Digital Geographies

Emerging data infrastructures and the new topologies of education policy

This paper examines how datafication is creating new topologies of education policy. Specifically, we analyse how the creation of data infrastructures that enable the generation, communication and representation of digital data are changing relations of power, including both centralised and dispersed forms, and space in education. The paper uses conceptual resources from cultural topology and infrastructure studies to provide a framework for analysing spatial relations between educational data, discourses, policies and practices in new governance configurations. The paper outlines a case study of an emergent data infrastructure in Australian schooling, the National Schools Interoperability Program, to provide empirical evidence of the movement, connection and enactment of digital data across policy spaces. Key aspects of this case include the ways that data infrastructure is: (i) enabling new private and public connections across policy topologies; (ii) creating a new role for technical standards in education policy and (iii) changing the topological spaces of education governance.

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Volume 37 Issue 2