The National Grid for Learning: panacea or Panopticon?

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Although not fully established, the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) initiative is already being presented by both government and industry as offering students, teachers and school extensive freedom and autonomy in their day-to-day work. However, this paper argues that the official discursive construction of the NGfL in this way, as a 'panacea' to educational problems, obscures vital issues of power and control that may only become apparent once the initiative is fully integrated at the classroom level. Drawing initially on the work of Foucault, and then Poster's more recent conception of the electronic 'SuperPanopticon', this paper re-examines the basis of the NGfL and its role in extending and reinforcing existing power configurations in education. The paper concludes by considering directions for future research into the NGfL, and educational use of the Internet in the light of this analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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