Unpacking Tasks: The Fusion of New Technology with Instructional Work
This paper discusses how a new technology (designed to help pupils with learning about Shakespeare’s Macbeth ) is introduced and integrated into existing classroom practices. It reports on the ways through which teachers and pupils figure out how to use the software as part of their classroom work. Since teaching and learning in classrooms are achieved in and through educational tasks (what teachers instruct pupils to do) the analysis explicates some notable features of a particular task (storyboarding one scene from the play). It is shown that both ‘setting the task’ and ‘following the task’ have to be locally and practically accomplished and that tasks can operate as a sense-making device for pupils’ activities. Furthermore, what the task ‘is’, is not entirely established through the teacher’s initial formulation, but progressively clarified through pupils’ subsequent work, and in turn ratified by the teacher.