Changing Conditions for Information Use and Learning in Swedish Schools: A Synthesis of Research

Mikael Alexandersson, Louise Limberg


This article presents findings from a series of research studies conducted between 1998 and 2010 on the ways in which knowledge formation occurs through students’ own research and on the interaction between information seeking and use and learning. Our point of departure is that information seeking and learning are closely interwoven in constantly on-going human activity. Our studies have directed particular interest to the ways in which information and communication technologies (ICTs) and new digital media shape conditions for learning. The research design was inspired by ethnographical studies, including observations, field notes, video recordings, interviews, questionnaires and documents produced in the practices studied. In the present article we have chosen to focus on four main findings common to the series of research projects, which together indicate not only changes within schools but also on a structural level. Firstly, we claim that the new digital tools which mediate information seeking and learning change the conditions for learning itself. Secondly, information seeking via new technologies changes conditions for how students assume responsibility and construct knowledge. Thirdly, new conditions for the division of responsibility and meaning-making were identified throughout all six projects. The fourth main finding concerns how the communicative structures of school were changed. We suggest that these four main findings contribute to an understanding of a gradual shift in the school discourse, which took place during the first decade of this millennium.


information and communication technology (ICT); information literacy; information seeking; information use; Swedish schools

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