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Selling tech to teachers: Education trade shows as policy events.

Journal article
Authors Catarina Player-Koro
Annika Bergviken Rensfeldt
Neil Selwyn
Published in Journal of Education Policy
Volume 33
Issue 5
Pages 682-703
ISSN 0268-0939
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 682-703
Language en
Keywords digital education, education technology, policy mobilities, policy networks, trade shows
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Pedagogy


Digital technology is an expanding area of education policy. There is growing interest, therefore, in how networks of corporate and state policy actors implicit in the formation of (inter)national education technology agendas intersect with local school systems and teachers. In particular, this paper explores the significant policy work that takes place outside schools and classrooms through education trade shows. Based on an in-depth ‘event ethnography’ of one large Scandinavian educational technology show, the paper details how these events function as sites of policy interpretation – ‘sharing’ (or more accurately ‘selling’) global ideas and imperatives to local schools and teachers. These findings highlight the role of trade shows in consolidating policy networks, subsuming public education interests into corporate concerns, and differentiating teacher subjectivities and encouraging teacher entrepreneurship. The paper problematizes the ways in which teacher agency is shaped and controlled by the discursive, material and affective dimensions of such events.

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