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Capital, Neoliberalism and Educational Technology

Jones, CR (2019) Capital, Neoliberalism and Educational Technology. Postdigital Science and Education. ISSN 2524-4868

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I have been asked by experienced colleagues what neoliberalism means and why it is relevant in educational technology. To me, the link seems obvious but let me set out some of the links between neoliberal political economy and educational technology. Educational technology has a relatively long history (Cuban 1986) and this commentary is restricted to computing and digital technologies in education. Currently, digital technologies are established features throughout education. Indeed the core digital presence of many educational institutions is the Learning Management System (LMS) (Virtual Learning Environment, or VLE, in the UK). These systems retain many of the features found in early applications of computer conferencing and even their look and feel hasn’t moved on significantly since the introduction of a graphical user interface (GUI). The really significant advances in technologies have been in devices, networks and memory, with a movement from desktop personal computers and mainframe computers to mobile phones and tablets connected to high-speed networks and the cloud. Institutional islands and dial-up facilities have changed to high-speed broadband networks accessed via mobile and Wi-Fi connections linked to extensive storage. Technological changes are sometimes seen as the dominant driver of social change, a kind of technological determinism. However, in the same time period that technology changed, there was a political and economic transformation of the world economy from a competition between capitalism and socialism, with a developing ‘third world’, to a single global system differentiated into geographical regions and nation states. Capital is triumphant, the economy is global in scope, and the state has been reduced in the face of resurgent markets. Perhaps, surprisingly, there has been little focus on the relationships between the global resurgence of capital, in market-led neoliberal forms, and the characteristics of those educational technologies and institutions that emerged at the same time (for an exception see Selwyn and Facer 2013). This commentary addresses that perceived gap by outlining possible connections between capital, neoliberal politics and educational technology and suggesting a revised educational response.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Postdigital Science and Education. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s42438-019-00042-1
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Education
Publisher: Springer
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 09:50
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:29
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s42438-019-00042-1
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10593
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