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The English Language Arts teachers in this qualitative study reported somewhat negative outcomes in social and material spaces in the context of laptop technology in their classrooms. These outcomes included: social isolation, limited communication with a teacher or peers, and off-task behavior. In an attempt to uncover the reasons for these rather negative results, the researcher analyzed these teachers’ classroom environments and instructional engagements with laptop technology, since these practices are believed to be reflective of these teachers’ current beliefs about instruction and technology’s role in it. Some of the reasons the researcher uncovered were: limited physical space, cumbersome furniture, poor technology infrastructure, and the largely instrumental use of technology in numerous learning engagements. The study suggests that school administrators and policy makers develop a strategic plan to address physical constraints in each laptop classroom and adopt “a different mindset” about teacher professional development, which would compel them to put more emphasis than they currently do on pedagogy before technology, rather than technology before pedagogy, to help these teachers constructively re-envision both material and social spaces around laptop technology in their classrooms.


Author Accepted Manuscript version of an article published in:

McGrail, E. (2007). Laptop technology and pedagogy in the English language arts classroom.The Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 15(1), 59-85.

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