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Why I’m extremely worried about this winter

I’ve tended to think of myself as a fundamentally optimistic person. This has been tested a lot over the last 18 months but I still don’t think I’m someone prone to seeing catastrophe around every corner. I’m nonetheless extremely worried about what this winter will bring in the UK and I’ve felt increasingly isolated in this feeling.

The failures of educational technologists to recognise the social context of educational technology

This is an interesting example of what it means to think sociologically about educational technology in the sense of recognising how entrepreneurs, technologists and advocates are themselves parts of educational systems. Their pronouncements originate from within systems which have already been shaped by their activity, in spite of their rhetorical tendency to externalise those systems and position themselves as disrupters entering from outside in order to address their claimed pathologies.

What does it mean to think sociologically about educational technology?

I keep coming back to this question as I begin my new job at the University of Manchester’s Institute of Education. One answer would be to invoke the sociological imagination in the sense of drawing out the connections between what C Wright Mills called ‘private troubles’ and ‘public issues’. To bring the sociological imagination to educational technology involves recognising the variability of individual experience and how this can be explained in terms of wider social forces. Another way of answering the question would be to think about the core concerns of sociological thought (the problem of social order, social transformation, collective action, stratification/inequality, social interaction and social meaning) as they relate to educational technology and manifest themselves in the roll out and use of these systems.

The possible forms which post-capitalism could take

This interview with Nancy Fraser about Covid-19 and the future of capitalism is an illuminating read, particularly this discussion of what could come after capitalism. The question she raises is whether Covid-19 represents a developmental crisis (leading to a new mode of capital accumulation) or an epochal crisis (leading to end of capitalism as a system):

CfP: Digital Transformation as a major issue in science and higher education 

Special Issue of the Swiss Journal of Sociology https://szs.sgs-sss.ch/en/home/ Deadline for Abstracts: November 15th, 2021 Guest-Editors: Luca Tratschin (Center for Higher Education and Science Studies, University of Zurich) Christian Leder (Center for Higher Education and Science Studies, University of Zurich) Philippe Saner (Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training, Zollikofen; […]

Why I deleted my personal Twitter account

I wrote in late 2019 about why I was deleting my personal Twitter account. This extract from Casey Newton’s newsletter perfectly captures my experience without the academic jargon I was leaning on to articulate it. My experience was that you either bleed time and energy into this dynamic or you feel like an asshole for ignoring people who misunderstand you.

The Collective on Education, Decoloniality and Emergencies is looking for a paid conference coordinator

Primary Role The Conference Coordinator will support CEDE! before, during and after our 2021 conference “Shifting power in aid: knowledges, violence, and justice”.  Overview The Collective on Education, Decoloniality and Emergencies (CEDE!) is comprised of individuals and organisations seeking just practices for trans/national aid to learners, educators and education systems […]

Do your research!

One of the more depressing features of our information environment is the growing tendency to combine absolute scepticism of the ‘mainstream media’ with absolute credulity in relation to anonymous people stumbled across on social media.