06 SES 17 A, Media Education and Digital Capitalism
The technology giants are the world’s largest companies by market capitalization and are getting bigger (Global Finance, 2020). They are making huge profits running global businesses beyond national control. Digital technology is an integrated part of our private lives, and the technology companies’ attempts to influence educational policy are quite evident. School leaders and politicians are relying heavily on them, and classrooms all over the world and not least in Norway are being filled up with iPads and Chromebooks and with all the apps and software that comes with it. Digital media and technology are at the heart of the global economy and have been referred to as digital capitalism “catalyzing an epochal political-economic transition” (Schiller, 1999, xvii). An important part of this is surveillance capitalism (Zuboff, 2018) based on human experience as raw materials and the fact that the leading actors know “everything” about us. Early stages of the developments of these kinds of new business models might be seen through the establishment of the “great American education-industrial complex” in the 1990s (Picciano & Spring, 2013) and the emergence of the global education industry (Verger et al., 2016). This constitutes an interesting framework for investigating the channels of influence. What strategies have existed on the part of the technology giants? Who have been the major actors within education? What kind of relations and networks have been established? Some research has been done related to the influence of the IT industry in the US (Picciano, 1994; Cuban, 2017) and the UK (Selwyn & Fitz, 2001) and the influence of edu-business on international organisations like the OECD (Hogan, Sellar & Lingard, 2016). The roles of individual policy entrepreneurs have also been focused upon, for example “boundary spanners” (Verger et al., 2016) and “flexians” (Picciano & Spring, 2013) playing key roles in connecting different organizations and communities in politics, education and business. This presentation will mainly focus on the Norwegian context, to what extent and how technology companies relate to actors and potential customers in education on a national and local level. This might include governmental institutions, educational institutions, researchers, research institutions, scientific journals, local authorities, schools, school leaders, media, groups of experts and educational technology specialists of different kinds. From this example we can understand the bigger picture across Europe.
Cuban, L. (2017). Silicon Valley Takes Over Classrooms: Yes and No (Part 1). https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/silicon-valley-takes-over-classrooms-yes-and-no-part-1/ Global Finance (2020). World’s Largest Companies 2019. https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/economic-data/largest-companies Hogan, A.; Sellar, S. & Lingard, B. (2016). Corporate social responsibility and neo-social accountability in education. The case of Pearson plc. In: A. Verger, C. Lubienski & G. Steiner-Khamsi (Eds.): World Yearbook of Education 2016. The Global Education Industry (pp. 107-124). Routledge. Picciano, A.G. (1994). Technology and the Evolving Educational-Industrial Complex. Computers in the Schools. 11(2). Picciano, A.G. & Spring, J.H. (2013). The great American education-industrial complex. Ideology, technology, and profit. Routledge. Schiller, D. (1999). Digital Capitalism. Networking the Global Market System. MIT Press. Selwyn, N. & Fitz, J. (2001). The Politics of Connectivity. The Role of Big Business in UK Education Technology Policy. Policy Studies Journal. 29(4). Verger, A.; Lubienski, C. & Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2016). The Emergence and Structuring of the Global Education Industry. Towards an Analytical Framework. In: A. Verger, C. Lubienski & G. Steiner-Khamsi (Eds.): World Yearbook of Education 2016. The Global Education Industry (pp. 3-24). Routledge. Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism. Profile Books.
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