28 SES 14, Datafying Education
Data is the defining feature of the Digital Age. In the past data was used to describe existing practices and contexts, now it is used to predict the future. In education it is possible to identify students at risk of drop out, predict learner outcomes, and identify and suggest suitable learning pathways. Yet, while such innovation offers important opportunities, there are also implications for the support and provision of equal educational opportunities for all. At present, the pervading discourse around the use of data in schools is increasingly one of accuracy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. While there is some merit in these claims, it is important that these relatively instrumental discussions of using data to enhance efficiency, increase transparency, support competiveness and as a tool to evaluate performance (of schools and teachers) are tempered with considered academic debate of a more critical nature. Currently, the study of how the use of data in education may be related to concerns about equality and social justice is an underexplored area (Eynon, 2013). Underpinned by a focus on the core purposes of education in the Digital Era (Biesta, 2013; 2015) and drawing on examples from the UK, USA and Singapore, this talk will ask 1) in what ways could the use of data in education shape educational opportunities? And 2) how could the use of data in education exacerbate or reduce existing inequalities in educational systems?
Biesta, G.J. (2013). Responsive or responsible? Education for the global networked society. Policy Futures in Education 11(6), 734-745. Biesta, G.J., (2015). Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. London: Routledge. Eynon, R. (2013). The rise of Big Data: what does it mean for education, technology, and media research? Learning, Media & Technology, 38(3), 237-240.
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