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The effect of technology on learning democracy

Else Lauridsen (Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, Denmark)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the use of information technology in schools can influence students’ democratic comprehension.


First, two different ideas of democracy are introduced and how these ideas are linked to cognitivistic and social constructivistic learning theories, respectively, is illustrated. Next, a case study is described, where Engeström’s mediational triangle is used for analysing how the use of interactive whiteboards (IWB) influences the teaching of democracy in a fifth-grade school class.


The paper lists a set of preconditions and recommendations for a use of IWB as support for students’ experience of democracy as a way of living.

Research limitations/implications

As the paper focuses on research design and development of didactical designs, future research and articles can further study the effects of the didactical designs and the democratic comprehension supported hereby. The paper is set in a Danish school context.

Practical implications

It is argued that the IWB can be used as support for developing the students’ democratic comprehension by focusing on and, if necessary, changing the elements of the activity system, e.g. the rules and the roles concerning the use of the IWB.


The paper’s linkage of democratic ideas, learning theory and information technology is relevant for researchers. Teachers can use the paper, as it offers didactical principles for using information technology as support for students’ democratic comprehension.



Lauridsen, E. (2014), "The effect of technology on learning democracy", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 323-336.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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