The Role of Technology in Shaping Student Identity During Transitions to University

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The establishment and negotiation of a new and incoming student identity during their transition to university is traditionally a healthy area of research, yielding many interesting results about how to support students in this transitionary period. However, there is little research that acknowledges and explores the increasingly vital and central role that technology plays for students during this transitionary period. Given the pervasiveness of technology, and the new forms of place-related identity practices that can emerge through digital technology, there is a need for research that explores the role technology plays in how students are experiencing the various social, academic and physical spaces of university. Drawing on the ideas presented in Latour’s Actor-Network Theory, and Lefebvre’s ideas of the (re)presentation of social space, this chapter details the results of a focus group held with new students in their fifth week of study at a UK campus university. The findings reveal a number of techniques, practices, and concerns in regard to emerging student identities and practices, and their negotiation of university as a social, physical and academic space. The findings suggest that in order to better support students, both online and offline, we need to understand their emerging identities as complex sociotechnical assemblages and understand that their conceptualisations and experiences of university as a social, physical and academic space spans online and offline possibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMediated Identities in the Futures of Place: Emerging Practices and Spatial Cultures
EditorsRajendran Lakshmi Priya, Odeleye Nezhapi-Delle
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-06237-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-06236-1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2020

Publication series

NameSpringer Series in Adaptive Environments

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