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Title: Does not compute : social dissonance in England's computing education policy
Author: Larke, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 7517
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The new computing component of England's National Curriculum was promoted as an effective and egalitarian way to provide young people with the skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking necessary to participate in an increasingly digitalised world, both as citizens and as potential tech entrepreneurs or computer scientists. What policymakers did not adequately account for was how state schools would interpret this new policy, the impact it might realistically have on young people's relationship with modern digital technologies, and whether there might be a mismatch between the pro-technology narratives represented in this curriculum and the everyday beliefs and experiences of teachers and young families. England is at an important turning point as it haltingly transitions from its manufacturing roots to a digitalised knowledge society, with a growing nostalgia for its former position as an imperialistic power of world-leading technological advancement. Through this study I will unveil the power relationships and shared socio-cultural knowledge behind the computing education policy's creation and its implementation. I will do this by answering the following research questions: 1) How are teachers translating the computing education policy into practice and why? 2) In what ways are the computing education policy influencing students' understanding of and disposition towards digital technology and why? and 3) What does the computing education policy - and teachers' and students' response to it - say about the incongruity between public policy around digital technology and people's real-world experiences and understandings of it? Using teacher interviews, student writing and drawings, student interviews, extensive classroom observations, and policy analysis, this ethnographic case study of four primary school classrooms in the South of England will examine how the addition of computing to England's National Curriculum came to pass and why it is not meeting its stated goals, before discussing what this means about past assumptions and future possibilities for young people's engagement with and understanding of modern digital technologies in formal education settings. My study contributes a unique perspective of a single education policy as it passes through three different stages in its development and implementation, encountering and being shaped by the beliefs and values of several groups along the way. The results of this study inform our understanding of how power relationships function to define a policy's purpose and value across different settings, demonstrating how the power to define equates to the power to shape reality.
Supervisor: Eynon, Rebecca ; Winters, Niall Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Policy ; Sociology ; Education