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DATAFIED at ECER 2021: Program Information

The DATAFIED project we will be represented with several contributions at the #ECER2021 (European Conference on Educational Research ) between the 6th and the 10th of september. We are looking forward to active exchange and exciting discussions!

September 06 2021

Seeing through Data: The normalizing Politics of Datafication and its Impact on Teacher and Student Subjectivities​
Sigrid Hartong, Annina Förschler, Vito Dabisch, Jamie Manolev, Alice Bradbury, Sieglinde Jornitz & Anna Sullivan​
Session: 23 SES 10 A | 09:00-10:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Sigrid Hartong​

Learning Platform on the Rise – Itslearning’s Corporate Expansion Strategy and its Ambivalent Effects on Schooling in Germany
Vito Dabisch, Annina Förschler & Sigrid Hartong​
Session: 23 SES 01 A | 09:00-10:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Sigrid Hartong

September 07 2021

Enacting Accountability in Education and Its Effects on the Teacher Profession 2​ Guri Skedsmo, Silje Kristin Gloppen, N N, Sigrid Hartong & James Spillane
Session: 23 SES 08 B | 16:00-17:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Guri Skedsmo​

Manifestations of Rising Datafication in German School Supervision and Consultancy: ​Ambivalent Transformations of a Low-Accountability System​
Sigrid Hartong & Vito Dabisch​
Session: 23 SES 08 B | 16:00-17:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Guri Skedsmo​

September 09 2021

Handling Data in Instructional Practice: Students’ System Feedback Processing​
Sieglinde Jornitz & Benjamin Mayer​
Session: 06 SES 13 A | 09:00-10:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Theo Hug​

Data(fication) in Schools: Perspectives, Practices, and Research Approaches​

Ulrike Krein, Maike Altenrath, Noëlle Diegel, Adrian Roeske, Doreen Büntemeyer, Mandy Schiefner-Rohs, Sigrid Hartong, Neil Selwyn, Paul Weinrebe, Sandra Hofhues, Andreas Breiter, Philipp Krieter, Michael Becker & Anna Hartenstein​
Session: 06 SES 14 A | 11:00-12:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Sigrid Hartong​

Digital Literacy as Cross-sectional Competence in VET – A Case Study of a Network of German Vocational Schools​
Andreas Breiter, Falk Howe & Marion Brüggemann​
Session: 02 SES 14 A | 11:00-12:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Lukas Ramseier​

Datafication in School and (some of) it’s Implications: The More the Merrier?​
Adrian Roeske, Doreen Büntemeyer, Andreas Breiter & Philipp Krieter​
Session: 02 SES 14 A | 11:00-12:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Sigrid Hartong​

Transforming Learning through Automated Technologies; Transforming Automated Technologies through Learning​
Sigrid Hartong, Mathias Decuypere, Jeremy Knox, Manuel Reinhard, Kalervo N. Gulson, Sam Sellar & Felicitas Macgilchrist​
Session: 28 SES 15 A | 14:00-15:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Mathias Decuypere​

Mathias Decuypere & Sigrid Hartong
Session: 28 SES 15 A | 14:00-15:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Mathias Decuypere​

September 10 2021

“All Data Are Cooked”: Reflecting on Recipes for Researching Educational Data Practices​
Irina Zakharova & Juliane Jarke
Session: 28 SES 17 A | 09:00-10:30 | Room: n/a | Chair: Camilla Addey​

Working at the DATAFIED-Book

There was much to do before the DATAFIED-Team could take off into summer break. The production of the joint book is proceeding well, so that we were able to discuss the first chapters in detail at our collaborative meeting. We are already looking forward to discuss exciting insights and critical question from others interested in data and datafication!

New publication on educational data dashboards

Data dashboards do not only visualise facts, they also produce compelling narratives.

In a new paper, the two DATAFIED-researchers Felicitas Macgilchrist (SP3) and Juliane Jarke (SP2) trace the stories told by dashboards of AI-powered learning analytics and discuss the implications for educational futures and edtech.

With narrative we do not only mean fiction. Narrative refers to a mode of presentation in which a sequence of actions or events unfold over time, involving one or more characters, often involving change.

We analysed one of the leading learning management systems which offers adaptive learning tools and predictive analytics for premium clients. The system integrates far more real-time data than early warning systems in education have ever done. We identified 3 stories:

In the first, teachers are managers who oversee, design interventions, check the effects of their interventions, improve efficiency and effectiveness. The multiple further roles of teachers are rendered invisible and thus irrelevant to this particular understanding of education.

