This is a talk I presented at the Nordic Educational Research Association conference at Aalborg University, Copenhagen, on 23 March 2017.
Education is currently being reimagined for the future. In 2016, the online educational technology magazine Bright featured a series of artistic visions of the future of education. One of them, by the artist Tim Beckhardt, imagined a vast new ‘Ocunet’ system.
via Pocket http://ift.tt/2n8CT5W
I found this post after reading Knox’s (2014) post on interpreting analytics in the same blog space. What would we call that? Searching laterally? Something which was, at the time, really frustrating in DEGC was that we were always given links to Journal home pages rather than to the specific article we were reading. While I seem to recall this being connected to copyright and appropriate practice, it was frustrating because none of the links were set to open in a new window/tab by default, so unless one right clicked and opened a new window/tab, one then had to go back to the original page to find out which issue one was looking for.. but I’ve subsequently reflected (repeatedly!) on how it made me much more aware of the types of ‘publications’ and their respective content, and perhaps resultantly, I think my ‘lateral searching’ has increased. It’s not a new practice, of course, but an addictive one nonetheless, and it’s always good to find a ‘treasure trove’ of good reads.
I’m getting tangential, though – what caught my eye about this post, in particular, was the focus on ‘imaginaries’, and the ways in which such ‘imaginaries’, or fictions, play a role in the creation of future reality. Williamsons writes,
..what I’m trying to suggest here is that new ways of imagining education through big data appear to mean that such practices of algorithmic governance could emerge, with various actions of schools, teachers and students all subjected to data-based forms of surveillance acted upon via computer systems.
Importantly too, imaginaries don’t always remain imaginary. Sheila Jasanoff has described ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ as models of the social and technical future that might be realized and materialized through technical invention.Imaginaries can originate in the visions of single individuals or small groups, she argues, but gather momentum through exercises of power to enter into the material conditions and practices of social life. So in this sense, sociotechnical imaginaries can be understood as catalysts for the material conditions in which we may live and learn.
The post has a lot more in it, focusing on how the imaginaries of ‘education data science’ combined with affective computing and cognitive computing are leading to a new kind of ‘agorithmic governance’ within education. Frightening stuff, to be frank.
What I’m really interested in is the role of these ‘imaginaries’ though: how do fictions, and, frequently, corporate fictions, work their influence? Which previous imaginaries, captured in science fiction, can we trace – along with their reception over time – to present day materialities?
And, why are ‘the people’ so passive? Why isn’t there shouting about imaginaries being presented as inevitable? Why isn’t their protest? A rant: “Uh – you want to put a camera on my kid’s head, to tell me how she’s feeling? Have you thought about asking her? You want to produce data for parents? How about as a society ‘just’ recognising the value of non-working lives and giving people enough time to spend with their kids while they’re trying to pay rent or a mortgage?”
It would make an interesting study – perhaps too large for our EDC final assignment, but I’m wondering about it could be scaled back.