23 SES 13 A, The Encounter between Homogenization and Heterogeneity: Increased standardization in a diverse world? Part 2
At the moment, multi-national IT-companies like Google increase their engagement in public education, e.g. through learning platforms organizing classrooms worldwide into digitized personalized learning (Selwyn et. al, 2017; Williamson, 2017). This development not unique for education; rather it means a global transformation of the whole public sector (van Dijck et al, 2018). We claim that there is an irony in this transformation, on the one hand personalized learning is culturally elevated, on the other hand the “googlification” of students means a global harmonization of how and what students are supposed to learn characterized by the ideals of the IT-business itself. Does personalization through digital tools really mean that more students are included, or is the idea excluding in itself? This paper discusses how Google’s learning platform G Suite for Education organizes what students should do and learn in school and what kinds of future citizens that are supposed to be shaped. How are student subjectivities made up concerning what to learn and how to live? How is the idea of the “googlified” student embedded in power relations concerning race and social class? The study builds on interviews with 15 persons selling and implementing learning platforms and analyses of an online course for teachers, through which you can become a Google-certified teacher. Theoretically it is inspired from studies on how education is governed through multilayered networks involving public authorities as well as business companies, humans as well as material actors (e.g. Ball, 2009; Wright & Peters, 2017; Williamson, 2017; Selwyn, 2018). Furthermore, Haraway’s (2004) cyborg helps us to unpack the entanglement of politics, technological imaginaries, race and class in G Suite for Education and invite to a symposium discussion of novel ways of exploring the complexities of the digital classroom. The results show how entrepreneurial discourses organize school, through the digital tools in themselves as well as the people who sell and implement them. There is a strong emphasis on “soft” skills as innovation, collaboration and creativity. Personalized learning, with help from e.g. AI-assisted learning and sophisticated algorithms is expressed as a possibility to include “everyone” in a global entrepreneurial project. Individualization and harmonization become two sides of the same coin. Important to discuss is what it means in terms of inclusion and exclusion of different kinds of students? Is the personalization in fact a new kind of standardization excluding students not fitting into the model of the entrepreneur?
Ball, S. (2009). Privatising education, privatising education policy, privatising educational research: network governance and the ‘competition state’, Journal of Education policy, 24(1), 83-99. Haraway, Donna (2004) A manifesto for cyborgs: science technology, and socialist feminist in the 1980s. In: Haraway, D: The Haraway Reader. New York: Routledge. 7-40 Selwyn, N., Nemorin, S., Bulfin, S., & Johnson, N. F. (2017). Everyday Schooling in the Digital Age: High School, High Tech? Routledge. Selwyn, N. (2018) Data points: exploring data-driven reforms of education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 39(5), 733-741 van Dijck, J., Poell, T., & de Waal, M. (2018). The platform society: public values in a connective world. Oxford University Press. Williamson, B. (2017). Big data in education: The digital future of learning, policy and practice. Sage. Wright, N. & Peters, M. (2017) Sell, sell, sell or learn, learn, learn? The EdTech market in New Zealand’s education system – privatisation by stealth?, Open Review of Educational Research, 4:1, 164-176
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