What is it about?

This article deploys activity theory to explain four ways humans interact with digital technologies. Avoiding a technologically deterministic perspective, humans are positioned as active agents capable of identifying, taking up, modifying and even subverting established technology uses in pursuit of meaningful objectives. At the same time, attention is given to the social aspects of technology use. This study demonstrates the vitality of activity theory for better understanding human interaction with digital technologies.

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Why is it important?

This study articulates a human-centric, social needs-based approach to the use of digital technologies. In this way, it helps educators and other teaching and training professionals to develop a deeper and more positive understanding of digital technology acceptance and use.


This study, written while living in Kyiv, Ukraine, resulted from an extensive exploration of Soviet cultural-historical psychology as it was originally developed by Vygotsky and Leontiev beginning in the 1920s and later expanded by the Finnish educationalist Engestrom from the 1980s.

Dr Todd JB Blayone
University of Ontario Institute of Technology

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This page is a summary of: Theorising effective uses of digital technology with activity theory, Technology Pedagogy and Education, August 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/1475939x.2019.1645728.
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