Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2022 Issue »

    Governed by Edtech?

    Valuing Pedagogical Autonomy in a Platform Society

    Niels Kerssens and José van Dijck
    In this essay, Niels Kerssens and José van Dijck discuss the implications of platformization on the key public value of pedagogical autonomy in K–12 education. They focus on two interconnected concerns: how the integration of education into a global digital infrastructure contests the institutional pedagogical autonomy of schools and how the integration of digital platforms with educational practices in classrooms challenges the professional pedagogical autonomy of teachers. The authors engage with the symposium contributions by Williamson, Gulson, Perrotta & Witzenberger on the Amazon infrastructure and by Pangrazio, Stornaiuolo, Nichols, Garcia & Philip on platform practices at the classroom level. With this dual focus, Kerssens and van Dijck explore how critical research in the emerging field of platform studies in education pertains to both the political-economic level of building educational platform infrastructures and the social-technical level of how teaching and learning are (re)shaped by digital platforms. The essay concludes with a brief discussion of recommendations for the future governance of edtech to serve the pedagogical interest of schools and teachers.

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    Niels Kerssens (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8564-8118) is assistant professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His research investigates the implications of platformization on education as a public good. As principal researcher he leads the Platformisation of Education special interest group that is part of the Governing the Digital Society initiative; one of Utrecht University’s focus areas that promotes research on the social processes of datafication, algorithmisation and platformisation. For his current research project, titled “Platformisation of Primary Education: Public Values at Risk,” he was awarded a Veni grant in 2021 by the Netherlands Research Council, which provided funding for this research.

    José van Dijck (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0499-9045) is a distinguished university professor in media and digital societies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She has (co)authored and (co)edited ten books and hundreds of articles. She formerly served as chair of the Department of Media Studies and as dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. In 2015–2018 Van Dijck served as the elected president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and received an honorary doctorate from Lund University, Sweden. In 2021 she was awarded the Spinoza Prize, the highest award for lifetime academic achievement, by the Netherlands Research Council, which provided funding for this research.
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    Summer 2022 Issue

    Abstracts

    Curricular Countermovements
    How White Parents Mounted a Popular Challenge to Ethnic Studies
    Ethan Chang

    Book Notes

    Civic Education in the Age of Mass Migration
    Angela M. Banks

    How the Word Is Passed
    Clint Smith

    Minds Wide Shut
    Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro