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Educational technology, academic labour, and a pedagogy for class struggle

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My presentation at the Critical Pedagogies: Equality and Diversity in a Changing Institution, Interdisciplinary Symposium at the University of Edinburgh, on Friday 6 September, 2013. See: …

My presentation at the Critical Pedagogies: Equality and Diversity in a Changing Institution, Interdisciplinary Symposium at the University of Edinburgh, on Friday 6 September, 2013. See: http://www.richard-hall.org/2013/09/01/educational-technology-academic-labour-and-a-pedagogy-for-class-struggle/

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  • 1. Educational technology, academic labour, and a pedagogy for class struggle Professor Richard Hall t: @hallymk1 e: rhall1@dmu.ac.uk w: richard-hall.org
  • 2. See: Hall, R. 2013. Educational technology, academic labour and a pedagogy for class struggle. Available at: http://www.richard-hall.org/2013/09/01/educational- technology-academic-labour-and-a-pedagogy-for-class-struggle/ Hall, R. 2013. Educational technology and the enclosure of academic labour inside public higher education. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 11(3), 52-82. Available at: http://www.jceps.com/PDFs/11-3-03.pdf
  • 3. • Our labour and our society are folded inside a systemic, historical crisis of capitalism. This secular crisis demands a political return. • Historical, socialised value is being accumulated through commodification and coercion. We are told that there is no alternative to this pedagogic project. • The University is a central site of struggle over our past, in our present, and for our future. Technology plays a critical role in this struggle. What is to be done?
  • 4. Reproducing academic labour • Contract and wage • Labour and labour-power (commodity and value) • Concrete and abstract (use and exchange) • Productive and unproductive • Formal and real subsumption (restructuring) (Winn, J. 2013. What is academic labour? http://josswinn.org/2013/07/what- is-academic-labour/)
  • 5. To focus on the form of labour, rather than its content, unites all wage workers in solidarity rather than setting us against each other in terms of skills, experience, opportunity, achievements and recognition. Such a critique of ‘academic labour’ can only lead to the negation of academic labour, first conceptually, and then, through further critique and struggle, in practice towards a different form of social wealth, which is not driven by the imperative of the production of value at all costs. (Winn, J. 2013. What is academic labour? Available at: http://josswinn.org/2013/07/what-is-academic-labour/)
  • 6. The role of technology in the University • for value: labour costs; efficiency; discipline; credit ratings • for rent: publishers and services; private equity firms and LMS; data mining • for competition: MOOCs and labour arbitrage; personalisation and entrepreneurial activity Technology has become a crack through which private corporations can enter the publically-funded, governed and regulated education sector, using public/private partnerships and outsourcing in service-delivery.
  • 7. [for a] critical theory of technology [that] can uncover that horizon, demystify the illusion of technical necessity, and expose the relativity of the prevailing technical choices. Feenberg, A. 1999. Questioning Technology, London: Taylor and Francis, p. 87
  • 8. Technology and the entrepreneurial turn “it is vital for our economy that British students are once more taught how to program code and master the tools of the digital age. “From September 2014, the new national curriculum will require that students aged between five and 16 are given the skills they need to build apps and write computer programs. The curriculum will cover theoretical ideas and practical problems, software and hardware systems – and it certainly won’t be an easy ride.” Osborne, G. 2013. Technology: let's make this country the best. Available at: http://bit.ly/12ZNHGn
  • 9. Educational technology: some cases we might discuss •cloud computing, data-mining and surveillance •Blackboard, private equity and the Pentagon •coding for kids and entrepreneurial pedagogies •Pearson and the extraction of rents •universities, PRISM and the Patriot Act •technologies that emerge from the militarisation of the university (e.g. Drones, gaming, hackerspaces/DARPA) •MOOCs and global labour arbitrage •learning analytics and commodification •conflict minerals and labour rights abuses
  • 10. What is to be done? the possibility of struggle and emancipation lies in the autonomous organisations that exist within and between both the factory and the community, with a focus on the forms of labour and the exertion of “working class power… at the level of the social factory, politically recomposing the division between factory and community.” Cleaver, H. 1979. Reading Capital Politically, University of Texas Press: Austin, TX, p. 161. Available at: http://libcom.org/files/cleaver- reading_capital_politically.pdf
  • 11. For educators deploying critical pedagogic responses, the question is how to use technology politically to recompose the realities of global struggles for emancipation, rather than for commodification and value.
  • 12. This presentation is unlicensed. This presentation wants to be free. This presentation contains no Fluoxetine, Amitriptyline or Lorazepam. It is not to be taken once-a-day with water. This presentation will not give you a future that works. This presentation is against silencing.

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