1 Forskningsprogram for Medier og IT i læringsperspektiv, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Videnskab, teknologi og læring, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University3 Department of Curriculum Research, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University
In 2006 I spent two months at a school observing 5 and 6 graders using the construction based learning game Lego Robolab, as part of My PhD project where I investigate the variation of authority figurations around technologies in school. Lego Robolab is an educational tool, which gives the students the possibility of building objects with Lego bricks in combinations with engines and sensors, and to control their creation through a computer program. In the example, this paper addresses, children and lego boxes were distributed to different computer workstations in two connected rooms. Electronic devises, children, half build robots and teachers were more or less constantly moving, and circulating in the two classrooms. I argue that this is challenging what in common practise would be called the teacher's authority. Through the empirical example provided, and in line with the sociomaterial engagement of Science and Technology Studies and Actor-Network Theory (STS/ANT), I will suggest an interpretation of authority as a social and material entangled configuration, which adds to the more conventional understanding of authority as a relational matter between humans. In the first part of the paper Vinciane Despret's (2004) notion ‘making available' will be used to unfold new propositions and boundaries of authority in the fluid movable landscape of computer enhanced learning. In the second part of the paper, I will advocate that circulations of authorizations occur. When expectations are fulfilled and the teaching succeeds, then the teacher authorizes children to become good robot constructers and experimenters. The children authorize Robolab to be a well designed system that enables them to build robots. By supplying Lego brick, sensors and computer software, Lego Robolab authorize the children by making robot-building available, and the children fulfil the circle by authorizing the teacher through building the robot he expected them to do. I argue that this enables a ‘full' circulation of authorization to be crafted; an expectation of trust and interest are included. At the end of the paper I will discuss if we can leave definitions of authority as something one has due to human relations in advance of processuel and sociomaterial definition where authority is a relational achievement of human and nonhuman coordination. In conclusion I will point towards the effects of such a definition in relation to the discussions of changed teacher roles within technology driven teaching.