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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)

Collaborative Meeting in February 2021 all about the Joint Book

The DATAFIED book is now taking shape. We were happy to use our first collaborative meeting this year to hammer out the book structure and metanarrative. Tracing data practices in and around schools, our collaborative publication unfolds themes around the datafication of school and makes the findings of the four subprojects available to anyone interested in data. As soon as further details are available, we will inform you here.

DATAFIED – First Results presented at two Research Colloquia

In November 2020 and February 2021, Dr. Juliane Jarke and Irina Zakharova presented the first results from TP2 of the DATAFIED research project. They reflected first at the Colloquium Social Research of the University of Lucerne and then at the Research Colloquium of the Center for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI) on the methodological approaches to researching data flows in educational organizations.

At the heart of these methodological reflections is the further development of the approach of “data journeys” – data journeys already used in the sociology of science and the natural sciences (Bates et al., 2016; Leonelli 2014, 2020). For example, data journeys are used to track the movement of climate data from a meteorological sensor to global financial market institutions (Bates et al., 2016). The DATAFIED research team is examining the data that moves within schools and between schools and departments of education. The focus is on school management systems. In doing so, the concept of a data journey presents how data changes along the way, how paths of data open and close during the journey, and by what social and organizational conditions data movements are driven.

Both talks explored the data journeys approach and its benefits and challenges for educational research. The presentation slides of both talks can be found on the ifib website under publications. In the coming months, TP2 will continue to work on data journeys together with the other projects from the DATAFIED network. Thus, using the example of the researched federal states, it will be shown how school data, which originate e.g. in a school office room, move on and evolve to the education statistics of the federal states.

DTAFIED: Virtual Joint Meeting – What’s next in 2021?

a screenshot form the virtual joint meeting

We are slowly developing a routine in the virtual execution of our joint meeting. Unfortunately, due to corona, we were again unable to meet in person. Nonetheless the mood was still good.

On Wednesday, 11.11.2020, we first met to discuss the current status of the four subprojects. Additionally each subproject had brought something to the discussion. From a basic text on “Changes in School Management and Supervision” to “Methods of Walktrough for the Analysis of learning Software” and the examination of individual transcript extracts from classroom observations, everything was included. Once again, the interdisciplinary nature of the project team proved to be a strength: the different professional perspectives gave rise to exciting discussions and further bi- and trilateral meetings were arranged for further in-depth study.

The second day of the joint meeting on Thursday, 12.11.2020, was dedicated to the question “What is the future of DATAFIED in 2021?”. In particular the numerous school closures and the still tense situation in the schools pose great problems for our data collection. Together, various strategies were discussed and a plan for the coming six months was developed.

More concretely, the form of presentation of the results was also discussed. Our scientific coordinator, Dr. Annekatrin Bock, had prepared different book versions which we could use to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of publishing the results in German or English. We also discussed the transfer of the project results to our practice partners. We do not only want to prepare our results for science, but especially care to give the (participating) schools something back and to be able taking it with them for their daily work.

We hope to be able to carry out the still open data collection in the near future and are looking forward to working more closely together to analyze the collected material beyond the boundaries of our subprojects. Pitches on possible book chapters are planned for our next joint meeting.