Ben Williamson (University of Stirling):
Exploring these matters would mean taking a close critical interest in the material and virtual form of, for example, policy texts, curriculum guides, and school websites, and particularly in the social media tools and resources now commonly used to share and distribute information and knowledge about education. Drawing from literary theory, it would require us to examine the bibliographic codes of educational texts—the various textual, typographic, visual and material techniques they deploy—and to explain how these ultimately transform the linguistic codes they contain. This kind of approach would examine the radial social factors that surround and shape the physical production of a text—such as the role of publishers, editors, typographers, designers, distributors and so on—and their effect on its reception and meaning. In order to capture the distinctive forms of digitally mediated educational sources, it would also take up a software studies approach to the political, cultural and conceptual formation of software and a close analysis of its layers of computer code, algorithmic logic, programming languages, visualization, and ordering. If education can be tweeted, then how does the computationally coded form of the tweet affect it?
Paying close attention to the bibliographic codes, linguistic codes and computer codes which shape the distribution, reception and meanings of educational matters would be valuable given the extent to which we now find education scattered kaleidoscopically across a variety of material print forms, electronic resources, social media and, increasingly, in myriad forms of data presentation.
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