The second story is about risk. In the materials, we see red colours flagging a student in trouble. We see him beginning to struggle, as his “success index” decreases over the weeks. The dashboard shows him as the most at risk and in need for intervention.

The third is about sociality: it is risky, the dashboard tells users, for a student to be insufficiently socially integrated and connected. Those students are portrayed as ‘successful’ characters in the dashboard story who maximise their in-tech interactions with others.

As educational and other fields are increasingly embracing predictive tools, it is crucial to examine these systems and their narratives, to highlight how they are harmful, and to consider if and how they are being used beyond the current limited and limiting recommendations.

Here is a short videoabstract of the paper.

For further information, also visit the website of the Big Data & Society Journal.

DATAFIED at the Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021

On May 20 and 21, 2021, the international conference “Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference” (NOSTS) was held at Copenhagen Business School in a virtual format. Despite the virtual format, the organizers managed to create a warm, friendly atmosphere at the conference and plenty of space for exchange and discussion.

The DATAFIED project and ifib were represented at the conference by a presentation of Dr. Juliane Jarke and Irina Zakharova entitled “Educational technologies as matters of care”. We discussed the roles of educational technologies in schools from the perspective of feminist ethics of care. Our focus was on understanding what role educational technologies and data have in practices of caregiving in schools. By caregiving, building on the approaches of Joan Tronto (1993, 2013, 2016) and Maria Puig de la Bellacasa (2011, 2017), we mean practices and activities that are oriented toward shaping and sustaining the world so that it is as good for life as possible.

Using our research from the DATAFIED project, technologies and data can take on the role of addressees of caregiving or act as a means for school-based actors to experience care work. Complementing the dominant, critical academic discourse on the role of computerization of everyday school life, we highlighted positive examples in which educational technologies and data help school administrators and secretaries to care for their students and colleagues. Even in those situations where technologies and data are primarily used for accountability, they can also become a part of their care work, depending on how school actors use them. The discussion following the presentation problematized how educational technologies and data can become technologies of caring in schools. A further examination of these considerations could lead in the future to the design of educational technologies and their use in schools with even greater concern and attention to the individual, emotional well-being of all participants such as students, teachers and other actors.

Data Journey Workshop

On April 23, the DATAFIED project team met with Jo Bates and Itzelle Medina Perea from the University of Sheffield to discuss Data Journeys together. During the workshop, we exchanged ideas on how Data Journeys can be used as a concept and tool in research on datafication. Possibilities for the creation, as well as the presentation of Data Journeys were discussed. However, the use for further analysis was also thematically addressed. Based on the presentation of the previous work of Jo Bates and Itzelle Perea in the areas of climate and health as well as the first interim results of the DATAFIED project in the area of education, it was discussed, for example, how a good starting point for a data journey can be found. We are happy about the lively exchange and plan to use Data Journeys both for the analysis of the data flows investigated in DATAFIED and for the visualization of results.


Bates, J., Goodale, P., Lin, Y., & Andrews, P. (2019). Assembling an infrastructure for historic climate data recovery: Data friction in practice. Journal of Documentation, 75(4), 791–806.

Bates, J., Lin, Y.-W., & Goodale, P. (2016). Data journeys: Capturing the socio-material constitution of data objects and flows. Big Data & Society, 3(2), 2053951716654502.

Medina Perea, I. A., Bates, J., & Cox, A. (2019). Using data journeys to inform research design: Socio-cultural dynamics of patient data flows in the UK healthcare sector. IConference 2019 Proceedings. iConference 2019.

DATAFIED inspires research in communication science

Two subprojects of the DATAFIED team presented insights at the international three-country conference DACH21, which took place from April 7th to April 9th 2021 on the topic „#Kommunikation #(R)Evolution. Zum Wandel der Kommunikation in der digitalen Gesellschaft“ (#Communication #(R)Evolution. On the Transformation of communication in digital society) held at the University of Zurich. In the methods panel, Jasmin Troeger, Annekatrin Bock and Felicitas Macgilchrist (SP3) presented the walkthrough method with the paper „Der walkthrough – ein methodischer Zugang für kommunikationswissenschaftliche App (User) Studies“ (The walkthrough – a methodological approach for communication science app (user) studies). Following this, Irina Zakharova (SP2) and Annekatrin Bock spoke on the topic of “Researching (in)visible data”.

