Parallel session 6 (25th May) Digital Education Governance Beyond International Comparative Assessment
From Claire Sowton
Chairs: Lina Rahm and Jörgen Rahm-Skågeby
The Hidden Curriculum of the Digitized Mundane: Early Findings from a Study of Digital Hall Pass Systems in US Schools
Michelle Ciccone (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
What can we learn by studying the digitization of the most mundane materials and routines of schooling? This presentation will share early findings from a project that focuses on the digitization of school hall passes, a ubiquitous material in K-12 schools in the United States whose history and impact has been largely ignored within historical and sociological accountings of American education. I began this inquiry during the 2020-21 school year, when my former employer, a high school in the US, transitioned its once analog hall pass system (a paper log + physical object that students carry in order to indicate they have permission to be traveling in the hallway) to a cobbled-together digital system in response to pandemic-related health concerns. I continue this inquiry during the 2021-22 school year, now as a graduate student and having learned that this school has since partnered with a 3rd party digital hall pass vendor. This trajectory, in real time, demonstrates the slippery slope of “surveillance creep” (Selinger & Durant, 2021) as well as the playbook of “disaster capitalism” (Klein, 2007). What priorities, narratives, and beliefs drive institutions to adopt digital technologies for mundane materials and infrastructures? And via these shifts what do students learn about what they can expect in an increasingly automated, invisibilized, and datafied world? Mertala (2020) encourages us to consider the “hidden curriculum” of the “everyday data-related practices” of schools, and the ways in which these practices “naturalize the routines of all-pervading data collection” (p. 31). This project closely examines the sociotechnical imaginaries that are embedded and entrenched via the hidden curriculum of the digitized hall pass.
Examining the Role of Education in National AI Strategies in the Balkans
Devor Petreski (City of Glasgow College)
Realizing the potential for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to become one of the most prominent drivers for economic growth, improvements in public service and quality of life, countries have released strategic policy plans for the use and development of AI on a national level. However, the majority of countries that have published such documents are developed global economic leaders or Western European countries. In Europe, countries from the Balkan Peninsula lag behind their Western counterparts. Namely, only Serbia, Slovenia and Bulgaria have published their respective national strategies. As a major platform for human capital development and capacity building, in many such documents education is presented as one of the key sectors for the development and implementation of AI on a national level. Whereas national strategies of most major economic powerhouses such as the UK, Germany, US, China etc. have been analysed and discussed in the literature, smaller, less developed countries have been largely ignored. Thus, this paper aims at examining the role of education in the goals of the national AI development strategies of Bulgaria and Serbia. The paper conducts an inductive, comparative, thematic analysis of the two recently published national AI strategies with a focus on the role of education. Based on the thematic analysis three main themes were identified: (1) Education and AI for business; (2) Education for technical rather than ethical training; (3) Education as a malleable space. As a result of the analysis, research and policy recommendations are proposed at the end of the paper.
From IT to ‘I-it’: What Datafication and Automation mean for Teacher-Student -Relationships?
Pekka Mertala (University of Jyväskylä)
This conceptual paper theorizes the kinds of undesired consequences datafication and automation of education have for teacher-student relationships by drawing on Martin Buber’s (1937) dialogical philosophy. The main idea in Buber’s thinking was that people relate to each other through two different ways. In ‘I–Thou’ -relationship subjects meet one another in their authentic existence, without any objectification of one another. In ‘I–It’ -relationship the other is objectified as mental representations, created and sustained by the individual mind. Datafication and automation bring new perspectives to Buber’s ideas, especially to the ‘I-it’-relationship. The representation of a student is no longer created and possessed (only) in the mind of an individual – here teacher – but also through and as data points that are analyzed and visualized via different (often interlinked) platforms. For a machine/software, the child is always ‘it’: a malleable object the technology steers/nudges towards a predetermined goal. Therefore, the more datafied and automated education is, the more there is ‘it’ in ‘thou’ also in teacher-student relationships taking place in the realm of data-driven pedagogy. By focusing on teacher-student-relationships, this paper provides a micro-level perspective to the global macro-level digital education governance. Two literature-informed examples from contemporary classrooms – automated roll calls (e.g., Selwyn, 2022) and digital behavior monitoring/modification (e.g., Manolev et al., 2019) – provide concrete cases to put the theoretical ideas into context.