Near Future Teaching: Practice, policy and digital education futures

Sian Bayne*, Michael Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

When considering digital futures for universities it is the instrumentalising narratives developed by corporate ‘ed-tech’ which often drive the debate. These are narratives which, aligning tightly to marketisation, unbundling and other dominant ideological trends, describe a highly technologised, datafied and surveillant future for teaching. This future is often framed as an imperative, leaving university communities with the sense that a future is being designed for them over which they have relatively little control. This paper describes the theory, methods and outcomes of a project which set out to counter this tendency, using participative, co-design methods within a ‘top down’ policy initiative to envision an alternative future for digital education within our own institution.

Our starting point was that universities need to get better at crafting their own, compelling counter-narratives concerning the future of technology in teaching, in order to assert the agency and presence of the academic and student bodies in the face of technological change. In working toward this, we drew on recent thinking in anticipation studies in education and developed an original methodology for participative futures work within universities. The paper reports on the outcomes of this project, and its implications for the sector more generally, arguing that university communities can work to define their own digital futures through an emphasis on collectivity, participation and hope.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-625
Number of pages19
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number5
Early online date6 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital education
  • futures studies
  • policy future
  • futures
  • anticipation
  • universities


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