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Against Educational Technology in the
Neoliberal University
Professor Richard Hall
@hallymk1 rhall1@dmu.ac.uk
richard-hall...
1. Technology reveals an entrepreneurial reconfiguring of
the idea of the University.
2. Technology is a crack through whi...
It's the devil's way now
There is no way out
You can scream and you can shout
It is too late now
Because you have not been...
technology and value in the
secular crisis
It took both time and experience before the workpeople
learned to distinguish between machinery and its employment
by capi...
Value emerges as a form of sociability (as capital) from the
unity of three circuits. It is formed of moments of the
circu...
Summers and Krugman (pace Hansen)
• systemic stagnation (population, education,
inequality, debt)
• below-trend aggregate ...
Michael Roberts
• the heart of the issue is the production for
profit by the private owners of the means of
production
• d...
Harry Cleaver
• counter-measures cannot resolve the
underlying problems of the system, rooted in
expansion and accumulatio...
Without radical changes to how universities were financed
however it was going to be difficult to change their
behaviour. ...
open data: accountability and consumerism
money: efficiency and the student experience
competition: new providers and inno...
Across the higher education system, institutions are using
technology in innovative ways.
Yet conventional universities no...
If we want a model of more inclusive growth, where more
people earn more – at the top of the hourglass, then we need
a hig...
Lord Young, adviser to the Prime Minister on small business and enterprise:
http://bit.ly/1l5iY3Z
Entrepreneurial activity enacted through new combinations of
technologies and practices to inject novelty into the circuit...
The difficulty of living in a society dominated by
value necessarily leads to the creation of all sorts
of ideologies to e...
the social nature of academic work is altered:
1.for exchange > use
2.university reorganisation = efficiency + productivit...
In the end the Party would announce that two and
two made five, and you would have to believe it...
Not merely the validit...
technology, higher education and
the rule of money
Education markets are one facet of the neoliberal strategy to
manage the structural crisis of capitalism by opening the pu...
transnational activist
networks/associations of
capitals
CB Insights. 2014. Ed Tech Investment and Exit Report. http://bit.ly/1uxqExB
2014 Ed Tech Review – The Largest Financings and
Most Active VCs in Ed Tech
http://bit.ly/1zVUzF0
Kleiner Perkins Caufield...
At Pearson, when we ask ourselves how we can help to achieve
that goal of doubling the amount of really high value learnin...
http://blog.pearson.com/african-outcomes/
Blackboard Partnerships: http://bit.ly/1AODudf
Blackboard ownership: http://bit.ly/1GyeBGE
Blackboard’s pivots: http://bit...
Bain and Company (2012): rents/commodification; labour arbitrage;
investment and profits.
• seize opportunities to use exp...
The interrelationship between profitability and investment.
Technological innovations as responses to:
• lower levels of p...
it is impossible to understand the role of the University
without developing a critique of its relationships to a
transnat...
I know I have to come right out and say it, because very few people
in education technology will: there is a problem with ...
1. Technological innovation = social forces in struggle + need
to overcome temporal/spatial barriers to accumulation
2. Se...
Mass Intellectuality and
Open Co-operativism
the accumulation of knowledge and of skill, of
the general productive forces of the social brain,
is thus absorbed into ca...
As intellectual workers we refuse the fetishised concept of the
knowledge society and engage in teaching, learning and
res...
the possibility of struggle and emancipation lies in the
autonomous organisations that exist within and between both
the f...
Collective work is one of the cements of autonomy, whose
fruits usually spill into hospitals, clinics, primary and
seconda...
Amsler: ‘a little more of a
politicised relation to truth
in affairs of education,
knowledge and academic
practice’
Mass intellectuality is based on our common
ability to do, based on our needs and
capacities and what needs to be done.
Wh...
We base our struggle on principles of equality, direct democracy, solidarity,
mutual care and support.
1) Free and univers...
Open co-operativism and ‘possibilities for associational networks’
• democratic governance and regulation of transnational...
to trigger and coordinate a global participatory process and
immediate national application for the change of productive m...
We acknowledge the co-operative movement as one of the
transforming forces of the present society based upon class
antagon...
Inside the University, can educational
technology be (ref)used politically to recompose
the realities of global struggles,...
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 International License.
