(In)visible technology: appropriation in professional training

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Giuseppe Ritella
Maria Martinelli
Fedela Feldia Loperfido
Maria Beatrice Ligorio


In this paper we explore evolution in the appropriation of virtual environments during the training of an individual female SME entrepreneur. The subject is participating in a project devoted to innovation of organizational practices for enhanced sustainability and the exchange of so-called “externalities”. In this investigation we distinguish between technology as the object of activity and technology as tool, and identify three utilization schemas: usage schema, instrument-mediated action schema and instrument-mediated collective activity schema. The investigation highlights the prompting role of the researcher conducting the training and the substantial difference between the narrated and acted levels of technology utilization. The findings show that technology appropriation is not necessarily a linear process proceeding from one usage schema to the next. Moreover, technology did not become an “invisible” instrument for the participant s activity. Moving up to the next schema level called for strong mediation through dialogue with the researcher, and appropriation of the schemas was often more visible in the participant’s narrative account than in her technology-mediated actions.

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