Connecting school and workplace with digital technology: Teachers’ experiences of gaps that can be bridged
Keywords:vocational education, vocational teachers, boundary objects, educational technology, boundary crossing
The aim of this study is to gain more knowledge about the gaps vocational teachers identify between school and workplaces in upper secondary vocational education, and their experiences of using digital technology as boundary objects to bridge these gaps. This study builds on theories of boundary crossing and is carried out through in-depth interviews with six vocational teachers. For the analysis, a model is used, where the concept learning mechanisms is borrowed from Akkerman and Bakker. In our model, the learning mechanisms coordination, reflection and transformation represent three levels to which all the gaps identified by the teachers relate. The teachers’ pedagogical aims are qualitatively different on the different levels. At the basic level, coordination; gaps with the aim to control and to keep in touch with students in their workplaces, are identified, whereas at the next level, reflection; the gaps that need to be bridged, concern creating better conditions for the students to reflect on and connect with what they have learned in the different learning arenas. Those teachers identifying gaps on the most elaborated level, transformation, want to create a complete educational experience for their students, as they try to find a seamless way of crossing the boundaries between school and the workplace.
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