Against educational technology in the neoliberal University
Against educational technology in the neoliberal University
Against educational technology in the neoliberal University
Against educational technology in the neoliberal University
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Against educational technology in the neoliberal University

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Slides for my presentation at the CAMRI Research Seminar on 25 March 2015 [see: http://www.westminster.ac.uk/camri/research-seminars/richard-hall-against-educational-technology-in-the-neoliberal-university]

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Against educational technology in the neoliberal University

  1. 1. Against Educational Technology in the Neoliberal University Professor Richard Hall @hallymk1 rhall1@dmu.ac.uk richard-hall.org CAMRI Research Seminar, University of Westminster// 25 March 2015
  2. 2. 1. Technology reveals an entrepreneurial reconfiguring of the idea of the University. 2. Technology is a crack through which we might analyse the interests that drive value production and accumulation, and their relation to power. 3. Might mass intellectuality and open co-operativism offer a space for alternative formations?
  3. 3. It's the devil's way now There is no way out You can scream and you can shout It is too late now Because you have not been paying attention Radiohead. 2003. 2+2=5 (The Lukewarm).
  4. 4. technology and value in the secular crisis
  5. 5. It took both time and experience before the workpeople learned to distinguish between machinery and its employment by capital and to direct their attacks, not against the material instruments of production, but against the mode in which they are used. Marx, K. 2004. Capital Volume 1, p. 554. Technology discloses man’s mode of dealing with Nature, the process of production by which he sustains his life, and thereby also lays bare the mode of formation of his social relations, and of the mental conceptions that flow from them. Marx, K. 2004. Capital Volume 1, p. 493.
  6. 6. Value emerges as a form of sociability (as capital) from the unity of three circuits. It is formed of moments of the circulation of money, of production, and of commodities. The self-expansion of value is “the determining purpose, as the compelling motive.” Marx, K. 1885. Capital, Volume 2, Chapter 4. Accumulated value, and the power that flows from it, means that other forms of human or humane value in the production of commodities are marginalised. Jappe, A. 2014. Towards a History of the Critique of Value. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. 25(2): 11
  7. 7. Summers and Krugman (pace Hansen) • systemic stagnation (population, education, inequality, debt) • below-trend aggregate demand/growth, under- investment • Total Factor Productivity, Human Capital Theory, innovation, entrepreneurialism, family Secular crisis 1
  8. 8. Michael Roberts • the heart of the issue is the production for profit by the private owners of the means of production • deleveraging; liquidation; productivity; profitability Secular crisis 2
  9. 9. Harry Cleaver • counter-measures cannot resolve the underlying problems of the system, rooted in expansion and accumulation • counter-measures undermine capitalism’s legitimacy Secular crisis 3
  10. 10. Without radical changes to how universities were financed however it was going to be difficult to change their behaviour. Now there is an opportunity to use our funding changes to push a real cultural change back towards teaching (emphasis added, p. 47) Willetts, D. 2013. Robbins Revisited: Bigger and Better Higher Education. London: Social Market Foundation. http://bit.ly/1mhl2By See also: the use of secondary legislation; student debt and university funding; leveraging finance capital and the bond markets; student number controls; core and marginal numbers; deregulation; monetisation of the student loan book; student loans and credit default swaps/derivatives; internationalisation; MOOC-boosterism; learning analytics/data; lean/MSP methods; zero-hour contracts, casualization and outsourcing; the entrepreneurial turn; corporate partnerships; etc..
  11. 11. open data: accountability and consumerism money: efficiency and the student experience competition: new providers and innovation, entrepreneurialism and cost-efficiency IPPR. 2013. Securing the future of higher education. http://bit.ly/19fiLpt c.f. Sir Michael Barber, and criticism here, and here, and here, and here.
  12. 12. Across the higher education system, institutions are using technology in innovative ways. Yet conventional universities no longer hold all the cards on how the higher education market develops. Although MOOCs are still at a relatively early stage, they are evolving fast and may have the potential to tackle some particular challenges – such as an apparent mismatch between the supply and demand for high-level computer skills. Willetts, D. 2013. Robbins Revisited: Bigger and Better Higher Education. London: Social Market Foundation, p. 69. http://bit.ly/1mhl2By
  13. 13. If we want a model of more inclusive growth, where more people earn more – at the top of the hourglass, then we need a higher education system that helps to build better jobs and equips people with the skills for high skilled, high value- added, non-routine jobs. It reminded me of something blunter that Paul Hofheinz, President of the Lisbon Council said to me...: “if we want to live better than others, then we will have to be better than others.” So our goal is bold and simple: to build a bigger knowledge economy Byrne, L. 2014. Robbins Rebooted: How We Earn Our Way in the Second Machine Age. London: Social Market Foundation, pp. 27, 29.
