Surfing to School: the electronic reconstruction of institutional identities

Anthony J. Hesketh, Neil Selwyn

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    Educational use of the Internet forms one of the cornerstones of Labour government policy, primarily via the construction of the 'National Grid for Learning' which aims to connect every school in the UK to the Internet by 2002. In this paper we report on the extent to which schools are already buying into information and communications technology (ICT) and in particular the Internet, effectively examining the foundations upon which the Learning Grid is being constructed. Via an empirical study of 150 current school websites we will argue that schools adopt a variety of approaches to the Internet and Worldwide Web depending upon the technological and institutional capital of the school, and that far from being utilised solely for educational purposes, the Internet provides an additional tool through which schools seek to reaffirm or reconstruct their existing institutional identities with varying levels of success. The paper concludes by adopting a semiotic framework for analysing the differential use of the Internet by educational institutions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)501-520
    Number of pages20
    JournalOxford Review of Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999

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