Paper presented at a master class with Evan Selinger at the university of Roskilde in 2019.

For the last four decades, political institutions have made a dramatic push for digitizing education. In the period, many arguments have been made for the project of reforming the educational system, by mainly technological means (creating access to the internet, providing schools with computers and tablets, the distribution of digital learning materials, integration of smartphones into education, the creation of so called “fab labs” etc.). I will zoom in on only one of the arguments here, namely a stable, popular, recurring and powerful conception of an “active learning”-subject. It is very common to associate digital learning technologies to more engaged, creative, innovative learning processes than the learning that happened in a past that is rendered as “passive” by policy writers and educational theorists. One illustrative example of this, is a quote from an influential whitepaper published by the European Union in 1993: “Towards the learning society” (European Commission, 1993).

“The information society is going to change teaching methods by replacing the excessively passive teacher/pupil relationship with a new – and seemingly promising – interactive relationship”. (p. 7).

Jesper Balslev