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Education policy-making networks: the case of the digitization of schools

Conference contribution
Authors Annika Bergviken Rensfeldt
Catarina Player-Koro
Ben Williamson
Neil Selwyn
Published in Nordic Educational Research Association 2017, Copenhagen. March 23-25, 2017
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Language en
Links nera2017.org/
nera2017.org/fileadmin/user_upload/...
Keywords Policy networks, Digitization of Schools
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Pedagogy

Abstract

Research topic/Aim: As in many other parts around the world, the Nordic countries have undergone a radical marketization and neo-liberal restructuring of the public sector. As a part of these changes, policy-making networks are now a current feature of government, connecting public and private interests, and local and global actors. Similar to the UK, the changes within Nordic countries have become particularly evident in the educational sector and in relation to the digitalisation of schools (cf. Williamson, 2015). In Sweden, this has meant that the so-called edu-business, with IT consultants, technology and infrastructure suppliers, are key players in shaping public IT education policy at the same time as they displaying strong links to global policy networks (Player Koro & Beach 2014). Theoretical frameworks: The contributions within the symposia all consider policy networks as conceptual tools and central part of current education policy formations (Ball, 2016) as they mobilize and connect actors, technologies as well as ideas and discourses. Theoretically, critical and dynamic approaches to how such policy networks are formed have been a starting point, however based on different approaches to aspects of how policy networks take form, e.g. through policy events and fast policy discourses, processes that have ‘real effects’ and therefore are possible to act upon and change. These kinds of policy processes make new centers, or dislocations of policy possible. Methodology/research design: The symposia will provide a critical commentary of policy network formations both from the Nordic and European context and by the use of for example networked ethnography and documentary analyses. – Abstract 1 Selling technology to teachers: education trade shows as a policy network event – Abstract 2 Fast policy networks, digital citizenship and computing in the curriculum – Abstract 3 Methodological considerations when researching IT education policy networks Expected conclusions/Findings: The changing political landscape where private and public sector now ‘work together’ has meant that the boundary between the private and the public sector as parts of the society has been weakened. The consequences for the school, the students and for those working in the school sector – as for the education system as a whole – are many, profound and serious. The aim with this symposium is to address these consequences by: – Providing empirical, conceptual and methodological contributions from scholars investigating the emergence of trans-national spaces of policy-making and their relation to intra national spaces of policy. – Discussing the consequences these occurrences will have for policy formation as an enactment and central arena of educational policy-making. In particular, we are drawing on the case of the digitization of schools and exemplify how this is played out in Nordic education contexts. Relevance for Nordic Educational Research: Marked-based reforms in education and the formation of policy networks have reworked the nature of public education in Norway, Sweden and Denmark as well as in UK. To research, explore, and analyse the consequences of this is both necessary and relevant, not least in relation to issues of democracy and in discussion about the purpose and function of the education system for individuals and society.

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