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 gather.town 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel (CEO and Scientific Director, Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering (HPI)).
His main statement was a déja-vu. 20 years ago, he collected data for his PhD research project in U.S. states (CA, MA, IL) and districts as well as in schools. This was compared to the German school system. The first result was the different speed of ICT and media integration in classroom practices and school management, as well as in educational policies (Breiter 2000). The “connector” between school development, district decisions and state policy making was the then called “Technology Plan”. It was mainly pedagogical and defined the requirements for ICT infrastructure. In the U.S., a Technology Plan was required from each school, each corresponding school district, and the Department of Education of each State. Even on the federal level (as powerless as in Germany), there was and is a Federal Technology Plan (currently open for revision in an online consultation process: https://tech.ed.gov/netp/). In Germany, the necessity of planning for education ICT infrastructure was neglected for quite a long time. As late as of 2018, the new DigitalPakt Schule made it a prerequisite for schools (and Schultraeger, ie. school districts) to receive funding.
The second result was the necessity of federal engagement. Already in 1996, the U.S government launched an infrastructure support program under the Telecommunications Act: the e-Rate. Until now it supports especially poorer districts (and schools) to improve their ICT infrastructure and it is worth more than $2.5 billion (per year, approx. 100,000 public schools). Germany started two years ago in 2019 with a 5-year program (DigitalPakt Schule) with overall 5 billion Euros (approx. 40,000 schools). Better later than never!
But this is only the tip of the iceberg when we look at the digital transformation of schooling. ICT infrastructure and mobile devices are relatively easy to purchase and to roll-out (just a question of money and political will – and professional ICT support structures). But substantial changes in curriculum and classroom practice require a long breath and are part of a school development process. At the bottom of the iceberg, there has to be teacher’s values and beliefs considered (check Welling et al. 2015). This requires intelligent teacher training and teacher education. And in this respect, the two countries face similar challenges. Hence, it is worth exchanging good practices and working policies between the countries. In fact, the school systems are more similar than one might think.
Yesterday (22.09.2020) Juliane Jarke from SP2 and Vtio Dabisch (SP1) jointly presented first results of the two subprojects at this year’s congress of the German Sociological Association. Her presentation was the first of four papers presented by an ad hoc group on the digitization of education. Vito Dabisch’s presentation focused on the increasing production and usage of data for school management by school supervision. He noted that there is an increasing expansion and compression of data and data practices. In this context, the simultaneous data criticism and data orientation of the interviewed actors was striking: School councils are partly (very) skeptical about how helpful data-based control is, but on the other hand more and more data is used in institutionalized discussions. Schools are encouraged to “see” themselves through “their” data and to work with this data. Juliane Jarke’s presentation concentrated on how school as an organization is changing through digitization and datafication and how this change can be researched.She presented various research artifacts from TP2 that allow to analyze data flows and show how schools (re)position themselves to their environment and how boundaries of their organization, tasks or members are renegotiated. The slides to the presentation can be found here.
Data session! This sounds like “Jam session” and to a certain extent it is. Together we look at our research data, interpret and consider whether a (dys)harmonic “picture” emerges. In mid-September, the four DATAFIED subprojects met for a joint data evaluation and discussed possible evaluation intersections with regard to the interview excerpts collected in the research field. The data session is the prelude to a series of reconstructive to qualitatively interpretive evaluation sessions, which will result in a book by the end of next year, where we will present the DATAFIED results for public discussion.
Picture from: <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/vectors/business”>Business vector created by katemangostar – www.freepik.com</a>
From August 18 to 21, the joint conference of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology and the international Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) took place. Due to the Corona Pandemic, the conference was moved from the Czech capital Prague to “virPrague” and was held digitally. Whether the “vir” stands for “virus” or “virtual” was left open by the organizers. Despite the restrictions due to the pandemic, the organizers quickly created a digital infrastructure combining the classical lectures with the possibilities of digital communication and giving the participants a feeling of community.
The theme of the conference – “Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerigng worlds” – focused on the situated nature of the actions of different human and more-than-human actors in the datafied world. In numerous panel discussions, the impact of the corona pandemic on social practices and the role of data, algorithms and information systems in this process were also critically discussed.
As part of TP2 at ifib, Irina Zakharova and Juliane Jarke presented results from the ongoing DATAFIED project in the panel “Crafting critical methodologies in computing: Theories, Practices and Future Directions”. Their presentation was entitled “Software-as-a-Process: Reflection of Discourse-, Map-, and Process-based Research Artifacts” and reflected methodological considerations for the study of information systems.
The authors referred to feminist epistemologies (e.g. Puig de la Bellacasa 2011, 2017, Mol 2002) as a basis for understanding the “fluid”, ever-changing processes in information systems. The aim was to explore how the concepts of care-work and the application of different research artifacts (interview transcripts, maps and process models) help to explore the collaboration of school information systems and the many actors involved in the digitized school as an ongoing, continuous, emotional relationship. In this context, after Puig de la Bellacasa (2017), care work was understood as an affective state, work and ethical-political obligation. Thus, the authors used empirical examples to show how school information systems enable or restrict certain practices of care work. When practices of care work are narrowed down in one place, alternative spaces open up in which both human and more-than-human actors participate together in care work. Moreover, the care of multi-ethnic actors, such as digital data, is one of the practices required by school information systems to successfully implement the educational mission of the digital school.
As an overall result of the panel, the organizers and discussants have agreed to a follow-up meeting in September to further reflect together on critical methodologies and their role in information systems research.