A collective case study of the use of ICT in Economics courses: A sociocultural approach

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education




Lim, C. P., & Barnes, S. (2005). A collective case study of the use of ICT in economics courses: A sociocultural approach. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14(4), 489-526.


Based on a collective case study of the use of an economics Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tutorial-based package, WinEcon, in 3 British schools, this article examines the activity structures that exist in ICT-mediated lessons situated within their broader sociocultural contexts. Activity theory and its highly developed ideas of the sociocultural conceptions of human nature and cognition are adopted to frame the study. By drawing together Gifford's (1997) mediated learning model and Cole's (1995) culture as garden metaphor, the former captures the activities mediated by students, teachers, ICT, and non-ICT tools in the course, and these are situated in the latter's broader sociocultural settings of the school, education system, and society at large. Although the article provides an account of the use of WinEcon in economics courses, its emphases are on the issues and problems of ICT integration: course objectives, teaching and learning tools, participants, sociocultural constraints, activities, and design of the learning environment. Consistent with other studies of ICT integration, there are 2 interrelated points for consideration regarding the use of ICT in enculturating students to think "in an economics way": (a) pivotal role of the teacher in the design of the learning environment and (b) object of activities, sociocultural constraints, and the enculturation process.





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