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The blended learner: digitalisation and regulated freedom-neoliberalism in the classroom

Grimaldi, E; Ball, SJ; (2020) The blended learner: digitalisation and regulated freedom-neoliberalism in the classroom. Journal of Education Policy , 36 (3) pp. 393-416. 10.1080/02680939.2019.1704066. Green open access

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Abstract

The digital revolution in education is sustained by the belief that digital technologies carry with them the potential for an ethical renewal of learning according to the neoliberal principle of freedom. In this article we problematise the ethical effects of the encounter between Blended Learning as a techno-educational form and neoliberalism, focusing as an exemplary case on the introduction of an innovative Blended Learning model in a US Charter School funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Connecting the literatures on the neoliberalisation and digitalisation of education, we show how in this case it is possible to observe a paradoxical kind of ethical renewal, emerging from the intertwining between the individualizing possibilities opened up by digital technologies, freedom production as a neoliberal project of world-making and the related search for new and specific mechanisms of security. We argue that digital technologies are in a paradoxical relationship with neoliberalism, crystallising the conditions of possibility for a neoliberalisation of education, but also having the potential to betray the promise of educational freedom and differentiation. Far from making any claim of determination, we outline the need for future research that explores the enactment of Blended Learning and questions its effects on education.

Type: Article
Title: The blended learner: digitalisation and regulated freedom-neoliberalism in the classroom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2019.1704066
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2019.1704066
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Education & Educational Research, Blended learning, digitalisation, neoliberalism, individual learner, philanthropy, governmentality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10090695
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