Technology Appropriation occurs when someone puts into use a technology in a goal directed activity while the properties of the technology, and the acts required to accomplish the goal by means of the technology, are unacquainted. When someone is presented with a new technology, he or she appropriates this tool by ‘adapting’ it in a goal-directed activity. That someone has to make sense of the properties of the tool, and find ‘a way of doing’ to perform the activity. When a group of people is presented with a tool, technology appropriation occurs on the level of the group. In this case, the group has to make sense of the technology, and adapt it in a joint activity. Technology makes certain rules and resources available, and it provides opportunities for interaction that would be hard to achieve without the technology. However, technology appropriation does not simply refer to acquisition of knowledge about an object, or to ‘learning how to’ do or apply something with the technology. Appropriation of a technology simultaneously transforms user and technology. It does not only cause change in the knowledge and skill of the user, but it also causes change in the properties of the technology. Central to the concept of appropriation is a mutual shaping. The concept implies a process of social construction in which the actions and thoughts of the technology user are shaped through the use of the technology, while at the same time the meaning and effects of the technology are shaped through the users’ actions.
- What is Technology Appropriation? Maarten Overdijk and Wouter van Diggelen