and Geoff Cooper (2000) 'Making Connections: Children,
Technology, and the National Grid for Learning'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 5, no. 3, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/5/3/moran- ellis.html>
To cite articles published in Sociological Research Online, please reference the above information and include paragraph numbers if necessary
Received: 8/9/2000 Accepted: 17/11/2000 Published: 31/11/2000
'a way of finding and using on-line learning and teaching materials. A mosaic of inter-connecting networks and education services based on the Internet which will support teaching, learning, training and administration in schools, colleges, universities, libraries, the workplace and homes' (CtLS, executive summary).The timetable for implementation of the Grid proposed that services would be available on the Grid from Autumn 1998, and all schools would be connected by 2002. Although there was some slippage, the Grid is now up and running.
'Children cannot be effective in tomorrow's world if they are trained in yesterday's skills' (CtLS, Foreword)
'Learners with special needs also stand to gain from the development of the Grid, providing their particular and individual requirements are taken into account from the outset. For example attention needs to be given to the requirements of learners with a range of visual impairments. The Grid has the potential to make available additional support for special schools, pupils and students with special needs within mainstream schools and FE...The Grid should also offer valuable facilities for very able children.' (CtLS, point 39)
'...It is already clear that the Grid must provide:....equality of access for learners, [including] those for whom English is not the first language; and those with special needs;' (CtLS, point 36)
'Technology has revolutionised the way we work and is now set to transform education. Children cannot be effective in tomorrow's world if they are trained in yesterday's skills.' (CtLS, Foreword)
'ensure that schools do not have to "reinvent the wheel" in key areas of teaching, allowing them to try what works successfully elsewhere' (O'Leary, 1998).
'Remove barriers to learning, ensuring opportunities for access for all, including those in isolated areas and those with special needs' (CtLS, Executive Summary)
'It [the Grid] must also contribute to a wide range of educational, lifelong learning and social initiatives including the University for Industry and our Welfare to Work programme' (CtLS, point 6)
'setting challenging targets for ICT in education and lifelong learning to help ensure that as a resource the Grid is not wasted' (CtLS, point 65)
'We believe this strategy [National Grid for Learning/Connecting the Learning Society] will be good for our children and our companies' (CtLS, Foreword)
'We have great strengths in this area - with some world-beating companies from software to broadcasting, from films to computing. We have the asset of the English language. By pioneering this market at home, we aim to create markets for our companies abroad'. (CtLS, Foreword)
'We propose that...consortia would be encouraged to develop home learning centres (packages of equipment, connectivity, software, services and support which would be marketed to parents and individuals as compatible with the Grid)....The advantage to the industry would be an increase in sales.... (CtLS, point 60)
'This paper explains the Governments proposals for securing the benefits of advanced networked technologies for education and lifelong learning...helping to bring about our vision of the learning society.' (CtLS, point 1)
'We intend that all learners should be able to benefit in the medium to long term, whether at school, in further education, in higher education, in training, in - or seeking - work, and at home' (CtLS, point 6)
'enable pupils at school or from home...to improve their literacy and numeracy... ....help children doing history or geography homework to gain access to worldwide sources and data ...enable parents to access general school information, and send messages to the school; and to participate more fully in their parent-teacher associations' (CtLS, point 41)
'...network literacy [is] the capacity to use electronic networks to access resources, and to communicate with others. These elements of network literacy can be seen as extensions of traditional skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. This is of central importance and provides a link with the Government's focus on improving standards of literacy' (CtLS, point 21).
'The Grid will make available to all learners the riches of the world's intellectual, cultural and scientific heritage. Because information can be distributed virtually free over the Internet, the Grid will open up learning to the individual and take it beyond the confines of institutional walls' (CtLS, point 6).
The question is: what do you need to become an active citizen in the global economy? (Walker, 1998: 14)
'informationalism's openness to 'lifelong learning' backhandedly acknowledges the inability of even the best schooling to shelter one from the vicissitudes of the new global marketplace. Education, although more necessary than ever, appears much like a vaccine that must be repeatedly taken in stronger doses to ward off more virulent strains of the corresponding disease in this case, technologically induced unemployment' (Fuller, 1999: 164).
2The Department for Education and Employment. Website address: <www.dfee.gov.uk>
3The Grid can be accessed at <www.ngfl.gov.uk/ngfl/>
4The authors' respective fields of interest are the sociology of childhood, and science and technology studies. For an indication of the range of issues arising in this area, see Hutchby and Moran-Ellis (forthcoming).
5Harvey (2000) has noted the recurrence of this problematic formulation in which the desired technological outcome is taken as given, and particular categories of people as obstacles to its realisation.
6Oswell (1998) documents the rather different constructions of the child within policy discourse focused on the regulation of internet: the three constructions that he identifies in that context, are all related to issues of danger.
7See for example ->
8See Webster (1995) for a general overview of some of these issues.
9Thanks to Nicola Green for directing us to this article.
10There is of course no necessary link between determinism and optimism; indeed, as both Buckingham (1998) and Bingham et al (1999) have argued with respect to children and new technology, positive and negative views of likely 'effects' are frequently framed by common deterministic assumptions, thus mirroring each other.
11This is just one of an increasing number of literacies and cognate competencies which are deemed to be requisite features of modern citizenship, one of the latest being financial literacy; see Cameron (2000) on the reconfiguration of talk as a set of educable skills.
12This leaves to one side the question of to what extent the technology can be said to transform the nature of information and indeed knowledge; see for example Kittler (1990).
13A key theme in examinations of technology in education has been the undesirability of over-reliance on technology, and the assertion that this is based on the false premise that information and knowledge are equivalent: see Roszack's (1986) critical argument on this. Although this is a vitally important issue, it falls outside our remit in this paper.
