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Digital technology policies in Canada and Australia: an analysis of new rules for ‘new tech'
conference contributionposted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Joanne O'MaraJoanne O'Mara, L Laidlaw, Jillian BlackmoreJillian Blackmore, D Sumara
As mobile touch screen digital devices (MTSD) have moved into a more prominent position in classrooms and schools, the development of new policies to address these devices have also emerged at a rapid pace. While policy documents aimed at MTSD usage in schools are evident at range of levels, from school-based to education ministries and departments, there is relatively little research that examines such documents or their impact on teaching and learning. This paper reports on initial analyses of educational digital media and MSTD policies in education departments and schools in Victoria, Australia and Alberta, Canada. We examined these policy documents in relation to implications for resourcing, usage and teaching practice, as a part of a large-scale Canadian-funded comparative research project studying digital tools and practices. Schools must mediate and negotiate complex entangled environments that are all at once enabling and dis-abling of innovation, in relation to digital technologies. These complex environments are made visible through a closer reading of artifacts such as policy documents guiding technology use in schools and classrooms. Our paper will interrogate such documents, across both countries (Canada and Australia) and regions (Victoria and Alberta), in relation to several emergent themes: private vs. school funded ownership, attitudes towards ‘bring your own device' (BYOD) initiatives and "co-contributions", equity and access, and surveillance and control. As well, we will address how hopes and fears and understandings of digital literacy are represented, described and enacted through such policies. Our analyses will also contextualize our data in terms of the broader cultural, political and educational considerations that framing and undergirding policies in both countries, and, finally, we will address the different (and similar) assumptions that are communicated within the digital policy documents.