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More than tools? Critical perspectives and alternative visions of technology in higher education

Digital Technology has been promoted as a crucial element for the improvement of contemporary education, and one of the key challenges to face Higher Education all over the world.  Universities are now awash with digital systems and devices, with the promise of improving the performance of students and educators by enhancing learning, boosting enrolment, retention and completion rates. Individuals everywhere increasingly engage in higher education along digital lines.  In parallel, educational technology is now a multi-billion dollar industry – involving global technology corporations in local educational provision and practice. The need to ask critical questions of the relationship higher education and technology is more pressing than ever.

Against this background, this thematic series looks at the impact of digital technology on higher education through a deliberately critical lens. We are interested in moving beyond notions of technology as an instrumental issue that is neutrally implemented, and instead develop more nuanced analyses by problematizing the claims and assumptions surrounding higher education in a digital age.

Recent critical scholarship of technology has encompassed many study area and research topics. These include the understanding of new literacies and personal competencies under the view of media and arts education, philosophy of education, community education, critical pedagogy and activist education. There are also burgeoning critiques of technology within feminist and gender studies literatures, policy studies, and emerging interest in critical realist, socio-material and post-humanist directions.

The aim of this article collection to foreground these approaches in terms of discussions of higher education and technology.

Edited by:  Linda Castañeda and Neil Selwyn