Member Spotlight

Professor Cathy Lewin

Manchester Metropolitan University

Technology, Pedagogy and Education

29th December 2020


Using activity theory, we examine the educational response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States and the United Kingdom. We analysed key news media publications in each country between 1 February and 31 May 2020. We critically examine the tensions and contradictions within and between interrelated systems (schooling, educational policy, home learning). We consider how remote digital pedagogy was perceived and enacted by different stakeholders: teachers, parents, policymakers. Tensions arose between digital pedagogy, system rules and teachers’ digital skills, leading to different experiences for students. The division of labour shifted; parental responsibility for managing children’s learning increased. Digital equity issues prevailed in both countries (technology access, social support), disadvantaging students from low-income families. National educational policy system responses were more coordinated in the UK than in the US. More research is needed on the remote learning activity system, from various stakeholders’ perspectives, to further investigate the tensions identified here.


Greenhow, C., Lewin, C., & Staudt Willet, K.B. (online first, 2020) The educational response to Covid-19 across two countries: a critical examination of initial digital pedagogy adoption, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, DOI: 10.1080/1475939X.2020.1866654







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