A Geography of Connections: Networks of Humans and Materials in Mathematics Classrooms Using Handheld Technology


  • Thomas Hillman University of Gothenburg




mathematics education, technology, actor-network theory, materiality, learning, interviews, video-recorded observation, interaction analysis, activity theory


This article examines the role of materials in education by investigating the inclusion of a handheld digital technology in mathematics classrooms. By drawing on activity theory to conceptualize learning with technology and Actor-Network theory to understand the relationships between materials and humans, the use of educational technology in two secondary school mathematics classrooms is investigated. Drawing on interviews and video-recorded classroom observation, this investigation maps the patterns of relations among humans and materials as classroom socio-technical networks adapt to the inclusion of a handheld digital technology. The results present a variety of ways that the human and material actors in classroom socio-technical networks operate as an interconnected whole rather than as a set of individual interactions.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1201121


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Author Biography

Thomas Hillman, University of Gothenburg

Thomas HILLMAN has a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He is currently working at the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS) at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Thomas' research examines the design and use of technology for learning in both formal and informal settings with a focus on the mutually constitutive relationship between the development of technology and educational practices.




How to Cite

Hillman, T. (2011). A Geography of Connections: Networks of Humans and Materials in Mathematics Classrooms Using Handheld Technology. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.1.1581