A critical look at the promises of digitalized education
(Dec 15, 2021)
For this our second seminar, the first speaker was Dr. Jeremy Knox* from the University of Edinburgh. The title of his talk was Divisions of learning in the datafied university. With the increasing use of data-driven technologies, such as learning analytics and AI, in higher education, Dr Knox suggested the need for greater critical awareness of how such systems function within broader notions of the 'digitalisation' of the sector. The central focus was the theme of 'learning'; how it has tended to be understood by educators, as well as the ways in which data-driven platforms begin to shift the meaning and orientation of the term, as 'machine learning' systems and commercial incentives become increasingly entangled in public education.
The speakers at the second half of this seminar, Marita Ljungqvist and Anders Sonesson from the Department of Educational Sciences, Lund University, discussed how digitalization of education is constructed in Swedish policy, drawing from their recent paper Selling out education in the name of digitalization: A Critical Analysis of Swedish Policy. They demonstrated that the policy argumentation, despite being anchored in traditional Swedish welfare values, is characterized by a coherent and reductionist neoliberal framing of education, and discussed how such constructions are made possible.
*Jeremy Knox is co-director of the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh, where he coordinates a research theme entitled ‘Data Society’. His research interests include the relationships between education, data-driven technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and wider society. Jeremy’s published work includes critical perspectives on artificial intelligence (AI), learning analytics, data, and algorithms, as well as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).