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The ‘solution stack’ of a neoliberal inferno apparatus: a call for teacher conscience

Hillman, Velislava and Esquivel, Molly (2023) The ‘solution stack’ of a neoliberal inferno apparatus: a call for teacher conscience. Postdigital Science and Education. ISSN 2524-485X

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s42438-023-00442-4


Education technologies have a growing capacity to control and influence students and teachers. However, policy and industry goals with these technologies are evolving into ambitions that go beyond improving learning outcomes and facilitating teaching. Policy and industry see data-generating EdTech as the means to a larger socio-technical ‘solution stack’ that can serve the neoliberal project. This position paper looks at the complex ‘apparatus’ emerging through the use of data-intensive algorithmic systems, which are often imposed by policy and promoted through industry’s marketing rhetoric. This apparatus is fuelled by data and claiming pedagogic authority in schools. It is linked to industry workforce demands and influence over how education should meet them. We describe this apparatus and define its properties through substantial desk research of public policies, white papers, presentations, and other relevant documentation. We argue that as schools are roped into serving this apparatus, the teaching profession is compromised. In it, teachers are steadily downgraded to ‘line operators’ of software and data collection. Based on Gert Biesta’s ‘gift of teaching’ as a ‘gift of truth giving’ that defines teachers’ role in the classroom, we call for their conscience to resist this apparatus, which can only harm learners and their futures.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2023 11:06
Last Modified: 19 May 2024 03:03

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