14See for example <http://www.lifelonglearning.co.uk/iln/j2- 16.htm> and <http://www.lifelonglearning.co.uk/nagcell2/& gt;
15See Edwards et al (2000) for an empirical exploration of recent Government policy on home school relations.
16These issues can be related to other developments in education, such as the increase in standardised curricula in western societies (see for example Tyler, 1999).
17See <http://www.vtc.ngfl.gov.uk/vtc/library/pub.ht ml> 'The Grid - Your Views' for the comments that were received.
18Indeed, it is not absent from the analytic apparatus of this article. Castells (1996) provides perhaps the strongest (ontological) formulation of the network/society relation: 'Networks constitute the new social morphology of our societies' (Castells, 1996: 469).
BINGHAM, N, Valentine, G and Holloway, S (1999) Where do you want to go tomorrow? Connecting children and the internet, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 17, 655-672.
BROMLEY, H (1997) Thinking about computers and schools: a skeptical view, in P. Agre and D. Schuler (eds) Reinventing Technology, Rediscovering Community, London: JAI Press.
BUCKINGHAM, D (1998) Children of the electronic age? Digital media and the new generational rhetoric, European Journal of Communication, 13(4), 557-565.
CAMERON, D (2000) Good to Talk, London: Sage.
CASTELLS, M (1996) The Rise of the Network Society, Oxford: Blackwell.
COOPER, G and BOWERS, J (1995) Representing the user: notes on the disciplinary rhetoric of human-computer interaction, in P. Thomas (ed) The Social and Interactional Dimensions of Computer Interfaces, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
COOPER, G and WOOLGAR, S (1996) Software quality as community performance, in R. Mansell (ed) Management of Information and Communication Technologies, London: Aslib .
DEPARTMENT for Education and Employment (1997) Connecting the Learning Society: National Grid for Learning. The Government's Consultation Paper.
DUTTON, W (1999) Society on the Line: information politics in the digital age, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
EDWARDS, R, ALLDRED, P and DAVID, M (2000) Children's understandings of parental involvement in education Children 5-16 Briefing, Swindon: ESRC.
FACER, K (2000) Exploding the myth of the cyberkid: exploring how use and ambivalent attitudes to computers amongst young people, paper presented at 'Virtual Society? Get Real!' conference, Ashridge, 4-5 May.
FULLER, S (1999) Review of Manuel Castells, 'The Information Age', in Science, Technology and Human Values, 24 (1) pp159-166.
HARVEY, P (2000) E-commerce and cultural connection, paper presented at 'Delivering the Virtual Promise?' conference, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, 19 June.
HUTCHBY, I and MORAN-ELLIS, J (eds) (forthcoming) Children, Technology and Culture, London: Falmer Press.
KITTLER, F (1990) Discourse Networks 1800/1900, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
LACLAU, E (1977) Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory, London: Verso.
LACLAU, E and Mouffe, C (1985) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, London: Verso.
LATOUR, B (1987) Science in Action, Harvard: Harvard University Press.
LATOUR, B (1993) We Have Never Been Modern, Brighton: Harvester.
LIVINGSTONE, S & BOVILL, M (1999) Young People, New Media London: London School of Economics.
LULL, J (1980) The Social Uses of Television Human Communication Research 6, 197-209.
MACKENZIE, D and WACJMAN, J (eds) (1999) Editors preface, The Social Shaping of Technology, 2nd edition, Buckingham: Open University Press.
MCNAMEE, S (1998) Youth, gender and video games: power and control in the home in G Valentine & T. Skelton (eds) Cool Places: geographies of youth culture, London:Routledge.
O'LEARY, J (1998) Blunkett's digital dream goes online, The Times, 16 January, p 39.
OSWELL, D (1998) The place of 'childhood' in internet content regulation: a case study of policy in the UK, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 1, 131-151.
QVORTRUP, J. (1994) Childhood Matters : An Introduction. In Qvortrup, J, Bardy, M, Sgritta, G and Wintersberger, H. (eds) Childhood Matters, Aldershot: Avebury.
ROSZACK, T (1986) The Cult of Information, New York: Pantheon.
SEFTON-GREEN, J (1999) Introduction: being young in the digital age, in J. Sefton-Green (ed) Digital Diversions: youth culture in the age of multimedia, London: UCL Press/Taylor and Francis.
SELWYN, N (1999) Schooling the Information Society? The place of the information superhighway in education, Information, Communication and Society, 2 (2) 156-173.
STEWART, J and Williams, R (1998) The Coevolution of Society and Multimedia Technology: issues in predicting the future innovation and use of a ubiquitous technology, Social Science Computer Review, 16 (3), 268-282.
TYLER, W (1999) Pedagogic identities and educational reform in the 1990s: the cultural dynamics of national curricula, in F. Christie (ed) Pedagogy and the Shaping of Consciousness: linguistic and social processes, London: Cassell.
VALENTINE, G; HOLLOWAY, S & BINGHAM, N (1998) Cyberkids: Children's Social Networks, 'virtual communities' and on-line spaces. Paper given at 2nd International Conference on Children and Social Competence, Brunel University, UK, 1-3 July 1998.
VALENTINE, G & HOLLOWAY, S (forthcoming) ''Technophobia': Parents' and children's fears about information and communication technologies and the transformation of culture and society' in I Hutchby & J Moran- Ellis, op cit.
VATTIMO, G (1992) The Transparent Society, Oxford: Polity.
WALKER, D (1998) Log on to the learning curve, The Times, Interface p 14.
WEBSTER, F (1995) Theories of the Information Society, London: Routledge.
WINSTON, B (1998) Media Technology and Society, London: Routledge.