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A Dialectical Speculative Method for Re-Imagining Educational Futures with Artificial Intelligence (26 June 2024)

Join us on Wednesday 26 June 2024 at 10.00BST for our next GO-GN webinar!

We’re delighted to welcome Kyungmee Lee (Education Research Institute, Learning Sciences Research Institute, Department of Education, Seoul National University) who will be joining us to talk on A Dialectical Speculative Method for Re-Imagining Educational Futures with Artificial Intelligence.

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The aim of this paper is two-fold. First, this paper introduces an innovative research approach, Dialectical Speculative Methods (DSM), suitable for investigating the complex relationships between educational subjects and emerging technologies such as teachers and generative Artificial Intelligence (AI). The article briefly unpacks the theoretical and methodological foundations of DSM, integrating Marx’s dialectic and speculative methods in digital education research. Recently, there has been a growing attention to methodological limitations of empirical evidence-based research and linear input-and-output research formulas due to the fast-changing nature of social phenomena, creating unexpected and unexpectable human conditions. Nevertheless, educational subjects, including students and teachers, continue to live, whether flourishing or struggling, in such changing educational conditions; thus, it is inevitable for educational researchers to do “something” to create better educational futures. This is the specific context where speculative research methods emerged to creatively and critically imagine and invent such futures. Marx’s method of dialectic enables researchers to pursue their speculation in a more comprehensive and systemic manner, finding and tracing four kinds of social relations —identity/difference, interpenetration of opposites, quantity/quality, and contradiction. Second, this paper aims to provide an example of using DSM to speculate the “not-yet-ness” of educational futures, possibly caused by the dominance of technology, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI). To facilitate the dialectical process of speculative scenario writing and drawing, the author has also involved machines: ChatGPT and GPT-powered image generator. The paper concludes by summarising the outcomes with five core themes, unfortunately suggesting the dystopian nature of the speculative educational future: Distrust, Lost Autonomy, Competition, Alienation, and Inequity. 


Kyungmee Lee is an Associate Professor of Qualitative Educational Research and the Sociology of Technology and Education at the Department of Education, Seoul National University, South Korea. Previously, she was a Senior Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning at the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University in the UK, where many of her publications on how doctoral students learn and live online stemmed from, including her recent co-authored book: Online Postgraduate Education: Re-imagining Openness, Distance, and Interaction.

Using a range of qualitative research methodologies and evocative academic writings, she has investigated the academic experiences of diverse non-traditional student groups in technology-mediated learning and teaching settings. Kyungmee’s scholarship emphasises concepts of discourse, knowledge and power, understood through a Foucauldian lens. Her current research programme explores the complex relationships between human subjects and non-human subjects, such as advanced intellectual technologies, in education and research contexts.

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