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Teachers’ challenges and school digitalization

Exploring how teachers learn about technology integration to meet local teaching needs

Time: Thu 2022-09-29 10.00

Location: D37, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Technology and Learning

Doctoral student: Tiina Leino Lindell , Digitalt lärande, Digitalt lärande

Opponent: Professor Johan Lundin,

Supervisor: Professor Stefan Hrastinski, Digitalt lärande; Forskare Fredrik Enoksson, Digitalt lärande

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Today’s teachers are constantly faced with challenges. Society is changing, which places new demands on the content of education and teachers’ knowledge. Many countries have introduced digital competence to their curricula to prepare students for the digital society. However, integrating technology to fulfill these obligations can be difficult for teachers. The integration can be challenging as teachers must know how to meet the curriculum requirements and the needs of the students in the local context.

This dissertation aims to increase understanding of how technology teachers learn about technology integration to meet their teaching needs based on specific challenges. The aim is investigated with a two-part intervention process based on cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) and qualitative methods. The first part considers how technology teachers want to integrate technologies to satisfy their teaching needs and how these visions change when confronted with students’ visions of technology integration. The second part explores how technology teachers are challenged in their obligation to fulfill the curriculum requirements and the organizational support they need to handle the situation. The intervention then examines how these challenges stimulate the technology teachers’ knowledge of technology integration. Finally, the second part investigates how students’ visions of technology integration stimulate the technology teachers’ knowledge of students’ needs.

The results show that the technology teachers expanded their knowledge as the intervention continued. Teachers were stimulated by the challenges they experienced in teaching and the visions of students. The technology teachers initially wanted the students to use mobile phones for documentation. They also wanted to introduce rules that mobile phones could only be used for school tasks. When the technology teachers got to know the students’ visions, they expanded their knowledge of what mobile phone software they could use, its objective, and necessary rules. The technology teachers also learned how to develop tasks for students, including the use of mobile phone software. However, it remains unclear why the technology teachers wanted to include certain software but not other software. Therefore, it was essential to develop the methodology to understand the phenomenon in the second part.

The second part of the intervention process shows that the participating teachers were challenged by unequal access to digital tools and that they had digital tools that were irrelevant to their teaching objectives. The teachers called for a division of labor in the municipality where the responsibility could be more clearly divided between various positions such as principals and IT staff. The technology teachers later addressed most of these challenges as they learned how to meet the digitalization requirements. With the help of students’ visions, they expanded their knowledge of which digital tools could be used for teaching. The data collection method was developed with a Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to understand which collection of digital tools the technology teachers wanted to use and regulate. The dissertation contributes new perspectives to CHAT interventions by adopting the TAM model.

The knowledge from this research can be helpful for researchers, municipalities, and schools that need to develop teachers’ knowledge based on teachers’ and students’ needs and curriculum requirements. This knowledge can also be used for national development efforts to develop teachers’ knowledge based on local needs. Hopefully, the methodological contribution also can inspire other professional groups to understand how they learn about technology integration.