06 SES 17 A, Media Education and Digital Capitalism
Paradoxes of freedom and coercion are among the oldest forms of contradiction in pedagogical action and reflection. In the age of digitization, along with new paradoxes and ambivalences new contradictory forms of freedom-coercion relations have emerged, often remaining as blind spots in educational research, pedagogical practices and education policies. This includes, for example, regulations concerning commercial advertising in schools (BMWB 2016) and disregarding the role of the global education industry in education policies and practices as well as in national reporting (Breit 2019; Oberwimmer 2019). The paper reflects ongoing developments in Austria in the context of the Austrian “master plan” for digitization in education (BMWB 2016), curricular planning at the crossroads of basic education in informatics, digital literacy and media education (“Digitale Grundbildung”), and the complex interplay of governments, school authorities, educationalists, eLearning initiatives and companies. The situation is difficult to keep track of, not least due to the fact that large corporations in the software and hardware industries are increasingly recognizing educational institutions as profitable sub-branches, too. Under a veil of the permanent improvement of IT infrastructures, the Microsoft Austrian College and High School Agreement, for example, has since 2003 set out to push software products of the company virtually without alternative. The textbook publishers have followed corresponding imperatives of "instruction in programming" in the IT-dominated subjects. The “master plan” for digitization in education has now not only opened up the market to over 1.1 million students, but also created uncertainty as regards curricula, technical aids and qualified personnel. This is one more reason why big players in the commercial education industry are targeting this gap with their certificates and trying to directly or indirectly influence curricular developments. Moreover, evidence-based reforming, effective learning analytics as well as intensive promotion of AI and educational robotics in order to foster employability and advances in the fourth industrial revolution have become unmissable. Lopsided promotion in these fields constitutes further reasons for critical reflections of current developments, the role of global education industry in Austria and heroic tendencies which are relatively widespread in education governance despite academic pleas for post-heroic management (Baecker 2015).
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