The Socio-Technical Imaginaries of Digital Education Policy in Mexico (2012-2022)

New publication from the RED team!

Dussel, I., & Williams, F. (2023). Los imaginarios sociotécnicos de la política educativa digital en México (2012-2022). Profesorado. Revista de Curriculum y Formación del Profesorado, 27(1), 39-60.

The published paper presents an analysis of Mexican educational policies addressing digital digital technologies and the issue of inequality, utilizing the concept of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’, developed by Sheila Jasanoff and Sang-Hyun Kim. The corpus comprises over 220 documents spanning from 2012 to 2022, corresponding to two distinct administrations (each lasting six years) with opposing political orientations. It encompasses official sources as well as “grey literature” from newspapers and blogs. These documents were analysed to identify problematizations and significant nodal points related to the envisioning of socio-technical futures. This analysis was carried out using the Infranodus software in conjunction with a thorough critical reading.

The findings prompt a contemplation of educational priorities concerning digital technologies and inequality across both time periods. Despite the contrasting rhetoric between the two six-year terms, certain shared assumptions emerge: the direct linkage between digital technologies and economic growth, the narrative of inevitable technological change, and the potential for mitigating inequality through virtual offerings that expand coverage. Among the divergent aspects, the more recent six-year term demonstrates heightened concern for inequality, a discursive shift toward concepts such as digital culture, and an inclination to transcend technocratic perspectives. However, there’s an absence of reference to Big Data or data colonization, and the digital realm seems confined to enhancing income and access to equipment and connectivity.

Within this conception, the risks brought about by these technologies are linked to the bad practices of users, without considering the agencies of digital platforms or the interests of large corporations. The limited ethical reflections formulated tend to pose superficial queries about connectivity risks, offering vague solutions to the challenges posed by the burgeoning digitalization of society. Education policies continue to be shaped by a perception of the nation-state’s robust capacity to direct digitalization processes within schools. The presence of transnational actors challenging this educational governance model goes unrecognized. As is the case in other domains, digital education policies fail to engage with the intricate interplay of actors and contexts within the Mexican education system.

Finally, it’s noteworthy that the analysed documents lack substantial pedagogical reflection on the transformations wrought by the new knowledge infrastructures. Celebratory speeches heralding the successful integration of digital technologies, viewed by some as an imminent future and by others as a distant one, provide limited space for a comprehensive analysis of the utilization of these tools in classrooms, homes, and society.  The absence of orientations and debates regarding the advance of algorithmisation in education and the new digital governance raises questions about the capacity of these policies to guide educational practices in the face of contemporary challenges.

For further, details, follow the link to the paper (open access):