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Qualitative methods are key tools for analyzing complex interactions and environments. Yet little qualitative work has been done, especially in higher education, to develop a deep understanding of technology use in the classroom. In this paper we discuss how we have used case studies to evaluate the role of learning technologies in engineering education. Using qualitative research methods, such as classroom observations, interviews and field research, we have looked at diverse topics ranging from technology adoption to cognitive change. In this paper, we present examples of our work to illustrate how these methods are used in diverse settings to understand complex education phenomena.