In this post, we will be looking at what socio-technical plans are and how they can be implemented in different situations to solve a complex problem. Throughout this post, we will examine a case study to see how a socio-technical plan can be used to implement laptops to a school in Brazil. We will also look at and evaluate the effectiveness of the socio-technical plan used. Before we get into the case study, we will begin by defining what a socio-technical plan is.
The team socio-technical was created by researchers at the Tavistock Institute in England while looking into ways to rehabilitate soldiers from World War II (Sawyer & Mohammad Hossein, 2013). The term socio-technical can be defined as a way of linking society and technology together (Fischer & Herrmann). In some cases, this can mean merging a cutler with a technology that they would not normally have access to. The case study that we will be looking at deals with using a socio-technical plan to incorporate the use of laptops with a public school within Campinas, in São Paulo, Brazil (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013).
In 2010, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization donated 520 laptops to the Padre Emílio Miotti School (Miotti), a public school in Brazil (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). Unfortunately, Miotti school has a population of 530 individuals, which includes teachers and students (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). Hayashi and Baranauskas (2013) set out to conduct a study on how the laptops (a technical aspect) were incorporated into the Miotti school (a culture that did not previously have access to this technology) (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013).
It was found that there were both pros and cons when it came time to integrate the laptops into Miotti. One main advantage for the students was the way the laptops opened educational doors to areas they would not normally be able to access (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). By integrating laptops into the student’s cutler, the student could explore ideas that they might not have considered before (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). Another added benefit was that most of the students were able to take a laptop home allowing them to share the experience with their family members, thus expanding the cultural impact of the technology (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013).
However, not all students were able to take a laptop home. One major con was both the lack of laptops for a one-to-one distribution, and the threat that a laptop would be stolen from students living in some areas of they were taken home (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). This meant that not all students would be able to participate in homework activities, such as taking photos of nutritional facts on food items around their homes (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). Another major drawback was the logistics around charging, storing, and transporting the laptops each day (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013).
Even though there were some cons associated with the laptop program at Miotti, the program was deemed an overall success (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). By using a socio-technical plan, students at the Miotti school were able to utilize technology that they would normally not have access to in order to increase their education (Hayashi & Baranauskas, 2013). By using a socio-technical plan that introduced laptops at the Miotti school, individuals within a cutler were given the opportunity to explore new ideas and expand their knowledge.
Fischer, G., & Herrmann, T. Socio-Technical Systems – A Meta-Design Perspective. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b22d/778097b9188df27030e038e3e284b20b762c.pdf
Hayashi, E. C. S., & Baranauskas, M. C. C. (2013). Affectibility in educational technologies: A socio-technical perspective for design. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 16(1), 57-58.
Sawyer, S., & Mohammad Hossein, J. (2013). Sociotechnical approaches to the study of information systems. Retrieved from http://sawyer.syr.edu/publications/2013/sociotechnical%20chapter.pdf