“Entangled pedagogy” is a way of thinking about complexity in education, and how different elements combine to in emergent activity.
In the diagram above (which is more fully explained in the Entangled Pedagogy OER and journal paper), I try to show how putting technology or pedagogy first or last is an illusion. One reason is because both technology and pedagogy are always already there when we begin the design process. Pedagogy is already there, in the form of established practices, traditions, cultures and institutional structures. New technologies cannot steamroller over all of this; they must be integrated into what is already there and will quickly become entangled in the combination of elements. Technology is also always already there, in the form of entrenched systems, ubiquitous software (think of MS Word or Powerpoint, or email), security and ID protocols, the devices and apps that students use outside the classroom, and more. I would also count pens, paper, desks, chairs, and buildings among the technologies that are already present or available before any given educational activity is designed.
Trying to put technology or pedagogy first is also indicative of technological or pedagogical determinism (the idea that either technologies or educators drive social change independently of other contributing factors). From an entangled view, outcomes and agency are negotiated between various stakeholders and elements. I suggest that, rather than thinking of a technology / pedagogy dichotomy (or of technology or pedagogy as driving education), we think of a mutual shaping of methods, technologies, purposes, values, and contexts. This gives more clarity around what to keep in mind as we iteratively attend to different aspects of design. The last column in the diagram above shows an aspirational view of how educational stakeholders can work together (through openness, honesty and an acceptance of uncertainty and imperfection) to generate distributed, responsive and ethical educational knowledge. I hope that this gives us a basis for an interesting and helpful chat about how these ideas might apply across a range of different educational setting. You may wish to try this activity before joining the chat on Wednesday evening:
Think of a specific educational activity where you are (e.g. an undergraduate lecture, a postgraduate seminar, PhD supervision, etc.). Make a list (the longer the better) of relevant people, methods, technologies, contextual factors, purposes, and values involved.
Note from organising team: this chat leads us on from #LTHEchat 245 Teaching Teams. See the tweets here.
Fawns, T. (2022). An Entangled Pedagogy: Looking Beyond the Pedagogy—Technology Dichotomy. Postdigital Science and Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-022-00302-7.
Fawns (2020). Entangled pedagogy diagrams Open Educational Resource: https://open.ed.ac.uk/an-entangled-pedagogy-views-of-the-relationship-between-technology-and-pedagogy/
Tim Fawns is a Senior Lecturer in the Edinburgh Medical School at the University of Edinburgh, and Co-Director of the MSc Clinical Education. His research interests are in clinical, digital, higher and postgraduate education. Tim is moving to the Monash Education Academy at Monash University in January 2023.