We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Learning, Media & Technology

For a Special Issue on
Instituting socio-technical education futures: Encounters for technical democracy, data justice, and post-automation

Abstract deadline
15 October 2021

Manuscript deadline
30 May 2022

Cover image - Learning, Media & Technology

Special Issue Editor(s)

Teresa Swist, Education Futures Studio, Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
[email protected]

Kalervo N. Gulson, Education Futures Studio, Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Instituting socio-technical education futures: Encounters for technical democracy, data justice, and post-automation

Automation, algorithms, and datafication are increasingly instituted across educational systems and decision-making: student monitoring, exam grading, data analytics. The global reach of exam surveillance systems during the COVID-19 pandemic raised questions about commercial provider roles, the hidden labour of automated systems, alongside the vulnerabilities of remote studying (Selwyn et al., 2021). A grades standardisation algorithm to calculate proxy grades for cancelled examinations sparked a range of unintended consequences, protests, and public trust issues (Kelly, 2021). School openings and closings throughout the crisis increasingly relied upon the politicised release and reception of cross-sectoral data analytics, while attendant COVID-19 surveillance systems escalated the powers of both government and non-government entities (Mahase, 2021; Oster, 2021). Amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, such socio-technical controversies highlight the multiscalar power relations shaping present and future education possibilities (Williamson, Macgilchrist, & Potter, 2021).

Critical questions about institutional change are provoked by these shifting power relations between diverse constituents: students, educators, communities, technology corporations, professional bodies, cross-sectoral policymakers, plus all levels of government. Based on the premise that institutions are “human-generated regulators of social interaction” (Currie et al., 2021), our key provocation is this: what novel interactions of convergent technologies, actors, and expertise are instituting socio-technical education futures - and in whose interests? Multifaceted strategies to address this complex provocation are still in nascent form. There is a vital need to assemble new toolboxes of methods and theories for innovative critical research “to examine educational technology as they continue to mutate, evolve, extend to new settings and expand in their (un)intended uses” (Castañeda & Williamson, 2021, p. 11). To this end, we seek contributions to this Special Issue which offer concepts, tools, and methods that inspire new possibilities for instituting socio-technical education futures in democratic, just, and sustainable ways.

In this Special Issue, we are interested in papers that can be broadly related to exploring the potential of ‘technical democracy’ (Callon, Lascoumes, & Barthe, 2001), ‘data justice’ (Dencik et al., 2019) and ‘post-automation’ (Smith & Fressoli, 2021). As automated, algorithmic, and datafied trends permeate the education sector, our call seeks to inspire theoretical and methodological innovation focused on instituting socio-technical educational futures. Contributors are invited to test the conceptual and empirical horizons of collective learning, action and capabilities, such as: ‘hybrid forums’ where heterogeneous groups “can come together to discuss technical options involving the collective” (Callon, Lascoumes, & Barthe, 2009, p. 18); the interplay of data and social justice (Dencik et al., 2019); and, post-automation, a commitment to appropriate automation technologies for “more plural relations rooted in human creativity, conviviality, and care” (Smith & Fressoli, 2021, pp.1-2). The anticipated Special Issue seeks to offer Learning, Media, and Technology readers a novel set of vocabulary, resources, and ideas to spark encounters within their own education contexts characterised by democracy, justice, and sustainability.

We invite contributors to consider the potential of technical democracy, data justice, and post-automation for instituting education futures. Topics of interest include:

  • Investigations of technical democracy within education research, policy, and practice
  • Explorations of data justice across diverse educational contexts
  • Novel concepts, methods, and resources to advance collective learning and experimentation about socio-technical controversies
  • The role of educational policy-making, leadership, activism, and partnerships for socio-technical transitions
  • The possibilities and limits of post-automation initiatives across majority and minority world countries (and/or other post-theories, such as post-work, post-growth, post-austerity, post-capitalism)
  • Mechanisms to expand the capabilities of diverse publics to institute socio-technical education futures which are democratic, just, and sustainable

Submission Instructions

Interested authors are invited to send an abstract for the special issue (max 500 words) by email to Teresa Swist & Kalervo N. Gulson by 15 October 2021:

[email protected]
[email protected]

Invitations to submit a full manuscript will be sent 30 October 2021, with full manuscripts due 30 May 2022.

Please remember to select ‘special issue title’ when submitting your full manuscript to ScholarOne.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article