Parallel session 2 (25th May) Digital Education Governance Beyond International Comparative Assessment
From Claire Sowton
Chair: Barbara Hof
The Hinterland of Automated Learning
The role of artificial intelligence in education is manifold and versatile. Whether concerning individual students, organisations or policy development, AI is hailed as a one-size fits all approach to every possible issue within education. The common narrative across education research is that advances in computing machinery have brought about a growing repertoire of computational methods allow for more application of AI and therefore result in an intensification of digital and automated forms of governance in education. This paper, however, argues that the conditions for digital and automated forms of governance are much rather the result of a fundamental automation of the human. To do this, this paper simply asks the question: What is learning? The paper does not aim to answer this question, but rather use it as a guide to explore the ‘hinterland’ (Law, 2004) and development of notions of learning that are compatible with automated and digital governance. Thereby, the paper sets out to do three things: (i) present a conceptual framework of automation and artificial intelligence, (ii) investigate the hinterland of notions of learning across behaviourism, cybernetics, cognitivism, and artificial intelligence research, and (iii) provide an overview about the application of these notions in the context of contemporary learning analytics and organisational management. Doing this will show that learning, education, and the development of artificial intelligence are inseparably linked and are part of an operative logic of automation that we are familiar with today that often contribute to the sense of a total absence of alternatives.
My research investigates why and in what sense the goal of cultivating individual autonomy has been central to the history of U.S. educational planning and statecraft, and how this goal has come to shape probabilistic and predictive logics of educational control. Within the liberal tradition, the pursuit of autonomy has served to justify the protection of individual rights and liberties, and the values of freedom and equality. This framing has buttressed a neoliberal worldview wherein autonomy describes the core driving principles of self-government, choice, consumer sovereignty, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. As a result, K-12 schooling in the United States tends to promote and celebrate the development of individual autonomy as preparation for political, social, and economic participation. This paper analyzes the grammar and discourse of the schoolwide behavioral management framework Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)—specifically its guidance concerning the rules, norms, risk-management procedures, surveillance technologies, and behavioral modification strategies that together govern the school environment. I argue that attention to its foundations in a Cold War behaviorist ontology forces us to reexamine the vision of the human and its relationship to society that underpins the project of civic subject formation in schools. I explore how a particular genealogy of autonomy in this discourse tracks ideas of dignity, freedom, responsibility, choice, value, and ethical and political judgment, and currently informs the design of new digital infrastructures in schools.
Tracing Teacher Labor Across Platform Infrastructures: Governing of Conduct, Public APIs and Algorithmic Powers
Annika Bergviken Rensfeldt (University of Gothenburg)