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Digital Literacy in English Schools: A Foucauldian Analysis of Policy

Chambers, Philip (2017) Digital Literacy in English Schools: A Foucauldian Analysis of Policy. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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The perceived importance of digital literacy has steadily risen in England in recent years. Successive governments have backed initiatives which, no matter the term used for the assorted skill set involving computers, called for greater integration of technology in education. With the introduction of the English National Curriculum in 1988 to its current incarnation in 2016, it is possible to track the achievements and targets that policy makers believe students should meet. During this time, a wave of scepticism surrounding the usefulness of technology-based learning can be found. In response to a recent article by Selwyn & Facer (2014) which calls for more investigation of technology in education from disparate perspectives, this study takes a Foucauldian-based approach to analyse historical and future digital literacy policy in English schools. After establishing the historical context through a literature review, the policy analysis is structured to address each of the three research questions. Finally, I provide suggestions for how researchers could continue with a similar Foucauldian analysis as I have used in this work. The Foucauldian framework presented in the Methodology section is advantageous for deconstructing the systems of power and knowledge surrounding policy decisions regarding digital literacy. Noticeably, while discourses relating to digital literacy have been variously embedded, developed and changed through successive governments since 1988, a constant theme is one of normalisation of newly established truths. That is to say, I have seen through this work, how initial claims have gradually been accepted into educational discourse. Throughout this period, however, I have seen how teachers and students have often been blamed if government targets have not been met; targets which seem to have arisen from assumptions about what it means, or should mean to be digitally literate. Finally, remaining within this Foucauldian framework, suggestions for future policy and predicted technological progressions are given.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: digital literacy, Foucault, policy
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.729487
Depositing User: Dr. Philip Andrew Chambers
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2017 10:50
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18906

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