Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Citation and Metadata
Document Actions
Full Text

Athabasca University Press, Athabasca, CA, 2022

ISBN: 9781771993500 (print), 9781771993517 (PDF, online)

URL: (last check 2022-10-17)

URL: (last check 2022-10-17)

Book Description

The criticisms leveled at online education during the Covid-19 pandemic revealed not only a lack of understanding about how educational technology can be deployed effectively, but a lack of imagination. By using metaphors as a mental model, Weller enables educators to move beyond pragmatic concerns into more imaginative and playful uses of technology and to critically examine the appropriate implementation and adoption of ed tech.

Martin Weller is professor of educational technology, in the Institute of Educational Technology at the UK Open University. He is the chair of the Open University's multidisciplinary degree, the Open Programme, which is the largest degree in the UK. He is the author of The Battle For Open (2014), The Digital Scholar (2011), and 25 Years of Ed Tech (2020).

Excerpt from Weller, M. (2022) Metaphors of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press., p. 8

"Metaphors, then, are a powerful means of understanding or explaining topics. Lukeš (2019) proposes three uses of metaphor in explanation.

  • Metaphor as invitation. When learners are new to a subject, a metaphor can provide a route in, such as the atom and solar system example, but Lukeš argues that this type of use “does not help understanding. It just provides emotional support along the arduous journey towards that understanding.” That is, a deeper understanding of the target domain is required, and too often people stop at this stage.

  • Metaphor as instrument. This involves exploring both target and domain and the connection between them and finding where the metaphor does not apply. This leads to a deeper understanding and a useful mental model.

  • Metaphor as catalyst. This requires a deeper knowledge of the target domain, and here the metaphor allows manipulation of both elements, and the learner will make independent judgments and predictions.

Using this classification, the metaphors in this book aim to act as instruments, hopefully with the potential for being catalysts if readers pursue them further. My intention is to provide metaphors of sufficient richness to allow exploration, which will include considering when the metaphor does not apply, what its limits are, and a possible alternative."