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Understanding and using technological affordances: a commentary on Conole and Dyke

Author(s): Tom Boyle | John Cook

Journal: Research in Learning Technology
ISSN 2156-7069

Volume: 12;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2011;
Original page

The paper by Conole and Dyke sets the context by pointing to a number of problems that inhibit the widespread, effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to support learning. They argue that this situation highlights the need to explore a theoretical basis for the use of ICT to support learning. The central argument of the paper is that the notion of affordances can make a significant contribution to this endeavour. The paper aims to articulate the potential impact of these affordances primarily through the development of a taxonomy. It draws on social constructivist theory to help understand and articulate the impact of these affordances. The concept of affordances is potentially both rich and provocative. Conole and Dyke provide a refreshing and diverse look at the theoretical basis for the use of ICT to support learning. We have structured our commentary around six questions that are provided by Conole and Dyke in their Discussion section. Whilst examining these questions we highlight various issues raised by the paper, which we believe, need further consideration and clarification.
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