  14. 14. Lord Young, adviser to the Prime Minister on small business and enterprise: http://bit.ly/1l5iY3Z
  15. 15. Entrepreneurial activity enacted through new combinations of technologies and practices to inject novelty into the circuits of capitalism. Entrepreneurship operates through counter-acting norms and can never be stabilised. Competitive success rooted in a new productive environment that accommodates power: first in expanding the time-scale for returns; second in expanding the arena for competition. Davies, W. 2014. The Limits of Neoliberalism. London: Sage, pp. 52-3.
  16. 16. The difficulty of living in a society dominated by value necessarily leads to the creation of all sorts of ideologies to explain the suffering caused by such a society and that enable the subjects of labour to project onto others the qualities that they are forced to expel from themselves. [e.g. luddite, inefficient, digital immigrant, uncreative, geek, nerd] Jappe, A. 2014. Towards a History of the Critique of Value. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. 25(2): 11
  17. 17. the social nature of academic work is altered: 1.for exchange > use 2.university reorganisation = efficiency + productivity 3.as a structural adjustment policy that reshapes the relationship between the academic/student and the University
  18. 18. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it... Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense... If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable — what then? Orwell, G. 1948. 1984. London: Penguin.
  19. 19. technology, higher education and the rule of money
  20. 20. Education markets are one facet of the neoliberal strategy to manage the structural crisis of capitalism by opening the public sector to capital accumulation. Lipman, P. 2009: http://bit.ly/qDl6sV Digitization is reducing labor content of services and products in an unprecedented way, thus fundamentally changing the way remuneration is allocated across labor and capital.... Mature economies will suffer most as they don't have the population growth to increase autonomous demand nor powerful enough labor unions or political parties to (re-)allocate gains in what continues to be a global economy. Gartner. 2013. Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2014 and Beyond. http://gtnr.it/17RLm2v
  21. 21. transnational activist networks/associations of capitals
  22. 22. CB Insights. 2014. Ed Tech Investment and Exit Report. http://bit.ly/1uxqExB
  23. 23. 2014 Ed Tech Review – The Largest Financings and Most Active VCs in Ed Tech http://bit.ly/1zVUzF0 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers http://bit.ly/1fm9vhp Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Teardown: financing, exit and people data [http://bit.ly/1GyaN8m] Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers: Education http://www.kpcb.com/blog/tag/Education
  24. 24. At Pearson, when we ask ourselves how we can help to achieve that goal of doubling the amount of really high value learning [at no extra total cost], we think about four things: being more global; being more mobile; thinking holistically; being absolutely obsessed with learning outcomes “building an ever-wider range of bigger and more complex standalone products and services to participating in more open, interoperable educational ‘ecosystems’, centered around learners” monetisation at scale; more data; demographic/intergenerational shifts Pearson’s Five Trillion Dollar Question: http://bit.ly/1iaRaMp
  25. 25. http://blog.pearson.com/african-outcomes/
  26. 26. Blackboard Partnerships: http://bit.ly/1AODudf Blackboard ownership: http://bit.ly/1GyeBGE Blackboard’s pivots: http://bit.ly/1CB7PRp
  27. 27. Bain and Company (2012): rents/commodification; labour arbitrage; investment and profits. • seize opportunities to use exportable services to increase revenues and profits [MOOCs] • upgrade low-tech products into premium consumer goods and services [curriculum; learning analytics] • services bound by physical geography made portable [mobile] • leading universities in the advanced economies can accelerate the training of home-grown specialists in emerging economies • by importing the talent of highly-skilled professionals from companies in developed markets, businesses in the emerging markets will not need to wait a generation for their own education systems to produce a skilled workforce
  28. 28. The interrelationship between profitability and investment. Technological innovations as responses to: • lower levels of profitability; • increasing global consumption; and • making previously marginal sectors of the economy explicitly productive. Technological innovation: • a way of leveraging the ratio of the total surplus-value produced in society to the total capital invested; • a redistribution of surplus value from businesses that produce commodities or services like universities to those that market them or that lend money to make academic labour productive; • revolutionising the means of production.
  29. 29. it is impossible to understand the role of the University without developing a critique of its relationships to a transnational capitalist class pace Robinson, W.I. 2004. A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World. Johns Hopkins UP.
