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The Social Implications of the Use of Big Data in Education

The Social Implications of the Use of Big Data in Education

Project Contents


The power to capture and analyse vast amounts of data constitutes a paradigm shift in the ways we can understand and make decisions about learning and education, as description gives way to a wealth of possibilities for data modelling and prediction. While exciting, many choices about the use of data in education is driven by commercial agendas and data scientists, yet it is essential for researchers and educators to be part of this debate.

The project will take a comparative perspective and critically examine current strategies, policies and state of the art in the UK, the USA and Singapore to explore the following questions:

  • What are the (dis)continuities between how Big Data is designed to be used and how it is actually used in each education system and why?
  • What are the perceived benefits and challenges for learners, teachers and the educational system as a whole in the use of Big Data?
  • Who are the key players in the datafication of education in each country, and how do they connect?
  • What is the most appropriate theoretical lens to understand the role of big data in education?

This project will lay the necessary empirical and theoretical foundations for further work in this area, and generate debate on the wider social implications that the use of data is likely to mean in education policy and practice.


This research is currently supported by the John Fell OUP Research Fund at the University of Oxford.

Key Information

  • John Fell OUP Research Fund
  • Project dates:
    February 2016 - May 2017