University of Leicester
videoconferencing and learning final version.pdf (233.39 kB)

Videoconferencing and learning in the classroom : the effects of being an Orphan Technology?

Download (233.39 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-22, 16:31 authored by Tony Lawson, Chris Comber
Drawing on a decade of evaluation research into videoconferencing in English schools, this paper explores the relative lack of pedagogical innovation in the educational application of videoconferencing. Initial surveys on the frequency and patterns of use of videoconferencing provided baseline data for selected case studies involving in-depth interviews with key personnel involved in the deployment of videoconferencing and observations of lessons in which videoconferencing was being used. Data analysis reveals that the main models of videoconferencing use were either ‘substitution’ (videoconferencing replacing face-to-face curriculum delivery) or ‘enhancement’ (whereby videoconferencing augments traditional pedagogical practices). Examples of ‘adaptive’ use (exploring the innovative potential of videoconferencing) were relatively rare. This apparent conservatism, at odds with the emergence of shifting pedagogies with other ICT tools, was allied to videoconferencing being positioned as an ‘orphan’ technology, whereby interested teachers were offered quasi-autonomy – that is, power to innovate was limited by highly localised policy and curricular systems. The authors conclude that for videoconferencing to enter the mainstream of school ICT provision, wider learning benefits need to be demonstrated to a broader audience, so that videoconferencing can reach its transformative potential. Ways to achieve this are presented.



The International Journal of Technologies in Learning, 2014, 20 (1), pp. 69-79

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Education


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

The International Journal of Technologies in Learning


Common Ground Publishing

Copyright date


Available date


Publisher version



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications