Editor’s Note: Four forces are shaping our classrooms

September 19, 2017 Phil McRae, Editor, The Learning Team



Education systems around the world are now witnessing a variety of educational changes and improvements, numerous social and economic disruptions, and the onset of rapid technological advances that were unimaginable in the past. Within this tsunami of change, innovative teaching and learning practices that employ emerging technologies are sweeping into our Alberta schools and classrooms with the broader goal of transforming student learning.

While technologies present education systems with both significant opportunities and challenges, some of the most profound developments are related to four key forces: the standardization, personalization, privatization and datafication of learning.

Given the significance of these forces, Education International (EI), the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) identified a need to explore the interdisciplinary research underpinning technology-driven datafication and its effects on teaching and learning around the world.

This edition of The Learning Team shares some highlights from this research and is part of a larger project entitled We the Educators (www.wetheeducators.com), which brings the four key forces to life through short videos and animations in multiple languages.

I encourage you to learn more about how these forces are reshaping our schools and classrooms. Engage in a rich public dialogue via wetheeducators.com and help bring a greater scrutiny to the relationship between the datafication of education systems and the (de)personalization, privatization and standardization of student learning.

Through this research and beyond, Alberta teachers will continue to advocate for the conditions of professional practice that are required to create teaching and learning environments that advance the goal of a strong publicly funded public education system: to educate all children and youth well. 


Dr. Phil McRae is an executive staff officer with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and an adjunct professor in the faculty of education at the University of Alberta.

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