You're always online: Negotiating internet temporalities in the secondary school

Nicola Frances Johnson


Teachers regularly state there is not enough ‘time’ to get through curriculum or to teach children or to attend to the multiple demands expected of the profession. Drawing upon in-depth ethnographic studies of three Australian secondary schools, this paper outlines and then contrasts how different groups of teachers and principals view internet technologies alongside their understandings of time. This is particularly important given that everyday actions generate temporal qualities and these rhythms, practices and rituals construct our sense of time. The research points to how for a group of educators in one school, their sense of autonomy and control was heightened when using internet technology as it increased their capacity of when they could communicate and how much could be communicated, facilitating greater temporal communication. The paper demonstrates how some teachers and principals are able to make the most of technology to transverse constructions and subjectivities surrounding temporal control. In contrast, findings from participant groups in other schools suggest teachers are burdened by internet technology which led to a reduced sense of autonomy and control over their time.

The paper explores how analogue practices surrounding the structured notions of time and conceptions surrounding the use and understanding of time are being newly mediated by internet technology and internet practices within schools. As teachers and students have the ability to be ‘always online’, the paper concludes by discussing how this impacts on students’ learning, and teachers’ health, sociability, practice and productivity.


temporality, time, online, school, qualitative

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