour and the rules. Teachers in this activity system demonstrated they had the technological skills and knowledge to install software on student devices, but were prevented from doing so by the rules in the activity system dictating the division of labour for software installation. The implication of this contradiction is that the object of activity, that is integration of tablet technology in junior primary classrooms, results in an outcome whereby integration occurs less often than it otherwise might, should the contradiction be resolved. This suggests greater attention be paid to those aspects of the activity system resulting in the outcome, than a continued focus on the many internal and external barriers already known to confront teachers in their use of technologies in the classroom.

PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26199/rafp-qn81
Research GroupSchool of Education
Publisher's version
Publication dates13 Jan 2020
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