The material element of learning and technological literacy

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


There is an urgent need to rethink current approaches to the material element of learning in higher education (HE). The material element comprises analogue and digital technologies as well as spaces used for teaching and learning, and it is often seen as background or context, rather than as a contributor in the learning process. However, we argue that more attention should be paid to the actual impact of technology and spaces. The more complex and opaque technologies, such as generative AI, we implement, the bigger the need for concretisation, hence our focus is the use and impact of tangible, analogue technologies.
We present three design-based case studies (from computer science, engineering and the humanities) and examine how students experience tangible, analogue technologies in relation to their disciplinary identity and from an affective perspective. We also look at the impact of such technologies on learning activity.
Students’ interaction with tangible, analogue materials are highly influenced by disciplinary identity as well as existing conceptualisations and attitudes which can result in students’ rejecting such technologies. We interpret this as a lack of technological literacy, defined as an aware, reflected, and reflexive approach to technology, as well as missed opportunities for the material enhancement of learning processes. However, we also identified potentials such as support for embodied cognition and learning, enhanced creativity and scaffolding of peer learning. The potential of tangible, analogue technologies lies in the openness, transparency and concrete nature of their materiality; they constitute persistent referents that can be examined, shared and discussed.
We call for a more nuanced approach to technology integration in HE, and to this end, we present and discuss recommendations for implementing technologies in such a manner that students build technological literacy for their HE studies and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventDUN Conference 2024: Dansk Universitetspædagogisk konference - Vingsted active hotel & conference center, Vingsted, Denmark
Duration: 23. May 202424. May 2024


ConferenceDUN Conference 2024
LocationVingsted active hotel & conference center
Internet address


  • paper-based tools
  • materiality
  • teaching
  • learning
  • literacy


Dive into the research topics of 'The material element of learning and technological literacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this