Blog entry

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.