Exploring the role of digital data in contemporary schools and schooling

Exploring the role of digital data in contemporary schools and schooling

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berjWe are pleased to announce the publication of a new paper in the British Educational Research Journal from our Spencer Foundation funded research project on schools and digital data. This new paper is co-authored by Neil Selwyn, Michael Henderson and Shu-Hua Chao and explores the different forms of digitally-based ‘data work’ engaged in by school leaders, managers, administrators and teachers. In particular, three distinct aspects of school data work are highlighted: (i) the distinction between official ‘mandated’ data requirements from external government agencies, and the unofficial efforts to generate and work with ‘useful’ data; (ii) the highly mediated nature of digital data work within schools; (iii) the ways in which digital data lead to compromised knowledge and ‘work arounds’. These findings, it is argued, illustrate the embedding of digital data within secondary schools as a technology of (self)control in ways that tend to reinforce dominant cultures of school administration and management. The article concludes by considering how the restrictive forms of data governance currently at large within school systems might be problematized and acted against.