The teaching and learning spaces at universities are in transformation. With the incorporation of electronic technologies like ipads, smart boards and electronic platforms like “moodle” new digital spaces are emerging in educational practices. These technological spaces are not only useful tools expanding human activities, they are also powerful socio-political “forms of life” (Langdon Winner) constituting the relationship between self and the other and transforming fundamentally the practices of teaching and learning and the processes of generating knowledge. This paper explores the meaning of digital learning spaces at universities focusing on their implications for the learning processes of students. Usually studies of technology and learning identify teaching with learning and conceptualize research from an external, third-person standpoint. Starting with a discussion of the paradoxes of the teaching-learning short-circuit I argue for a systematic inclusion of the learning subjects into the research and develop (informed by the work of Yrjö Engeström as well as Klaus Holzkamp) the analytical concepts of defensive versus expansive learning. Based on these conceptual reflections I will present some thoughts what kind of learning concepts and understandings of self and other are materialized in digital learning spaces and how these spaces relate to the development of expansive learning.
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Society for the Social Studies of Science Annual Conference 2012