  30. 30. I know I have to come right out and say it, because very few people in education technology will: there is a problem with computers. Culturally. Ideologically. There's a problem with the Internet. Largely designed by men from the developed world, it is built for men of the developed world. Men of science. Men of industry. Military men. Venture capitalists. Despite all the hype and hope about revolution and access and opportunity that these new technologies will provide us, they do not negate hierarchy, history, privilege, power. They reflect those. They channel it. They concentrate it, in new ways and in old. Watters, A. 2015. Men Still Explain.
  31. 31. 1. Technological innovation = social forces in struggle + need to overcome temporal/spatial barriers to accumulation 2. Secular control: the power of transnational capitalism over the objective, material reality of life = reinforced technologically and pedagogically 3. To argue for emancipation through technological innovation is to fetishise technology
  32. 32. Mass Intellectuality and Open Co-operativism
  33. 33. the accumulation of knowledge and of skill, of the general productive forces of the social brain, is thus absorbed into capital, as opposed to labour, and hence appears as an attribute of capital, and more specifically of fixed capital [machinery]. Marx, K. 1993. Grundrisse. London: Penguin.
  34. 34. As intellectual workers we refuse the fetishised concept of the knowledge society and engage in teaching, learning and research only in so far as we can re-appropriate the knowledge that has been stolen from the workers that have produced this way of knowing (i.e. Abundance). In the society of abundance the university as an institutional form is dissolved, and becomes a social form or knowledge at the level of society (i.e. The General Intellect). It is only on this basis that we can knowingly address the global emergencies with which we are all confronted. The University of Utopia. 2014. Anti-Curriculum: A course of action. http://bit.ly/1qgEq8C
  35. 35. 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. http://bit.ly/Y3w2Pf
  36. 36. Collective work is one of the cements of autonomy, whose fruits usually spill into hospitals, clinics, primary and secondary education, in strengthening the municipalities and the good government juntas. Not much that has been constructed would be possible without the collective work, of men, women, boys, girls and the elderly. Zibechi, R. 2013. Autonomous Zapatista Education: The Little Schools of Below. http://bit.ly/19XfrAF
  37. 37. Amsler: ‘a little more of a politicised relation to truth in affairs of education, knowledge and academic practice’
  38. 38. Mass intellectuality is based on our common ability to do, based on our needs and capacities and what needs to be done. What needs to be done raises doing from the level of the individual to the level of society.
  39. 39. We base our struggle on principles of equality, direct democracy, solidarity, mutual care and support. 1) Free and universally accessible education not geared to profit 2) Workers’ rights 3) Genuine university democracy 4) Divestment: We demand that the school cuts its ties to exploitative and destructive organisations, such as those involved in wars, military occupations and the destruction of the planet. 5) Liberation: Counter Terrorism Bill; #copsoffcampus; anti-discrimination; ethics ROAR Collective. 2015. Why we occupy: LSE students mobilize for a free university. http://bit.ly/1x8k6Mj See also Warwick for Free Education: http://bit.ly/1BWnc4N
  40. 40. Open co-operativism and ‘possibilities for associational networks’ • democratic governance and regulation of transnational worker co-operatives • conversion, dissolution or creation: transitional and pedagogic • connect to the circuits of p2p production and distribution • a framework for the common ownership of products, assets and commodities • reflect the open, democratic, autonomous, social focus of co- operatives • reclamation of public environments for the globalised, socialised dissemination of knowledge (e.g. copyfarleft) • connecting a global set of educational commons rooted in critical pedagogy
  41. 41. to trigger and coordinate a global participatory process and immediate national application for the change of productive matrix towards a society of open and common knowledge in Ecuador resulting in 10 base documents for legislation and state policies (synchronized with the organic social code for the knowledge economy) as well as useful for the production networks of knowledge that already exist in Ecuador. The conceptual, philosophical and economic process and the historical and socio-cognitive context framework, the organizational principles governing the process, collaborative and communicative digital tools and advance planning of the whole process. FLOK Society. 2014. General Framework Document to implement the Ecuadorian National Plan for Good Living (2009). http://bit.ly/1pYHW7w
  42. 42. We acknowledge the co-operative movement as one of the transforming forces of the present society based upon class antagonism. Its great merit is to practically show, that the present pauperising, and despotic system of the subordination of labour to capital can be superseded by the republican and beneficent system of the association of free and equal producers. We recommend to the working men to embark in co-operative production rather than in co-operative stores. The latter touch but the surface of the present economical system, the former attacks its groundwork. Marx, K. 1866. Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council: The Different Questions. The International Workingmen's Association.
  43. 43. Inside the University, can educational technology be (ref)used politically to recompose the realities of global struggles, rather than for value?
  44. 44. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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