The place of technology in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat education agenda: an ambition of absence?

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Abstract

Schools use of digital technology has so far proved to be a peripheral feature of the Conservative-Liberal education agenda. Through a series of reductions to previously extensive bureaucratic and funding structures, the Coalition administration has presided over a swift but sustained withdrawal of state support for digital technology use in schools. Many commentators have been quick to decry these actions as signalling an ill-informed absence of ambition for what could be seen as an integral area of twenty-first century educational provision. However, this paper contends that the Coalition s apparent technological indifference instead marks a deliberate ambition of absence . Thus as well as contributing to immediate reductions in central government spending, the apparent shunning of educational technology policy-making has been driven by the Coalition s long-term ambitions for localised and largely privatised forms of public sector governance. With this in mind, the paper considers the intended influence of the Coalition s policy reversals on the future use of digital technology in UK schools. It is suggested that rather than constituting an irreversible crisis, the current withdrawal of state support is perhaps best understood as a continuation of the fluctuating cycle of government (dis)interest in educational technology over the past 30 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395 - 408
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Review
Volume63
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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