The Learner and their context

April 2008 – March 2011

This project, initiated as part of Becta’s major programme of research in support of the Government’s Harnessing Technology strategy in the UK, looked at the learning opportunities afforded by young people’s uses of new technologies in their everyday lives. The focus of the research was to investigate how young people use technologies in their own contexts, away from formal education, with a particular focus on how they use those technologies in support of their learning.

The study has examined the experiences of learners right across the range of formal education, from primary school up to further and higher education, including those in non-mainstream settings such as learners in special schools, and looked after children. Where appropriate, the research also connected with parents, carers, employers and those responsible for policy implementation in local authorities.

The research incorporated a range of methods including: interviews with around 150 young people (aged 8-22, in years 4, 8, 10, FE and HE), discussing with them their experiences with new technologies in and out of school / college / university; 35 home case study visits, a nationally representative survey of 1069 young people in their homes and a series of in-depth studies of particular groups of young people, including those in families without extensive access to ICTs at home; vulnerable learners including Looked After Children and SEN learners; higher education students on vocational as well as those on non-vocational degrees; recent recruits into the workplace and their employers.


  • Davies, C., & Eynon, R. (2013) Teenagers and Technology. Hove: Routledge.
  • Eynon, R., & Malmberg L-E. (2012) Understanding the online information seeking behaviours of young people: The role of networks of support. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(6), 499-588.
  • Eynon, R., & Malmberg, L-E. (2011) A typology of young people’s Internet use: implications for education. Computers and Education, 56, 585-595.
  • Davies, C. (2011) Digitally strategic: how young people respond to parental views about the use of technology for learning in the home. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(4), 324 – 335.
  • Furlong, J., & Davies, C. (2012) Young people, new technologies and learning at home: taking context seriously. Oxford Review of Education, 38(1), 45-62.
  • Helsper E., & Eynon R. (2010) Digital natives: where is the evidence? British Educational Research Journal, 36(3): 503-320.
  • Davies, C. (2009, February 25). Are social networking sites really infantilising our teenagers? Retrieved December 19, 2013, from The Guardian:
  • Eynon, R. (2009) Mapping young people’s uses of technology in their own contexts – a nationally representative survey. Coventry: Becta