The discursive construction of the National Grid for Learning

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15 Citations (Scopus)


The National Grid for Learning (NGfL) not only represents the most ambitious educational computing initiative to date but also heralds one of the largest public/private education policy partnerships the UK has even seen. In reflecting the growing influence of market and technological forces the NGfL should, therefore, be treated as a significant education signpost for the new century. Before the initiative reaches full operation a major step in the 'construction' of the Learning Grid has been its formation within government and official discourse. This discursive construction is important inasmuch as it makes an 'ethereal' initiative a tangible concern, shaping expectations among both the education and business communities and consequently influencing the future effectiveness of the NGfL. From this basis, the present article examines how the National Grid for Learning is being discursively constructed by government and official actors at a macro level through policy and advisory documents, official statements and other rhetoric. In doing so the article highlights how the NGfL is being shaped within a restrictive technocratic and determinist discourse, thus conforming to traditional narratives of society and technology. The paper then aims to show how such construction negates crucial social and economic elements of the initiative and threatens, ultimately, to restrict the eventual educational effectiveness of the Grid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-79
Number of pages17
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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