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AdHoc-Group: Datafication of Education: Emerging issues for research, politics and practice

Core pedagogical roles, goals and relations are fundamentally on the move, as digital technology becomes increasingly present in everyday educational practice around the world. Rather than revisiting the pros and cons of “digital education” in general, this ad-hoc group focuses on one specific aspect at the core of “movement” within the digital: data.

Datafication of Education: Emerging issues for research, politics and practice

19. März 2018 - 15.30 - 17.30h

Chairs:
Prof. Dr. Felicitas Macgilchrist / Georg-Eckert-Institut - Leibniz-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung
Dr. Sieglinde Jornitz / Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung

Panelists:    
Prof. Dr. Paula Bleckmann - Professur für Medienpädagogik, Alanus Hochschule
Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter - Professur für Informations- und Wissensmanagement in der Bildung, Universität Bremen und wissenschaftlicher Direktor des ifib
Dr. Ben Williamson - Lecturer in Education, University of Stirling, UK
    
Core pedagogical roles, goals and relations are fundamentally on the move, as digital technology becomes increasingly present in everyday educational practice around the world. Rather than revisiting the pros and cons of “digital education” in general, this ad-hoc group focuses on one specific aspect at the core of “movement” within the digital: data. Digital data move from computer to computer; digital data are shifted from “raw” to “processed”. If digital data is the “new oil of the digital economy”, then it can be extracted and made actionable. The ad hoc group thus explores the question: What does the datafication of education open up and close down for educational research, politics and practice?
Discussions on datafication abound in medicine, crime prevention, finance, media and politics (Hepp 2016; O'Neill 2016; Süssenguth 2015). Education is also fundamentally implicated in digital data practices. An emerging body of research on datafication and education explores how data infrastructures, instruments and software produce knowledge and social relations by recording “education” as computerized data (Eynon 2013; Lundie 2017; Selwyn 2016; Williamson 2018). In today’s algorithmic turn, these data become the characteristics of the (international) system itself. This primarily refers to international assessments and other policy instruments (Breiter & Jarke 2016). At the level of daily practices, the datafication of educational life is, however, just beginning. Following the recent BMBF (2016) and KMK (2016) strategies, datafication in Germany is expanding to the individual level of personalized learning software and classroom data practices (Thompson & Cook 2016). The empirical basis of insights into datafication remains, however, firmly rooted in Anglophone experiences (but see, e.g. Eder, Mikat & Tillmann 2017; Gapski 2015). There is a tendency in international research to draw global conclusions on “the datafication of education” from (Anglophone) national contexts with their specific educational systems, teacher education models and material classroom practices.
Given the fluid and dynamic nature of datafication, with new priorities and practices constantly emerging, this ad-hoc group is organised as a panel discussion. This format offers room to ask virulent questions, to share ideas and knowledge on how data are generated and used in an open process. After a short introduction by the two chairs (10 mins), three panellists will discuss – and hopefully dispute – a set of questions on datafication. The 45-minute panel discussion is followed by questions and discussion with the audience.

  1. Concepts on the move: How do the participants understand datafication: as an empirical phenomenon, the representation of social life in computerised data, a paradigm shift, or something else?
  2. Bildung: What is changing in education internationally, if digital data are becoming more central to policy and practice? Is data shaping a “learnification” (Biesta 2013) of “Bildung”?
  3. Young people: As children and adolescents are constituted through the lenses of data, are they seen as individuals with certain talents, strength and weaknesses, or do they become normed by data expectations and visualisations, or are they subverting data infrastructures to develop their concept of themselves?
  4. Research: How does the prevalence of digital data impact on education research: What kind of (interdisciplinary) research methods are required?

The two chairs and three panellists (UK, Germany) bring an international and interdisciplinary perspective on data and education. Rooted in comparative education, cultural studies, sociology, media education and information science, they draw on empirical work in science and technology studies, policy analysis, software studies, critical data analysis, addiction and prevention, and discourse studies. They have worked with qualitative, quantitative and post-qualitative methods.

last modified Jan 30, 2018
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