Parallel session 5 (25th May) Digital Education Governance Beyond International Comparative Assessment
From Claire Sowton
Chair: Annika Bergviken Rensfeldt
We Need a Curricular Cooperative: Envisioning a Future Beyond Teachers Paying Teachers Michael Brown, Amy Updegraff, Noreen Naseem Rodriguez (Iowa State University)
Teachers and teacher education candidates increasingly rely on curriculum marketplaces like TeachersPayTeachers to identify and access instructional materials; TPT goes so far as to assert that 85% of US teachers use the platform. While a number of researchers have turned their attention to how teachers access and make use of curricular materials through platform marketplaces (see Rodriguez et al., 2020 for a discussion), very little research has considered the role of curricular platform marketplaces as actors in remaking curricular governance. In our talk, we detail recent results of empirical research with teacher education candidates on their use of platform marketplaces like TPT; propose a conceptual framework for research on how platform marketplaces, ‘sellers’, ‘buyers’, and institutions are remaking agency and authority in US elementary social studies education; and offer a vision for a digital deliberative curricular commons that builds on the affordances of platform technologies, in order to create a democratic, just, and sustainable socio-technical educational future where teachers don’t have to pay teachers. Specifically, platforms encourage the circulation of algorithmically promoted curricular materials- popular resources that flatten complex learning tasks; platforms teach users to consume, not to produce, author or teach curriculum (Authors-a). Platforms extract value from the curriculum offered for sale on the site as well as the data traces that sellers and buyers produce through their interactions with the site. Platforms like TPT can mine these data assets for insight into curricular production and seeking processes without sharing to inform teacher education.
Rajender Singh (University of Western Ontario)
With nearly a five fold increase in Google classroom users (~200 million) since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, Google has become one of the world’s largest and most prominent providers of educational software and hardware. One of the ways Google achieved this feat is by upending the conventional sales techniques by leveraging educators as intermediaries for its marketing and branding. It basically enlists teachers and educators to participate in more than 500 globally-spread yet localized forums called Google Educator Groups (GEGs). Drawing from the emerging methodological repertoire of netnography, this article presents an original analysis of one such group’s (GEG Delhi) yearlong social media activity. The twitter and Youtube posts of GEG Delhi are analyzed from its launch in October 2020 to October 2021 with an aim to examine: a) what is being discussed, produced, and circulated in and through GEG Delhi? b) who and what is involved in GEG Delhi activities? The ongoing analysis indicates that the knowledge generated at GEG Delhi includes functional use of Google products in classrooms, product demonstration of EdTech solutions offered by other companies, and exposure to subject or topic specific software application. The social media traces of GEG Delhi also signal the group becoming a crucial hub of knowledge and information exchange amongst EdTech entrepreneurs, education consultants, school principals, administrators, other GEGs, and even government funded educational institutions. This netnographic analysis is part of a broader research that aims to investigate how platformization of education is achieved in the global south through companies headquartered in the global north.
Digital Education Governance in Brazil and South America
Priscila Gonsales (Educadigital Institute and University of Campinas) and Tel Amiel (University of Brasília)
To present an overview of how digital education in Brazil and other South American countries has been exposed to digital surveillance capitalism with more intensity, but not exclusively due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 the Surveillance Education Observatory was launched, an initiative led by researchers in academia and social organizations that aims to collect and disseminate information about the platformization of public education in Brazil and South America, and to encourage a conversation in regards to its social and educational impacts. The Observatory is part of the Open Education Initiative. The Observatory created an open-source software capable of identifying the storage location of the official e-mails servers of public educational institutions. In parallel, a group of researchers used information requests to identify and map agreements and contracts made between public education institutions and states and Big Tech companies. The project was started because of lack of information about the presence of large technology companies - especially those that profit through the collection, processing, and commercialization of user data on their digital platforms and services - in offering educational technologies and storage in data centers - to public educational institutions in Brazil, which hinders research efforts, public discussion about the risks, and the decisions of managers in regards to technology futures in institutions and school systems. This is a complex problem that connects to issues of data sovereignty, technological independence, technology governance in public education, as well as pedagogical ramifications in regards to critical data literacy and the promotion of digital rights in education.