The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 115–125 | Cite as

Using Activity Theory to Analyse Contradictions in English Teachers’ Technology Integration

  • Ardi MarwanEmail author
  • Trudy Sweeney
Regular Article


This paper reports on a qualitative research project investigating the integration of technology by three English teachers in a public secondary school in Indonesia. Third generation activity theory and Engeström and Sannino’s (J Organ Change Manag 24(3):368–387, 2011) methodological framework for the identification and analysis of different types of discursive manifestations of contradictions are used to identify tensions within and between the activity systems of the teachers and school management related to the expectation that teachers make use of the school’s investment in technology. Four types of contradictions are identified: a dilemma related to teachers’ perceived value and use of technology for personal and professional purposes; a conflict focused on the support required for teachers’ technology integration; a conflict related to teachers’ workload and a critical conflict related to the silencing of teachers in decision making. The identification of these contradictions highlights the necessity for policy makers, school leaders, teachers and the research community to work collaboratively to ensure that students have opportunities to use technology for their social, civic and economic well-being.


Activity theory Contradictions Teachers English Integration Technology ICT 


  1. Albion, P. A., Tondeur, J., Forkosh-Baruch, A., & Peeraer, J. (2015). Teachers’ professional development for ICT integration: Towards a reciprocal relationship between research and practice. Education and Information Technologies, 20(5), 655–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aldunate, R., & Nussbaum, M. (2013). Teacher adoption of technology. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 519–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Hujran, O., Al-Debei, M., Chatfield, A., & Migdadi, M. (2015). The imperative of influencing citizen attitude toward e-government adoption and use. Computers in Human Behavior, 53, 189–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boholano, H. B. (2017). Smart social networking: 21st century teaching and learning skills. Research in Pedagogy, 7(1), 21–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chai, C. S., Koh, E., Lim, C. P., & Tsai, C. C. (2014). Deepening ICT integration through multilevel design of technological pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of Computers in Education, 1(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheng, C. K. (2008). The effect of shared decision-making on the improvement in teachers’ job development. New Horizons in Education, 56(3), 31–46.Google Scholar
  7. Dexter, S. (2008). Leadership for IT in schools. In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education (pp. 543–554). Boston: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dwyer, D., Ringstaff, C., & Sandholtz, J. (1991). Changes in teachers’ beliefs and practices in technology-rich classrooms. Educational Leadership, 48(8), 45–52.Google Scholar
  9. Eickelmann, B. (2011). Supportive and hindering factors to a sustainable implementation of ICT in schools. Journal for Educational Research Online/Journal für Bildungsforschung Online, 3(1), 75–103.Google Scholar
  10. Engeström, Y. (1999a). Expansive visibilization of work: An activity-theoretical perspective. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 8(1), 63–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Engeström, Y. (1999b). Innovative learning in work teams: analysing cycles of knowledge creation in practice. In Y. Engeström, R. Miettinen, & R. Punamäki-Gitai (Eds.), Perspectives on activity theory (pp. 377–406). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Engeström, Y. (2011). From design experiments to formative interventions. Theory and Psychology, 21(4), 598–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Engeström, Y., & Sannino, A. (2011). Discursive manifestations of contradictions in organizational change efforts: A methodological framework. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24(3), 368–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Er, E., & Kim, C. (2017). Episode-centered guidelines for teacher belief change toward technology integration. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65(4), 1041–1065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T. (2010). Teacher technology change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 255–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ertmer, P., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2013). Removing obstacles to the pedagogical changes required by Jonassen’s vision of authentic technology-enabled learning. Computers & Education, 64, 175–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall, G. (2010). Technology’s Achilles heel: Achieving high-quality implementation. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 231–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hooper, S., & Rieber, L. P. (1995). Teaching with technology. In A. C. Ornstein (Ed.), Teaching: theory into practice (pp. 154–170). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  20. Hu, L., & Webb, M. (2009). Integrating ICT to higher education in China: From the perspective of activity theory. Education and Information and Technologies, 14, 143–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jamieson-Proctor, R. (2018). Transforming learning with information and communication technologies: Insights from three decades of research. In Research conference 2018 teaching practices that make a difference: Insights from research. Camberwell, Victoria: Australian Council for Education Research (pp. 20–28).
  22. Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE Journal), 9(1), 60–70.Google Scholar
  23. Lehtinen, A., Nieminen, P., & Viiri, J. (2016). Preservice teachers’ TPACK beliefs and attitudes toward simulations. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 16(2), 151–171.Google Scholar
  24. Leont’ev, A. N. (1981). Problems of the development of mind. Moscow: Progress.Google Scholar
  25. Marwan, A., & Sweeney, T. (2010). Teachers’ perceptions of educational technology integration in an Indonesian polytechnic. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 30(4), 463–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Moyle, K. (2006). Leadership and learning with ICT: Voices from the profession. Canberra: Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.Google Scholar
  27. Newhouse, P. (2010). School leadership critical to maximising the impact of ICT on learning. Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies. Paper presented at Australian Computers in Education Conference: Digital Diversity. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Google Scholar
  28. Prytula, M., & Weiman, K. (2012). Collaborative professional development: An examination of teacher identity through the professional learning community model. Journal of Case Studies in Education, 3, 1–19.Google Scholar
  29. Robertson, I. (2008). Sustainable e-learning, activity theory and professional development. Paper presented at the Ascilite conference, 30 November–3 December, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  30. Sarafidou, J., & Chatziioannidis, G. (2013). Teacher participation in decision making and its impact on school and teachers. International Journal of Educational Management, 27(2), 170–183.Google Scholar
  31. Strudler, N., & Hearrington, D. (2008). Quality support for ICT in schools. In International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education (pp. 543–554). Boston, MA: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Sweeney, T. (2013). Understanding the use of interactive whiteboards in primary science. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(2), 217–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Voogt, J., & Knezek, G. (2018). Rethinking learning in a digital age: Outcomes from EDUsummIT 2017. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 23, 369–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yamagata-Lynch, L. C., & Haudenschild, M. T. (2009). Using activity systems analysis to identify inner contradictions in teacher professional development. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(2009), 507–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© De La Salle University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politeknik Negeri PontianakPontianakIndonesia
  2. 2.Flinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia

Personalised recommendations