Hard to start but much harder to stop: digital technology and research in schools

Year: 2019

Author: Gard, Michael, Leahy, Deana, Lupton, Deborah, Pluim, Carolyn, Tenorio, José

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this first presentation of the symposium, we will describe the ethical and practical issues that a researcher has to face. Most of the issues that we talk about in this first presentation focused on the field work study rather than the survey study which we return to in the third presentation.

Teachers and workers at schools are busy people. Notwithstanding the research is about communication, to get in touch with teachers is a full-time job by itself. At first, we spent many hours phoning, searching and emailing for little benefit. Little by little, the sample grew slowly but steadily. We ended over a hundred interviews and observations in classrooms, gyms, staff-rooms, cafes and homes. We did not claim that we have a representative sample of anything. We broke all the statistical textbook rules. We used contacts, word-of-mouth, recommendations, chance meetings in work corridors and, finally, where the winds blew us. There were strengths and weaknesses of our sample and our journey, some of which we will talk more (!) about this in the presentation.

We conclude with two over-arching findings of this research. First, the research adds, ungainly as it is, to diverse perspectives in schools today. Of course, every researcher says much the same thing. But there are genuine reasons to ponder the changing practices and purposes in health and physical education classrooms. Second, we will give some early ‘headline’ findings of this research, including the absence of data security in HPE departments, the diversity on issues which cannot be explained by ageing the profession alone, the questions about learning in HPE and the general absence of health of young people.