The Panorama Panopticon: Reshaping Educational Leadership through Digital Data Discourses

Year: 2021

Author: Langman, Sarah

Type of paper: Symposium

The rise in reductionist views of education through the implementation of digitalized data regimes are paving the way for datafication processes that not only change the way in which school leaders function in their roles, but also how they know their school, their staff and their students. This paper will examine the influence of digital data techniques and technologies at the school leadership level within the specific context of the Panorama system, an online platform that has come to prominence in recent years arguably as part of global systemic transformations pertaining to technological advances. This paper will engage with current thinking around the platformisation of education and how it specifically connects to broader notions of datafication and performativity.  This paper explains research that examined the conditions that have facilitated the level of datafication inherent in key digital platforms, like the Panorama system, as well as policies and other significant documentation pertaining to the everyday work of school leaders. A theoretical framework that draws on concepts presented by Foucault and Deleuze critically examines the way in which subjectivities have been, and continue to be formed, by digital data discourses at the school leadership level. This research intersects school leadership and digital data technologies to look specifically at the implications current data discourses are having in disrupting practices and reshaping the subjectivities of school leaders and their discursive practices. The paper will then explain how privileged truths have come to change the way in which educational leadership is enacted in schools, with the original purpose of accountability for platform implementation being surpassed for new forms of panoptic performativity. Panorama will be used as an empirical case to explain how the platform facilitates interoperability, ultimately creating a standardised way of knowing and measuring school performance, and the wider ramifications of such a competitive agenda.