In the method paper, Troeger, Bock, and Macgilchrist used browser-based learning software to illustrate how the walkthrough approach can be used to capture individual aspects of software such as core functions, individual system components, and interaction scenarios, thus enabling the analysis of their interrelationships and the formulation of insights into the data model and software architecture. Finally, possible implications for questions in communication science were shown, which enable new perspectives on software and thus generate new insights regarding the formative power of these actors.

The methodological contribution can be seen here.

The contribution by Bock and Zakharova made a methodological proposal on how the use of Critical Data Studies can be designed in communication and media research. Using the walkthrough and data journeys methods used in DATAFIED as examples, the authors reflected on the agency that different school actors have in their data practices. The paper raised the question of to what extent and in what situations this agency contributes to the visibility or invisibility of data and data practices.

Despite the tight contribution and discussion time, the discussion in both papers showed that communication studies has opened up to interdisciplinary streams and approaches from STS and Critical Data Studies. The role of information systems and software in empirical communication and media research and how to conceptualize them methodologically and conceptually were discussed. The issues of agency of different actors in their use of software and data was another topic that came to the fore not only in the discussions of the two papers from DATAFIED, but was also addressed from different perspectives throughout the conference.

DATAFIED: Completion of the survey phase

For the multi-year research project DATAFIED, another important milestone was reached: The ifib subproject, which deals with the changes in school administration through datafication and focuses specifically on school administration systems, was able to conduct the last scheduled qualitative interviews in April.

During the long and extensive survey phase, numerous interviews could be conducted with various stakeholders in schools and public authorities in several federal states. Despite the corona-related break last year, the remaining interviews could be conducted as digital video interviews without major problems. This even had the advantage of being able to respond more flexibly to interview partners, since there was no need to travel to and from the interviews, so that even short-term appointments could be made.

Now, after the interviews have been anonymized and processed, they must be analyzed and the findings published. This will probably take place in a large project publication, but also in further conference contributions and specialist publications.

DATAFIED at the New Materialist Informatics 2021

From March 23-25, 2021, the international conference “New Materialist Informatics” took place virtually at the University of Kassel. Despite the virtual format, the organizers created different spaces for formal and informal exchange for the participants. For example, in addition to the usual video conference rooms, an entire digital venue with a reception, several conference rooms, a library and many other spaces was created via the platform. This allowed all participants to enjoy spontaneous exchanges and have productive discussions with each other across great distances and different continents.

From SP2 of the DATAFIED project, Dr. Juliane Jarke and Irina Zakharova participated in the conference. Their contribution, entitled “Educational technologies as matters of care”, highlighted the role of educational technologies in schools from the perspective of feminist ethics of care. Such ethics already have a longer tradition in educational research. However, educational technologies, data, and other non-human actors are rarely problematized. The contribution of Irina Zakharova and Dr. Juliane Jarke was intended to fill this gap.

The discussion following the presentation showed that non-human actors should be problematized more often in research from the perspective of caring. This could help to design educational technologies differently in the future so that caring for students, teachers, schools and education can become an inherent part of them.

DATFIED Workshop: „Shifting data practices – Building data literacy“

What does it take to make data literacy more widespread among teachers? This question was addressed by the DATAFIED team in its workshop “Shifting data practices – Building data literacy” at the conference “Building Data Literacy with the Teaching Profession at Global Scale”. The conference was organized by Sam Sellar (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Sigrid Hartong (Helmut-Schmidt University Hamburg). With the guests, we discussed initial findings on the decline of pedagogical instruction and the advance of data-driven instructional design. We explored the question to what extent teachers need support in selecting software for their lessons and what role data literacy building can play for this.

The presentation slides of the workshop can be accessed here.

DATAFIED at the Educational Research Conference 2021

Next week from 09-10.03.2021 the virtual BMBF Educational Research Conference 2021 will take place under the motto “Educational Worlds of the Future”. The DATAFIED project will be there.
In Forum 3.1. “Challenges and Perspectives of Teacher Education in a Digitally Shaped World”, there will be an exchange about aspirations and reality in all three phases of teacher education regarding the professionalization of teachers in a digitally shaped world. Exemplary formats for cooperation between teacher education and research will be presented and discussed. Our contribution by Felicitas Macgilchrist on “Datafication and (Critical) Data Literacy” can be found here:

The project is also represented in the virtual marketplace. Feel free to drop by – we look forward to seeing you!

Tue, 03/09 11:45-13:15am and 16:30-17:30pm.
Wed, 10.03. 12:15-12:45h and 15:00-14:30h

Further information can be found here:
Datafied Poster (german)