‘Steering at a distance’, Australian school principals’ understandings of digital technologies policies during the Digital Education Revolution

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Abstract

This paper presents findings from qualitative research which examines school principals’ understandings of digital technologies policies for Australian schools during the period of the Digital Education Revolution (2008–2013). The concepts of ‘steering at a distance’ and policy enactment are used as a conceptual lens from which to position and analyse the principals’ interpretations of digital technologies policies designed for schools. The research involved semi-structured interviews with school principals, and an assistant principal, which revealed a range of themes including compliance and latitude in policy responses, policy accountability, policy language, accountability and symbolism, and the purpose of ‘acceptable use’ policies. This paper contributes to a theoretical and historical understanding of school principals’ agency as policy actors which can inform an analysis of the contemporary federalist school policy trajectories and how principals are positioned in relation to them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-66
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Educational Administration and History
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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