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Education as a domain of natural data extraction: analysing corporate discourse about educational tracking

Yu, Jun and Couldry, Nick ORCID: 0000-0001-8233-3287 (2022) Education as a domain of natural data extraction: analysing corporate discourse about educational tracking. Information, Communication and Society, 25 (1). 127 - 144. ISSN 1369-118X

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Identification Number: 10.1080/1369118X.2020.1764604


Digital platforms and learning analytics are becoming increasingly widespread in the education sector: commercial corporations argue their benefits for teaching and learning, thereby endorsing the continuous automated collection and processing of student data for measurement, assessment, management, and identity formation. Largely missing in these discourses, however, are the potential costs of datafication for pupils’ and teachers’ agency and the meaning of education itself. This article explores the general discursive framing by which these surveillant practices in education have come to seem natural. Through a study of commercial suppliers of educational platforms, we show how the prevailing vision of datafication in their discourses categorises software systems, not teachers, as central to education, reimagining space, time, and agency within educational processes around the organisation of data systems and the demands of commercial data production. Not only does this legitimate the new connective environment of dataveillance (that is, surveillance through data processing), but it also naturalises a wider normative environment in which teachers and students are assigned new roles and responsibilities. In the process, the panoptic possibilities of ubiquitous commercial access to personal educational data are presented as part of a virtuous circle of knowledge production and even training for good citizenship. This broader rethinking of education through surveillance must itself be critiqued.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2020 09:03
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 21:30

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