You are here:

Devices and desires: Competing visions of a good education in the digital age

British Journal of Educational Technology Volume 50, Number 3, ISSN 0007-1013 e-ISSN 0007-1013 Publisher: Wiley


The long anticipated ubiquity of digital technologies is now established in the developed world. The manifestations and consequences are not entirely as predicted, perhaps nowhere more so than in the classroom. Amid a clamour for the banning of mobile phone use in school, it is timely to reflect upon the Utopian dream of an enriched experience of education mediated by computers and consider where it all went wrong. Computer‐mediated instruction was supposed to free learners from the constraints which were preventing them from achieving their full potential. The barriers erected by inadequate teaching, impoverished curricula and limited assessment systems would be removed through the introduction of intelligent tutoring systems, worldwide access to information and comprehensive assessment protocols. In reality, the majority of OECD countries are still struggling to ensure that all school leavers have an adequate level of numeracy and literacy to serve their own and the national economy’s needs. This paper considers policy and practice in the introduction of digital technologies in schools as recorded in the available research evidence. The data sources are predominantly from the UK with some US examples. What emerges goes to the heart of what is meant by a good education.


McFarlane, A.E. (2019). Devices and desires: Competing visions of a good education in the digital age. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(3), 1125-1136. Wiley. Retrieved December 8, 2022 from .