[call is now open] Critical approaches in Educational Technology


[thematic issue] Edited by Marina Bazzo de Espíndola (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil) e Mariona Grané (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)

[NEW] submission deadline: January 31, 2023

| To be published in February 2024


Information and communication technologies (ICT) are at the center of contemporary educational debates and policies. In the face of their development and of the pedagogical potentialities suggested by researchers of the fields of education and technology, research groups, government institutions and educational companies were quick to design software and educational digital contents, with great expectations as to their insertion in educational spaces. With the improvement of their interaction and social space resources, ICT were also pointed out as promising for the promotion of collaborative educational spaces, for the expression of diversity and for civic participation.
Once inside the third decade of the 20th century, the enthusiastic illusions concerning ICT in education and in society are slowly giving way to a less naive view, recognizing that the promises of openness, democratization and civic participation did not always come true. Instead, we are witnessing a growing colonization of the internet as a space of consumption, of misinformation, of the dissemination of excluding, racist, xenophobic discourses, of exclusion. A space for promoting neoliberal policies and for structuring a new type of capitalism. Regarding schools and universities specifically, ICT are often related to the entry of entrepreneurial solutions with proposals for the massification of education.
Within this contradiction, ICT are configured as new themes and contents that are essential for us to understand and transform the current contexts. The Technology-Education relationship is historically marked by the polarization of views: technophilic X technophobic. By looking briefly into the guidelines of the academic studies in the field of educational technology, we can see that the dominant, technophilic and enthusiastic approaches of most of the studies are aligned with an instrumental view of technology, directly relating ICT to the values of efficacy and progress, in line with neoliberal perspectives. Another important body of work is aligned with a more pessimistic view, with a total resistance to digital technologies, bound to a more substantive approach towards technology. Authors such as Feenberg and Selwyn, among others who share this perspective, invite us to draw a third route, the critical route, that neither demonizes nor deifies technologies, that recognizes that these artifacts and processes are not neutral, but have values and intentionalities, while also recognizing the possibility of human control over their development and use in society today.

This monograph sets out to collect productions from the field of research in education and technologies from a critical perspective, with the aim of deepening our understanding of the implications and possibilities of ICT in and for the educational context. For this purpose, we are seeking contributions concerning three areas of the Education-ICT relationship:

Training of subjects (teachers, students, citizens in general): Given the increasing complexity of the technological phenomenon and its capillary action in society, there is a growing need to problematize and denaturalize technologies from the educational field: What are these technologies? Which educational values do they bear? Which ideologies do they promote? This scenario gives rise to direct implications for curricula and for thinking about the role of education. What kind of knowledge is necessary to train subjects emancipated in contemporaneity? How does it relate to the different curricular components and/or fields of knowledge? How can we prepare critical, skillful subjects for today’s world?

The development of educational technologies: Another fundamental aspect that critical approaches to technology invite us to reflect upon concerns the development processes of educational technology. Who develops them? With what intentionalities? Now, more than ever, it is our responsibility to carry out a socio-critical approach to designs, processes, activities, environments, systems, contents and tools that we use in educational scenarios. It is vital, in this process, to keep in mind the objectives of education (detached from the interests of technological suppliers or different transnational corporations), considering the social, cultural, ideological and economic factors, together with the socio-technical context-sensitive reality (Selwyn, 2019). Considering this, how can we think about processes and methodologies for developing technologies of and for education?

Educational research from the critical perspective: Especially important is that the critical perspective requires that we rethink the focus and, above all, the role of the education-related investigations regarding their relationship with technologies. Educational research has a fundamental role in the analysis of this situation, in reporting the implications of ICT in the educational context and in announcing the technologies that we need and want in education. So, nowadays what are the necessary questions for research in educational technology? How can we analyze the problematics of technology for the teaching-learning processes? How do we manage to focus research on pedagogy more than on technology? What are the perspectives we should approach given the everyday problems of educational resources? Which implications and possibilities does the insertion of ICT in educational processes imply regarding research methodologies in education? How can research in educational technology justify new policies that contribute to the improvement of the educational system?