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.