Integrating sustainable education into an ICT curriculum: A study into the role of 'technology stewardship' in achieving transformative learning toward sustainability in a Saudi Arabian ICT training context for pre-service teachers

  • Afrah Alkhalaf

Student thesis: Phd


This qualitative study explores Saudi pre-service teachers’ experience of building understandings of sustainability in an ICT context. It aims to enhance transformative learning toward sustainability through integrating aspects of sustainable education into ICT curricula. It details the epistemic approaches adopted in the research, one oriented around 'technological stewardship', and explores evidence of paradigmatic shifts stemming from that approach. Action research, as seen by Kemmis (2010), with some aspiration of participatory action research, was chosen as a methodological framework, because it allows the active and collective engagement of the pre-service teachers into a learning experience, which enables access to practical data. Through the data collection methods used (Padlet, drawing maps, WhatsApp, focus group and interviews), this study brings new insight into the actual learning practices and the development of technology stewardship processes by pre-service teachers, and how they expand knowledge, perception and practices as related to sustainability. The findings of this study contribute to a growing body of knowledge in the field of sustainable education, transformative learning and technology stewardship. It adds more understanding and develops a rich picture of the technology stewarding processes with regard to sustainable education. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of the engagement in a proto-community, and the practicing of technology stewarding, in advancing sustainable education and transformative learning. Through engagement in practices like decision making about relevant resources, negotiating and developing information trajectories, developing relations with others and validating and appreciating different insights, pre-service teachers develop essential skills for sustainable education and transformative learning. These skills include developing learners’ critical thinking, holistic thinking, problem solving skills (knowing), adaptive thinking, integrative thinking (seeing), and collective action skills (doing) (Sterling, 2007). Moreover, the findings suggest that the learners build rich knowledge about sustainability and its relation to technology, and at the same time develop different levels of technology stewarding responsibilities, through gradually engaging in three levels of learning and practice: ‘learning’, ‘leading’, and ‘empowerment’. Eventually, the study suggests a pedagogical framework for designing a transformative learning experience toward sustainability in an ICT context. The above insights might benefit Saudi educational policy makers, revealing possible ways for integrating sustainable education into curricula. Furthermore, it provides practical ways for educators to plan and design a learning experience that could lead to transformative learning toward sustainability. Moreover, it offers a base knowledge for researchers who are interested in studying technology stewardship as a way of enhancing transformative learning toward sustainability.
Date of Award31 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorSusan Brown (Supervisor) & Drew Whitworth (Supervisor)


  • transformative learning
  • technology stewardship
  • sustainability
  • sustainable learning

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