ISJ November 2014: Book review – Learning in a digitalized age: Plugged in, turned on, totally engaged?
Edited by Lawrence Burke
Reviewed by James Cambridge.
What should the reader expect to find in a book about the impact of information and communications technologies (ICT) on education? My interest would concentrate on discussion of the neoliberal turn in education policy, with emphasis on the ways in which education has been transformed into a competitive marketplace.
Consequently, I would expect to see arguments influenced by George Ritzer’s (1993) seminal book on the McDonaldization of Society. Ritzer explains how organizations are focussed on efficiency (the optimal method for accomplishing a task), calculability (that only what is measurable is of value), predictability (no matter where a person goes, they will receive the same service and receive the same product every time), and control (standardized and uniform employees, replacement of human by non-human technologies). In so doing, Ritzer highlights the irrationality of rationality in ‘McDonaldized’ organizations.